COVID-19 UPDATES

Richmond Christian School – Communicable Diseases Protocols

October 18, 2021

The Government of BC and the Ministry of Education have communicated to all BC schools (public and independent), new guidelines for full-time, in-person learning for the 2021-22 school year. RCS has updated our Health and Safety Policy (formerly known as COVID-19 Health and Safety Policy) specific to communicable diseases to accommodate many of the changes as they relate to our context.

Please take careful note of the safety requirements that were communicated by the province in the Provincial COVID-19 Communicable Disease Guidelines for K – 12 Settings. This document was updated on October 1, 2021.

Schools will adjust their guidelines as required by the PHO. Schools are now required to follow any regional restrictions that the PHO requires.

Returning from Travel Outside of Canada:

  • Any person who has been outside of Canada prior to the start of school, or at any point in the school year, must adhere to federal regulations regarding self-isolation/quarantine periods prior to returning to school.
  • Daily attendance records and class lists are maintained
  • Guests/parents/caregivers must sign in if entering the building
  • Parents/caregivers/guests: Please do not enter the building unless an appointment has been made, for other “essential” reasons, or in order to quickly drop off or pick up items at the office

Displaying Symptoms of COVID-19 and Daily Health Check-ins:

  • Parents/caregivers, please complete the daily health check with your child/teen before they arrive at school each day: https://www.k12dailycheck.gov.bc.ca/healthcheck. You do not need to inform the school that you have completed the daily health check
  • Please review the QandA document: What do I do if my child shows symptoms of cold, flu, or COVID-19? School-aged children in BC may now be tested for COVID-19 with a gargle and spit test: https://youtu.be/ZvqjkbD-moA
  • When students are showing COVID-19 symptoms while at school, the student will be brought to a safe place that is separated from other students, assessed, supervised, and cared for by staff; parents/guardians will be contacted for pickup
  • Staff will conduct a personal daily health check before starting their day at school
  • Staff, students, parents, and guests must remain home if sick
  • Students or staff may still attend school if a member of their household has cold, influenza, or Covid-19 like symptoms provided the student/staff is symptom-free and the household member has confirmed that they do not have Covid-19. It is expected the symptomatic household member is seeking assessment by a health-care provider and/or being tested
  • Students and staff who experience seasonal allergies or other COVID-19-like symptoms that are related to an existing condition can continue to attend school when they are experiencing these symptoms as normal. If they experience any change in symptoms, they should seek assessment by a health-care provider

COVID-19 Infection Response:

  • When a staff member, student or any member of the RCS community tests positive for COVID-19, the school will communicate closely with Vancouver Coastal Health and follow health authority directives. Parents will always be contacted first if their student is displaying symptoms of illness
  • The privacy of individuals involved in a positive COVID-19 test will be respected
  • When a student, staff or other individual who has been in the school has a confirmed case of COVID-19, it is the responsibility of the local health authority to initiate contact tracing, determine how the person was infected and who else may be at risk of infection
  • When there is a potential exposure at a school, the health authority will work with RCS administration to understand who may have been exposed, and to determine what actions should be taken.
  • Students/staff may return to school as directed by Public Health

Communication During a COVID-19 Exposure

  • Public Health will play the lead role in determining if, when and how to communicate information regarding a confirmed case of COVID-19 to the RCS community. To protect personal privacy rights, health authorities will not disclose whether a student or staff member is a confirmed case of COVID-19 unless there is reason to believe they may have been infectious when they attended school.
  • Health authority staff will notify those who they determine may have been exposed, including if any follow-up actions are recommended (e.g. self-isolate, monitor for symptoms, etc.). School medical officers will also work with RCS school administration to determine if notifications to the broader RCS community are warranted.
  • To protect the personal privacy rights of individuals and to ensure information provided is complete and correct, in general RCS will not provide any public statements or communications to staff or students’ families about potential or confirmed COVID-19 cases unless we are directed to do so by Public Health.

Vaccines

  • According to Public Health and the BCCDC, vaccines are the most effective way to reduce the risk of COVID-19 in schools and communities
  • RCS does not track who has been vaccinated nor mandate vaccination for staff or students
  • Based on data collected throughout the pandemic, the Provincial Health Officer has determined that schools are not “high risk” environments and has not mandated vaccines for school staff
  • Public Health strongly encourages all eligible students and staff to be fully vaccinated (i.e., receive 2 doses) against COVID-19 to protect themselves and those around them including those who are not eligible to be vaccinated.

Public Health reports that people over 12 who are not vaccinated are at higher risk of getting and spreading COVID-19, with age the greatest factor of individual risk of severe illness. Most COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are now among unvaccinated adults. According to the BC Centre for Disease Control, children under 12 who are not currently eligible to be vaccinated continue to be less likely to get and spread COVID-19 and have a low risk of serious outcomes if they do get COVID-19

Government guidelines  that have CONTINUED:

  • Hand hygiene requirement continues
  • Stay-at-home-if-sick requirement continues
  • Mask requirement for all staff indoors including on buses continues
  • Mask requirement for all visitors indoors including on buses continues
  • Parents must complete a health check daily before sending their child to school
  • Staff and visitors must complete a self-health check daily prior to entering the school
  • Continued enhanced cleaning
  • We will continue to structure student movement to avoid high levels of congestion. For example, at the Secondary Campus, specific entrance and exits will be assigned
  • Vaccinations for all eligible staff, students, parents, and visitors is encouraged but not required, or discriminated against.
  • No cohorts/learning groups
  • Respecting personal physical space replaces the 2-meters-apart requirement
  • Extra-curricular activities are a go! RCS will be following the required Ministry of Education and Provincial Health Officer protocols for all activities.
  • Gatherings may resume at school
  • Campuses are now open for visitors—however we recommend making appointments (and all guidelines listed above will be adhered to).

Government guidelines that have CHANGED:

  • Mask requirement for students in grades K-12 indoors, including on buses

Exceptions for the Mask Requirement 

Quoted from the Provincial COVID-19 Communicable Disease Guidelines for K – 12 Settings:

The guidance outlined above regarding mask requirements does not apply to staff, students, and visitors in the following circumstances:

  • to a person who cannot tolerate wearing 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;
  • if the mask is removed temporarily to engage in an educational activity that cannot be performed while wearing a mask (e.g., playing a wind instrument, engaging in high-intensity physical activity, etc.);
  • if a person is eating or drinking;
  • if a person is behind a barrier; or
  • while providing a service to a person with a disability or diverse ability (including but not limited to a hearing impairment) where visual cues, facial expressions and/or lip reading/movements is important.”