BC parent builds site to track and notify public of COVID-19 school exposures

Frustrated with the BC NDP government's neglected responsibilities to notify the public at large of COVID-19 exposures in schools, brilliant software engineer Gabriel Bauman, decided to take matters into his own hands and do something to bridge the gap.

Bauman, a parent from New Westminster, British Columbia funneled his passion for transparency into building his own COVID-19 school exposure monitoring and notification website in his off-hours, which is called Exposure Watch.

The site automatically searches for, and pulls into its database, exposures reported to and collated by the dedicated team at BC School COVID Tracker. Bauman plans to eventually integrate Exposure Watch with UBC COVID Tracker, and the BC government's own exposure notices.

The BC government resumed some form of school exposure notices on September 28, after mounting public pressure, including from Safe Schools Coalition BC.

Bauman sat down for a Zoom chat with fellow parent advocate Mike McCulloch. The pair also talk about Safe Schools Coalition BC's access to information project, coordinated by McCulloch, which cites Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Section 25 to make the case that the government must not only resume broadly focused COVID-19 school notifications, but also to provide a level of granularity about BC schools that would allow parents and students to make decisions to guard their health and safety on a day-to-day basis.

Stephanie Higginson, president of the BC Trustees Association, Jennifer Whiteside, Minister of Education, and Bauman's ill-fated efforts to raise funds for high efficiency particulate air filter (HEPA) units for all New West schools (that would take them) are discussed as well.