On February 4th, 2021, the Ministry of Education provided significant updates to the health and safety plans for BC schools. The last major updates to these plans were in September 2020. Most of the updates we are already doing, and the updated documents will help ensure that our plans are clearer and a more accurate reflection of what is happening in the school. This document is not a list of all the updates but, of what we believe to be key updates to the St. Bernadette COVID-19 Health and Safety plans. We strongly urge parents to read all of the health and safety documents on our website.
LEARNING GROUPS AND PHYSICAL DISTANCING – Key updates
- When possible, St. Bernadette School will use the principal and/or the learning resource teacher to be a teacher in the classroom as opposed to bringing in a temporary teacher on call. This will minimize the number of adults interacting with the students and will use current staff who are knowledgeable and fully understand the methods and design of the school’s health and safety plan.
- St. Bernadette School will have educational assistant practicum students in the school. These students will be assigned to a learning group.
- The school has implemented strategies that prevent crowding at pick-up and drop-off times
- Classes are to enter and exit through their classroom doors (grade 4 will use the gym doors)
- Start and end times are staggered, and classes will exit a few minutes apart.
- Kindergarten and Gr. 1 will be picked up from the classroom. All other grades will have a designated waiting area for pick-up.
- Staff are required to wear masks when indoors, especially when they are unable to maintain physical distancing, and a barrier is not present.
PHYSICAL DISTANCING INSTRUCTIONS – Key updates
- Ensure that the use of masks does not reduce or replace practicing physical distancing and other prevention measures for both students and staff. Masks are not a replacement for physical distancing
- Parents, caregivers, health-care providers, volunteers, and other non-staff people (e.g. visitors) entering the school will be limited to those supporting activities that are of benefit to student learning and wellbeing
- St. Bernadette School will use positive and inclusive approaches to promote preventive measures and the school will foster a culture of practice and awareness of preventative measures to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. The school will avoid punitive measures or enforcement activities that exclude students from fully participating in school or that could result in stigma
- PHE classes, extra-curricular exercises and sport activities will occur outside whenever possible
- There will be no activities, indoor or outdoor, that include prolonged physical contact or crowding
- Elementary students are less able to consistently practice physical distancing. Outdoors is a lower-risk environment than indoors. When possible, students should not gather in large social groups that put themselves closer than 2 meters to other students
- All school gatherings or events that are not educational activities (Year End BBQ, Grade 7 Farewell, etc.) will adhere to the PHO Order for Gathers and Events
- School Masses are considered an educational activity and is a part of the Religious Education curriculum of the school. All school Masses will adhere to the same protocols and regulations as assemblies and other educational gatherings
DISINFECTION AND CLEANING PROTOCOLS – Key updates
- St. Bernadette’s will use commercial disinfectant products listed on Canada’s hard surface disinfectants for use against COVID-19
- St. Bernadette’s will follow the procedures outlined in the BCCDC Cleaning and Disinfectants for Public Settings Document when cleaning and disinfecting.
- The School will replace HVAC air filters with Merv-13 filters monthly.
- The school will follow these procedures, in conjunction with school policies, when cleaning and disinfecting bodily fluids (e.g. runny nose, vomit, blood, stool, urine)
- Wear disposable gloves when cleaning blood or body fluids.
- Wash hands before wearing and after removing gloves.
- Follow regular health and safety procedure and regularly used PPE for blood and bodily fluids.
- The school will provide supervision for younger children when they are unwell. Supervising staff should wear a non-medical mask and face shield if they are unable to maintain physical distance. They are to avoid touching bodily fluids as much as possible and practice diligent hand hygiene.
ILLNESS AND HEALTH CHECK POLICIES AND PROTOCOLS – Key updates
Click on the link for the BCCDC self-assessment tool: https://bc.thrive.health
Click on the link for the BCCDC new health check app: https://www.k12dailycheck.gov.bc.ca/healthcheck?execution=e1s1
- Bernadette School continues to clearly communicate with parents/caregivers their responsibility to assess their children daily before sending them to school and keep them home from school if they are sick or if they have been directed to self-isolate by their local health authority. Parents are to check their newsletter weekly, read all email communication from the school and attend virtual parent information nights.
- Parents and caregivers should assess their children daily for illness before sending them to school.
- St. Bernadette’s is not required to verify that the student health check has occurred every day or require that parents/caregivers submit a daily health check form.
- Students, staff members or other adults should stay at home when sick, as this is one of the most important ways to reduce the introduction to and the spread of COVID-19 in schools. When a staff, student or other adult can return to school depends on the type of symptoms they experienced and if a COVID-19 test is recommended. More information can be found on the BCCDC website and in the BCCDC document “Provincial COVID-19 Health Safety Guidelines for K-12 Settings” Updated February 4th, 2021.
- Students and staff who experience symptoms consistent with a previously diagnosed health condition (e.g. seasonal allergies) can continue to attend school when they are experiencing these symptoms as normal.
- Students and staff may still attend school if a member of their household develops new symptoms of illness, provided the student/staff has no symptoms themselves.
- If based on their symptoms a test was not recommended, the person can return to school when their symptoms improve, and they feel well enough.
- If based on their symptoms a test is recommended, the person must stay home until they receive their test results.
- If the test is negative, they can return to school when symptoms improve, and they feel well.
- If the test is positive, they must follow direction from public health on when they can return to school.
- Staff and families at St. Bernadette’s are encouraged to call 8-1-1 or their health care provider if they need further guidance.
TRAUMA INFORMED PRACTICE AND SOCIO-EMOTIONAL LEARNING – Key updates
- Staff are to provide inclusive and compassionate learning environments
- Staff are to provide modelling and lead students in practicing coping strategies
- The school will use non-adversarial discipline (avoiding punitive and stigmatizing measures)
- Staff will help to minimize additional stress or trauma by addressing individual student needs
- Staff will engage in self-awareness practices to understand their own levels of trauma and that trauma is everywhere in our community
- The school will build an understanding that executive functioning skills are compromised; work within the framework that these skills will not be preforming at peak levels and these behaviours are a deficit of the following skills:
- Working memory
- Verbal working memory
- Emotional self-regulation
- Paying attention
- Organizing, planning and prioritizing
- Starting tasks and staying focused
- Understanding different points of view
This is a collection of some of the key updates and not all updates are list above. We encourage families to read the school’s Health and Safety Plans in full on our school webpage www.stbernadetteschool.ca/covid-19/