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No functional closure yet as Vernon school reaches absentee threshold

Elementary school in Coldstream has 101 kids missing school

The number of kids absent from Kidston Elementary School has reached a threshold.

The Coldstream school sent a notice to parents Wednesday, Jan. 19 that Interior Health is investigating a possible outbreak.

“Based on review of attendance patterns, we’ve determined we have met a COVID-19 potential activity signal,” the letter reads.

With 101 students away, the absentee rate is 24 per cent. The threshold for potential functional closure is 25 per cent.

Vernon School District superintendent Dr. Christine Perkins said it has not resulted in a functional closure, yet. Of those students away, 75 are due to illness, or 18 per cent.

“We are monitoring and will see how things go,” Perkins said.

“Staffing is tight throughout the district but not near a functional closure yet.”

Interior Health confirms it is working with staff at Kidston and the school district to ensure that parents, guardians, staff and students are aware that there is increased COVID-19 activity at the school.

“At this time we are not recommending a closure,” IH said.

“We are however reminding people to self-monitor. If a student develops symptoms, they should stay home and refer to the BCCDC COVID-19 self assessment tool or call 811 to determine if they should get tested.”

COVID testing or self-isolation is not recommended for those who do not have COVID-19 symptoms, according to Dr. Karin Goodison, IH medical health officer.

“We anticipate that COVID-19 will continue to circulate as COVID-19 becomes endemic in our community, and most exposures will continue to occur through households and social networks,” Goodison said in a letter to Kidston families and staff Thursday, Jan. 20.

“Fortunately, vaccines are available to prevent severe disease, and children remain at low risk of severe outcomes. Ensuring children continue to attend school is a priority for their health and well-being.”

The best way to protect yourself and your family is by getting your vaccine, Goodison and IH insist.

Children five and and older are eligible for vaccines and can register at Get Vaccinated (

READ MORE: More Vernon, Coldstream, Armstrong schools reporting COVID-19 exposures

READ MORE: Interior Health reports second-highest number of COVID-19 cases over weekend in B.C.


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Jennifer Smith

About the Author: Jennifer Smith

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