As students head back to school across B.C., there's a particularly worrisome situation at Surrey's largest secondary.
In a letter to parents, superintendent Jordan Tinney revealed that there were nearly 50 cases of COVID-19 at Earl Marriott shortly before the winter break.
The school has nearly 2,000 students.
"We have had a chance to discuss the actual case numbers and details with Fraser Health so we can learn how to avoid similar situations in the future," Tinney wrote.
He added that "further health and safety measures" are being implemented inside and outside schools in Surrey.
"We want to remind parents, students and staff that it is a requirement to do a daily health check and to not attend school if you have symptoms," Tinney stated.
"Our recent case numbers have been lower in BC but one of the main reasons is that testing numbers are lower," he continued. "Please, if you have even mild symptoms, get tested."
An online petition seeking to keep B.C. schools closed for two weeks has attracted nearly 60,000 signatures as of this writing.
"As cases are still on the rise we are now faced with a new issue there is a new strain of Covid 19," the petition states. "And now more than ever we need to figure out a new plan for our schools.
"To be sure that it is safe for students and staff to return. We ask that Dr. Bonnie Henry extend the winter break for all BC students and make a new plan on how to safely return to school."