SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence among Vancouver public school staff in British Columbia, Canada: a cross-sectional study Academic Article uri icon

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  • ObjectivesFew studies reported COVID-19 cases in schools during the 2020/21 academic year in a setting of uninterrupted in-person schooling. The main objective was to determine the SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence among school staff in Vancouver public schools.DesignCumulative incident COVID-19 cases among all students and school staff based on public health data, with an embedded cross-sectional serosurvey among a school staff sample that was compared to period, age, sex and geographical location-weighted data from blood donors.SettingVancouver School District (British Columbia, Canada) from kindergarten to grade 12.ParticipantsActive school staff enrolled from 3 February to 23 April 2021 with serology testing from 10 February to 15 May 2021.Main outcome measuresSARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence among school staff, based on spike (S)-based (unvaccinated staff) or N-based serology testing (vaccinated staff).ResultsPublic health data showed the cumulative incidence of COVID-19 among students attending in-person was 9.8 per 1000 students (n=47 280), and 13 per 1000 among school staff (n=7071). In a representative sample of 1689 school staff, 78.2% had classroom responsibilities, and spent a median of 17.6 hours in class per week (IQR: 5.0–25 hours). Although 21.5% (363/1686) of surveyed staff self-reported close contact with a COVID-19 case outside of their household (16.5% contacts were school-based), 5 cases likely acquired the infection at school based on viral testing. Sensitivity/Specificity-adjusted seroprevalence in 1556/1689 staff (92.1%) was 2.3% (95% CI: 1.6% to 3.2%), comparable to a sex, age, date and residency area-weighted seroprevalence of 2.6% (95% CI: 2.2% to 3.1%) among 5417 blood donors.ConclusionSeroprevalence among staff was comparable to a reference group of blood donors from the same community. These data show that in-person schooling could be safely maintained during the 2020/21 school year with mitigation measures, in a large school district in Vancouver, Canada.


  • Goldfarb, David
  • Mâsse, Louise C
  • Watts, Allison W
  • Hutchison, Sarah M
  • Muttucomaroe, Lauren
  • Bosman, Else S
  • Barakauskas, Vilte E
  • Choi, Alexandra
  • Dhillon, Nalin
  • Irvine, Michael A
  • Reicherz, Frederic
  • O’Reilly, Collette
  • Sediqi, Sadaf
  • Xu, Rui Yang
  • Razzaghian, Hamid R
  • Sadarangani, Manish
  • Coombs, Daniel
  • O’Brien, Sheila F
  • Lavoie, Pascal M

publication date

  • April 2022