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GISS Communicable Disease Prevention Plan

Updated September 9, 2021

Based on the current epidemiology of COVID-19 in B.C., guidance from the Provincial Health Office and the Ministry of Education is that K-12 students can attend in class full-time this September under the guidelines set out B.C.'s K-12 COVID-19 Safe Schools Plan

Further details of these guidelines can be found here:

 The GISS COVID-19 Safe Schools Plan is divided into the following sections: 


Our Plan

Health and Safety Measures

Students with Disabilities/Diverse Abilities

Scheduling 

Learning Groups

Our Plan

All students, parents/guardians, staff, contracted services and community members accessing our site are expected to follow this plan. 

Students, families and staff should understand that while this plan is designed to maximize learning, there are guidelines and requirements set out by the Provincial Health Officer, WorkSafe BC, and the BC Centre for Disease Control that must be adhered to, and things will feel different.  We need to do our best to continue be flexible, understanding and accepting of this new way of being, so that students can continue learning with their teachers and support staff at school. 

   

This GISS Communicable Disease Prevention Plan strives to ensure that all students feel safe when returning to full time in-class instruction.  If after reading through and considering all the aspects of our plan, you still have health concerns or other obstacles that might impact school attendance, please contact Principal Lyall Ruehlen at lruehlen@sd64.org to discuss possible options.  

This plan is flexible and will be adapted given novel or changing conditions. 

Health and Safety Measures

Stay Home When Sick 

Any student, staff member or any other adult should stay home when they are sick.

It is important that everyone is doing a Daily Health Check.

A daily health check means a person checking daily to ensure they (or their child) are not experiencing any symptoms of illness (including but not limited to COVID-19 symptoms) before they come to school.  Daily health checks can be supported by the BCCDC resource on When to Get Tested for COVID-19 or the Ministry of Education's K-12 Health Check

Nobody should come to school if they are sick or otherwise directed to self isolate by Public Health. 

All visitors and staff will need to confirm they have completed the requirements of a daily health check prior to entering the school.

Students or staff may attend school if a member of their household develops new symptoms of illness, provided that that person does not have symptoms themselves.  If the household member tests positive for a communicable disease, public health will advise the asymptomatic person on next steps. 

Symptoms Develop at School 

If a staff member, student, or other person develops symptoms of illness at school:

  • They will be moved to a space that comfortable, safe and supervised (if necessary).  This may be a a separate location like another room, a common area, or outside if weather allows), or in the same space like their classroom if they can consistently be 2-metres away from others

  • The student's caregiver will be contacted to pick them up or arrange for them to get home in a safe way as soon as possible (if applicable).  

  • If students do go home they will be encouraged to use one of the methods above to check their health or call 8-1-1 to seek advice from a medical providor. 

Returning to School After Illness

When a person can return to school after being sick depends on the type of illness they had.

  • If they had COVID-19 or another communicable disease, they can return to school according to the guidance provided to them by public health.

  • For other illnesses, generally, the person can return when their symptoms have improved and they feel well enough to participate in activities at school. 

  • If a person is unsure if they are well enough to attend school, they should phone 8-1-1 or their health care provider for guidance. 

Hand Hygiene

Rigorous hand washing is an effective way to to reduce the spread illness.  Follow these guidelines to ensure effective hand washing at school. 

  • Practice diligent hand washing by washing hands with plain soap for 20 seconds and water (water temperature does not change the effectiveness of washing hands with plain soap and water)

  • Use all hand washing and sanitizing stations provided: at entrances and exits, in classrooms and in hallways

  • Avoid touching you face (eyes, mouth, nose and ears) with unwashed hands

  • Students may bring and use their own hand sanitizer 

 

Students should practice Hand Hygiene:

  • When they arrive at school

  • Before and after any breaks (e.g. lunch)

  • Before and after eating and drinking

  • Before and after using shared educational equipment (e.g. laptops, PE equipment)

  • After using the toilet

  • After sneezing or coughing into hands

  • Whenever their hands are visibly dirty 

Respiratory Etiquette

Students and staff will:

  • Cough and sneeze into their elbow, sleeve or a tissue

  • Throw away used tissues and immediately perform hand hygiene

Personal Items

Staff and students can bring personal items to school, but they are encouraged to only bring items that are necessary (backpacks, clothing, school supplies, filled water bottle.)

Staff and students should not share personal items (including personal electronic devices, school supplies and food and drink.)

At this time, there is no evidence that the COVID-19 virus is transmitted via paper-based products. As such, there is no need to limit the distribution or sharing of books or paper-based educational resources.  

Wearing a Mask

Students and staff are encouraged to bring their own mask to school every day.  If they do not have a mask, one will be provided. 

Public Health continues to monitor community risk of COVID-19 as we progress toward high levels of vaccination coverage.  Schools continue to be considered low risk settings for COVID-19 transmission, particularly in the context of a highly immunized population; however, to start the school year non-medical masks or face coverings are required to be worn by all staff, visitors and students in all indoors spaces to start the school year subject to the following exceptions:

  • If a person is eating or drinking

  • If a person is unable to put on or remove a mask without the assistance of another person 

  • If a person is behind a barrier (e.g. a divider, a cubicle, or in a room by themselves)

  • If a mask cannot be tolerated for health or behavioural reasons

  • If the mask is temporarily removed for the purpose of identifying the person wearing it

  • If the mask is temporarily removed to engage in educational activities that are not possible with masks (eg. playing an instrument, hi-intensity physical activities, etc.)

  • When providing service to a person with a disability or diverse ability where visual cues, facial expressions, or lip reading are important)​

 

Staff and students may choose to wear a mask anytime, including in the above situations.  Also:

  • Everyone must treat each other and those wearing masks with respect 

Families whose children may have specific cases with evidence of intolerance to masks are to discuss these with Principal Lyall Ruehlen at lruehlen@sd64.org; exceptions can be made for individuals who cannot wear masks for medical reasons.

Physical Distancing 

Physical distancing is no longer a guideline to be followed in schools at this time. As recommended, we will take steps to ensure we are maximizing space in all environments, to ensure that there is no involuntary physical contact between individuals in a space.  ​​

 

Riding a School Bus or Water Taxi

  • School buses and Water Taxis will be cleaned and disinfected in adherence with BCCDC guidelines

  • When space is available students will have their own seat unless sharing with a member of their own household

  • Windows will be opened when weather allows

  • Students in Grades 4-12 will be required to wear masks.  If a student cannot tolerate wearing a mask for medical reasons, please contact Lyall Ruehlen lruehlen@sd64.org to make special arrangements.  

  • Masks are to be put on before boarding a school bus or Water Taxi and may be removed after offloading

  • No courtesy riders on buses.  You may not travel on a bus or water taxi that you are not assigned to at anytime 

  • Students are encouraged to bring their own mask. If a student does not have one the driver will provide them with one 

Cleaning the School

The school will be cleaned and disinfected in accordance with the BCCDC’s Cleaning and Disinfectants for Public Settings document.

 

This includes:  

  • General cleaning and disinfecting of the premises will take place at least once every 24 hours  

  • Cleaning and disinfecting of frequently touched surfaces will occur at least once every 24 hours. This included doorknobs, light switches, toilet handles, tables, desks, and chairs used by multiple students, keyboards, and PE equipment   

  • Surfaces that are visibly dirty will be cleaned immediately 

  • Garbage containers will be emptied daily

GISS Site Specific Protocols

  

Entrances/Exits 

  • There is no longer a requirement for students to come and go from specific Entrances or Exits

  • Hand sanitizing stations are present at each entry way and students and staff are encouraged to practice hand hygiene when they enter or exit buildings    

 

Classrooms  

  • Classroom doors and windows will be open as much as possible to increase air flow 

  • Teachers will review safety protocols in classrooms  

  • Classrooms will be organized so that students have minimal physical contact.  

  • Masks will be worn at all times by staff and students (with exceptions noted above.)    

  • Each classroom has access to one of the following: sanitizing station or sink/soap area  

  • For computer classes/labs, protocols with keyboards will be reviewed (used keyboards remain on desk; unused keyboards remain on top of computer tower)  

  • Students are encouraged to bring their own supplies and materials to use in class

 

Washrooms  ​​

  • Hand washing with soap and water (20 sec.) before leaving the washroom  

  

Hallways 

  • Students and staff are to use hallways in ways that ensure that no involuntary physical contact occurs with another person

  

Common Areas 

  • Staff and students are required to wear masks at all times in common areas (with exceptions noted above.)  

Shared Equipment 

  • If shared equipment/items are used, they will be cleaned and disinfected at least once per 24 hours, this includes electronic devices 

  • Always practice hand hygiene before and after handling shared objects

Ventilation

SD64 will be adjusting the heat, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems in the district to help reduce the possible transmission of the COVID-19 virus in the schools. The school ventilation system  was upgraded to MERV 13 filters last year to enhance school ventilation.

During excessive heat events or times of poor air quality we will close all doors and windows and turn on our air conditioning system. In times of very poor air quality we may keep students & staff indoors.

 

Cafeteria

  • The Cafeteria will be open and will implement the WorkSafe BC Restaurants Protocols as appropriate and as relevant to the school setting

Students with Disabilities/Diverse Abilities

This plan will be implemented in a way that promotes inclusion of students with disabilities/diverse abilities.  Supports and services typically provided to students with disabilities/diverse abilities or medical complexity will continue.  Students who require supports will be identified early, be provided with targeted intervention, receive ongoing supports and be assessed regularly for progress.  

Scheduling

Due to the removal of the guidelines for Learning Groups, we will be returning to the Semester System this year.

 

Learning Groups

The guideline for Learning Groups has been removed at this time.