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Island Health says pesticide traps likely source of illness concerns at Gold River school

Ray Watkins Elementary School in Gold River reopened Thursday, and Island Health says they found the culprit of health concerns.

According to the health authority, multiple pesticide traps (roach bait gels) were placed in the impacted classroom on Jan. 12. They believe vapours from the traps are the most likely source that caused some students and staff to experience symptoms.

No students or staff had direct contact with the pesticide, but it acted as an irritant to them.

“With the pesticide removed, all classrooms cleaned and ventilated, the risk of further exposure is eliminated,” said Island Health in a statement. “Students’ and staff’s symptoms from brief exposure in the classroom will resolve on their own without long-term effects.”

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The school was closed on Jan. 18 and the symptoms some experienced was limited to two classrooms in the intermediate wing. The school says those two classrooms and the rest of the school have been thoroughly cleaned and aired out.

They add SD 84 will continue to work with the Island Health teams to keep the issue from happening again.

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