Communicable Disease Prevention Plan

Students

Parents are important partners in keeping our schools safe, so we appreciate your questions. This is a collection of the questions and answers that have come forward. As Interior Health/Public Health Orders or K-12 recommendations change, we will revise our responses.  We will also add to these questions as the community shares them with us.

In addition, each school has developed a site-specific Communicable Disease Prevention Plan related to their contexts which will be posted to school websites. If you have a question about your school’s measures, please reach out to your school principal.

For questions about SD73’s District Communicable Disease Prevention Plan, email us at Return to School FAQ.

Important Updates

Effective March 21st, mask wearing in schools will no longer be mandated. The decision to wear a mask or face covering will be a personal choice for staff, students, and visitors which will be supported and respected.

Following Return to Canada from international travel, adults and children (aged 5 and older) must wear a mask in indoor and outdoor public spaces, including K–12 schools, for the first 14 days after entry. This means wearing a mask at schools is not a personal choice for those who have travelled internationally for 14 days after entry.

Continuity of Learning Plan
Daily Health Check and What to do When Sick 
SD73 Communicable Disease Prevention Plan 

  Useful Links

       Superintendent's Updates can be found here.


Frequently Asked Questions


TESTING POSITIVE AND SELF-ISOLATION

What to do when sick? 
If you have mild symptoms of COVID-19, you usually don’t need a test. Mild symptoms are symptoms that can be managed at home. Most people don’t need testing for COVID-19. More info here. 
I am a parent who has tested positive. Does my child need to self-isolate as well?
Any students who are living with an adult/youth who has tested positive for COVID-19 do not need to self-isolate and can return to school. This holds true for adults as well, regardless of vaccination status. 
If I have tested positive for COVID-19 and am managing my illness at home, when can I end my isolation?

Isolation can end when all three of these conditions are met (provided you are fully vaccinated or less than 18 years of age - either vaccinated and unvaccinated): 

  1. At least 5 days have passed since your symptoms started, or from test date if you did not have symptoms. 
  2. Fever has resolved without the use of fever-reducing medication, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. 
  3. Symptoms have improved. 
What do I do if I have mild symptoms and testing is not recommended?

Mild symptoms are symptoms that can be managed at home. The BC Centre for Disease Control recommends you: 

  1. Stay home until you feel well enough to return to your regular activities. 
  2. If no test, there is no five-day isolation period required, although you could stay home at least five days depending on your symptoms. 
If I am a close contact to someone who has tested positive, do I need to isolate?
Close contacts do not need to self-isolate. You should monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 even if you are fully vaccinated or had COVID-19 in the last 90 days. If you have no symptoms of COVID-19, you do not need a test.

GENERAL

Are parents/visitors allowed to come into schools?
Effective February 18, there are no longer restrictions on visiting schools, so parents/caregivers are welcome to come into schools again.
Are spectators permitted at extracurricular events?
When spectators are from outside the school, attendance will be limited to 50% capacity of the bleacher/spectator seating. All spectators should complete a health check before attending.

VACCINATION CLINICS IN SCHOOLS

Why are Interior Health vaccination clinics hosted in schools? 
School Boards are legislated to provide health services and other support services in accordance with any orders or requirements of the Minister of Education. SD73 has worked with the Interior Health Public Health Nurse Manager and Vaccination Coordinator to prepare to host vaccination clinics in SD73’s secondary schools.
Who can attend vaccination clinics in schools? 
Interior Health’s in-school clinics will provide access to COVID-19 vaccine for eligible students 12 years and older, teachers, staff, and community family members.
Will my son or daughter be forced to have a COVID-19 vaccine at the school? 
No, students will not be forced to have a vaccine. Parents will receive communication from Interior Health through the school about the process of informing parents and students about vaccinations in the clinic.
Does my child need my (parental) consent to receive a COVID-19 vaccination? 

A child under the age of 19 is called a “minor”. “Mature minor consent” is the consent a child gives to receive health care after the child has been assessed by a health care provider as having the necessary understanding to give the consent. A child who is assessed by a healthcare provider as being capable to give consent is called a "mature minor." A child who is a mature minor may make their own health care decisions independent of their parents' or guardians' wishes. In B.C. there is no set age when a child is considered capable to give consent.

A health care provider can accept consent from the child and provide health care that is in the child's best interests without getting consent from the parent or guardian if the health care provider is sure that the child understands:

  • The need for the health care
  • What the health care involves and
  • The benefits and risks of the health care
Where can I read more about mature minor consent?

The Infants Act explains the legal position of children under 19 years of age. One of the topics covered in the Infants Act is the health care of children. The Infants Act states that children may consent to a medical treatment on their own as long as the health care provider is sure that the treatment is in the child's best interest, and that the child understands the details of the treatment, including risks and benefits. It is up to the health care provider to assess and ensure the child's understanding of the treatment.

For more information on the Infants Act, visit:

www.bclaws.ca/civix/document/id/complete/statreg/96223_01


OTHER

Is it ok to hand out our belief statements on school grounds? 
No. Although we recognize all parents are allowed their own opinions, schools and their grounds are publicly funded for the primary purpose of educating students. Principals are responsible for the safety of students and staff and to optimize learning. Illegitimate business or solicitation at any time is unauthorized and may be considered an act of trespass on school property.
Can I pull my child and homeschool them?
Yes. There are still other avenues available for your child and their learning. Please understand that this year is different than last year and if you pull your child, you will have to re-register if you choose to come back later this year or next year.

SCHOOL CLOSURES/HIGH ABSENTEEISM

What is the difference between a partial closure and a full functional closure?

A partial closure is when one or more classes within a school are dismissed. In the case of COVID-19 and specifically, the emergence of the Omicron variant, a partial closure could result due to a high rate of staff and student absences within a particular class.

A full functional closure is when the entire school is sent home. Aside from high absenteeism, other occurrences that could result in a functional closure of a school are snow days, power outages, or water line breaks.

What happens if there is unusually high absenteeism within my child’s class?

Hybrid Learning, a mix of face-to-face and online materials and programming, will begin. For more information on exactly how that will work, please consult the District’s Continuity of Learning Plan.

COMMUNICABLE DISEASE PROTOCOL

What will the cleaning in schools look like? Will there be janitorial staff present to clean and sanitize all day? How often will high touch surfaces be cleaned? 

Additional custodian time was added to school daytime schedules last year and will continue this year to ensure that high touch surfaces are cleaned. General cleaning of the premises, and cleaning and disinfecting of frequently touched surfaces, is completed at least once in a 24-hour period. Examples of frequently touched surfaces include:

  • doorknobs, light switches, hand railings, water fountains, faucet handles, toilet handles
  • shared equipment (e.g. computer keyboards and tablets, glassware and testing equipment for science labs, kitchen equipment for culinary programs, sewing machines and sewing equipment for home economic programs, PE/sports equipment, music equipment, etc.).

Your school principal is in the best position to provide further details about the cleaning in your child's school. 

What will be done to support children and families who will be anxious about COVID-19 with the lack of protocols? 
The best way is to continue to ensure that schools are controlled environments, and to help parents with good information about what the protocols are and how to work together to maintain them. We have also posted many mental health resources on our website for parents to access. This year we are also planning virtual parent/caregiver engagement sessions focusing on supporting children with their social-emotional needs that will take place in the evenings. Please watch for information on our website and through your child’s school. Parents who think their child would benefit from additional support should contact their school principal.
Has the ventilation in each school been updated?  

All schools have been reworked to better improve air flow and filtration by adjusting our ventilation systems and installing new high efficiency filters.  The district’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems are designed, operated and maintained to Occupational Health and Safety and WorkSafeBC standards.

Expert guidance was applied using the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Reopening of Schools and Universities Guidelines to improve indoor air quality and reduce the risk of virus transmission.


CONTACT TRACING AND COMMUNICATION

Is public health still doing contact tracing? 
The emergence of the more transmissible Omicron variant of COVID-19 has necessitated changes in public health management. With higher levels of community transmission, a shorter virus incubation period, and the increased use of rapid antigen testing, contact tracing and close contact notification by public health is no longer effective to minimize spread of COVID-19. Public health has transitioned to individual self-management (i.e., individuals care for themselves, engaging with health care providers when needed), with public health focused on identifying and responding to larger clusters and outbreaks. Individuals who test positive are to notify those they live with or have had intimate contact with.
Will I be notified when there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the school community? 
No. Recent public health guidance recommends those who test positive for COVID-19 notify those whom they live with or who they’ve had intimate contact with. They do not need to notify the school or others at school. Going forward, schools will be monitoring their attendance to determine if a public health-determined threshold for a grade or school has been met. If met, schools will send a notification to the school community indicating the threshold has been met and that they are following up with public health for further investigation.
Will our principal/teacher inform me if there is a COVID case at our school? 
No. As per above. 

PARENT RESOURCES

Ministry of Education - COVID-19 Resources for Parents 

Classroom Learning Activities:

The Ministry of Education has posted Keep Learning - a resource for families with ideas for everyday educational activities, links to free learning resources. There is information about how to help children learn and ensure their wellbeing while they’re at home. Even so, the ministry reminds us that teachers and schools still have primary responsibility for continuous learning.

Sesame Street - Healthy Habits with Grover PSA Video

Ventilation Systems: Documentation for Each School

Our Facilities team has been working exceptionally hard to make sure our schools are as safe as possible. There are many layers of protocols and practices that are working together and one of the measures we have in place is our ventilation systems.  The systems are being kept in good working order, to help increase the amount of clean air entering our schools and classrooms and to maximize the systems at each site. Here are completed overviews of the systems at each  Kamloops-Thompson school:

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