Communicable Disease Prevention (September 1, 2021)
The health and safety of our students and staff are of utmost importance in our work at Zion Lutheran Christian School. This Communicable Disease Prevention guideline is a summary of the Zion-specific application of the Ministry of Education’s Provincial COVID-19 Communicable Disease Guidelines for K-12 Settings, in alignment with the Ministry of Health’s BCCDC COVID-19 Public Health Communicable Disease Guidance for K-12 Schools.
- Staff, students, and visitors must not enter the building if they are required to self-isolate.
- Staff and students with COVID-19 like symptoms should stay home and self-isolate until the symptoms have been resolved. (*see the Daily Health Check below for more information)
- Parents will be trusted to assess their children daily for any cold/flu/COVID-19 symptoms before sending them to school. Parents are encouraged to use the assessment tool or the K-12 Health Check App to help interpret symptoms. (*see the Daily Health Check below for more information)
- Staff will also self-assess, using the same daily health check and stay home if necessary.
- Visitors sign in at the office upon entering the building, verifying that they are not experiencing any COVID-19 like symptoms, and are not currently required to self-isolate.
Individuals Visiting the School
- All visitors will be required to sign in upon entry and to wear a mask while in the building. This includes teachers on call, support workers, parent volunteers, contractors, trades people, itinerant staff, and other visitors. Visitors will be expected to practice physical distancing as much as possible while in the building.
- Staff, students, and visitors will be required to wash their hands upon entering the building.
- Frequency of handwashing (for students):
- upon arrival and before going home
- before and after any breaks (recess, lunch)
- before and after eating or drinking from the fountain
- after using toilet
- whenever hands are visibly dirty
- before and after moving between different, shared learning environments and using shared equipment
- after sneezing or coughing into hands
- Frequency of handwashing (for staff):
- same as above plus:
- before and after assisting students with eating or handling food
- before and after giving medication to a student or self
- after contact with body fluids (runny noses, blood, spit, vomit)
- after cleaning tasks or handling garbage
- Staff will assist young children with handwashing as needed.
- Soap and water and hand sanitizer will be used for handwashing.
- Staff will wear gloves in the event of dealing with blood or bodily fluids. Hands will be washed before wearing the gloves and after disposing of the gloves.
- Food and drink sharing will be discouraged.
- Although public health is no longer recommending learning groups and physical distancing of 2M, the school will consider the following general protocols in an effort to reduce the transmission of communicable diseases:
- reminding staff and students about respecting personal space
- using available space to spread out in learning environments (such as the gym) and for gatherings and events
- taking students outside more often, where and when possible
- managing flow in common areas
- COVID-19 related safety protocols in place at the field trip site will be followed
- parent volunteers and staff will be allowed to transport students on field trips provided that:
- good hand hygiene is practiced before and after the trip;
- and all adults + grade 4-7 students are wearing a mask.
Cleaning and Sanitizing
- General cleaning, including the removal of garbage and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces, will happen on a daily basis. Frequently touched surfaces include, but are not limited to, doorknobs, light switches, railings, water fountains, faucet handles, toilet handles, desks, and chairs.
- The sharing of materials, including technology, will be limited. Students are assigned their own device to use.
- Frequently touched items (toys, manipulatives, gym equipment) that are not easily cleaned often, will be used with proper hand hygiene before and after use.
Non-Medical Mask Use
- For students in Grade K through 3, mask use within the school is based on their personal or family/caregiver’s choice.
- All staff and Grade 4-7 students will wear a mask or face covering indoors at school.
- Mask requirements do not apply to staff, students and visitors in the following circumstances:
- to a person who cannot tolerate a mask for health or behavioural reasons;
- to a person who is unable to put on or remove a mask without the assistance of another person;
- if the mask is removed temporarily for the purposes of identifying the person wearing it;
- to engage in an educational activity that cannot be performed while wearing a mask (playing an instrument, high intensity physical activity, etc.);
- if a person is eating or drinking;
- if a person is behind a barrier;
- while providing a service to a person with a disability or diverse ability where visual cues, facial expressions and/or lip reading/movements is important
- Staff transporting students on field trips will be required to wear a mask or face covering while driving.
- Masks are not required outdoors.
- Face shields will not be worn in place of a mask except in instances where communicating using visual cues is essential (such as with students of diverse abilities).
If Students or Staff Develop Symptoms of Illness
- If a student develops any symptoms of illness:
- Immediately separate the symptomatic student from others in a supervised area.
- Contact parent or caregiver to come pick up the student as soon as possible.
- Where possible, maintain a 2 metre distance from the ill student. If not possible, staff should wear a mask or face covering.
- Provide the student with a mask or tissues to cover their coughs and sneezes (throw away used tissues immediately and wash hands).
- Avoid touching bodily fluids.
- Wash hands diligently when student is picked up.
- Clean and disinfect the space where the student was separated and any areas recently used by them.
- If a staff member develops any symptoms of illness:
- Staff should go home as soon as possible.
- Symptomatic staff should separate themselves into an area away from others.
- Maintain a 2 metre distance from others.
- Use a tissue or mask to cover nose and mouth while waiting to be picked up.
- Clean and disinfect the space where the staff member was separated and any areas used by them.
- If a staff or student is confirmed by public health as positive for COVID-19, the school will work with public health to determine what actions should be taken, including if any staff or students who have been in contact with that person need to self-isolate, and if other staff and students’ families should be notified.
Returning to School After Sickness
- If, based on symptoms, a COVID test was not recommended, students or staff can return to school when symptoms improve and they feel well enough.
- If, based on symptoms, a test is recommended, students and staff must stay home until they receive their test result.
- If the test is negative, they can return to school when symptoms improve and they feel well enough.
- If the test is positive, direction from public health on when they can return to school must be followed.
*See additional information under “Daily Health Checks” below.
Daily Health Check for Staff and Students
Parents should check for the following key symptoms before sending their children to school:
- cough or worsening chronic cough
- shortness of breath
- loss of sense of smell or taste
- nausea and vomiting
If your child is experiencing any of these symptoms and they are not related to a previously diagnosed condition (e.g. allergies, asthma, etc.), please keep your child home. Your child may return when the symptoms are improving and they are well enough.
NOTE for clarity: if your child is experiencing symptoms that are related to a previously diagnosed condition, or are not unusual for that individual, they can come to school.
When a COVID-19 test is recommended following a health assessment:
- If the test is positive, you should stay home until you are told by public health to end self-isolation. Public health will contact everyone with a positive test.
- If the test is negative, you can return to school once symptoms have improved and you feel well enough.