A.J. Elliott Elementary Communicable Disease Prevention Plan
Part 1 – Understanding the Risk:
As per the Provincial Health Officer’s order, employers are no longer required to maintain a COVID-19 Safety Plan but must instead transition to a Communicable Disease Prevention Plan.
Communicable disease prevention focuses on reducing the risk of workplace transmission of COVID-19 and other communicable diseases, and includes both ongoing measures (e.g., hand hygiene, cleaning) and additional regional measures to be implemented as advised by public health.
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.
Part 2- Communicating
- The Provincial COVID-19 Communicable Disease Guidelines for K-12 Settings have been developed by the Ministry of Education in collaboration with the BC Centre for Disease Control, Indigenous rightsholders and education partners, including district/school leaders, teachers, support staff, and parents.
- These guidelines are based on the public health guidance developed by the Office of the Provincial Health Officer and the BC Centre for Disease Control.
- Orientation sessions for all staff will provide an overview of the key principles and guidelines outlined and information on how these will be implemented at the school level.
- Signage is posted throughout the school to communicate guidelines.
Part 3- Communicable Disease Prevention Guidance:
Schools can be supportive environments for communicable disease prevention by:
• Having staff model personal practices (e.g., hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette), and assist younger students as needed.
• Sharing reliable information, including from the BC Centre for Disease Control, Office of the Provincial Health Officer, and local health authorities to parents, families and caregivers.
• Promoting personal practices in the school (e.g., posters).
• Ensuring individual choices for personal practices (e.g., choosing to wear a mask or face covering) are supported and treated with respect, recognizing varying personal comfort levels.
Daily Health Check
- School administrators should ensure that staff, other adults entering the school, parents, caregivers, and students are aware that they should not come to school if they are sick and unable to participate fully in routine activities.
- School administrators can support this practice by communicating the importance of everyone doing a health check.
- A health check means a person regularly checking to ensure they (or their child) are not experiencing symptoms of illness (including but not limited to COVID-19 symptoms) that would limit their ability to participate fully in regular activities before coming to school to prevent spread of communicable diseases, such as COVID-19, within school settings
- What To Do When Sick
- Staff, students, or other persons who are exhibiting new symptoms of illness (including symptoms of COVID-19 or gastrointestinal illness) should stay home and follow the BCCDC guidance outlined below:
- If the person is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms BCCDC Guidance The When to Get Tested for COVID-19 resource or the B.C. Self-Assessment Tool provides more information on whether you should get a test for COVID-19. Those unsure or concerned about their symptoms should connect with a health care provider or call 8-1-1.
- Staff, children, or other persons in the school setting who test positive for COVID-19 should follow the guidance on the BCCDC website as to how long they should self-isolate. They can return to school when they no longer need to self-isolate as long as symptoms have improved, and they are well enough to participate in regular activities.
- Schools should not require a health care provider note (e.g., a doctor’s note) to confirm the health status of any individual, beyond those required to support medical accommodation as per usual practice.
Staff/Students who become sick while at school
- Practices are in place for students and staff who become sick while at school/work to be sent home as soon as possible.
- Some students or staff may not be able to be picked up immediately.
- A space is available where the student or staff can wait comfortably and is separated from others.
- Student or staff will be provided with a non-medical mask.
- Schools must provide supervision for younger children.
- Supervising staff will wear a non-medical mask and face shield if they are unable to maintain physical distance, avoid touching bodily fluids as much as possible, and practice diligent hand hygiene.
- Staff, students and visitors should be encouraged to practice frequent hand hygiene.
- To learn about how to perform hand hygiene, please refer to the BCCDC’s hand hygiene poster.
Parents and staff can teach and reinforce good respiratory etiquette practices among students, including:
• Cough or sneeze into their elbow or a tissue.
• Throw away used tissues and immediately perform hand hygiene.
• Refrain from touching their eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
• Refrain from sharing any food, drinks, unwashed utensils, cigarettes, or vaping devices.
Physical Distancing and Space Arrangement
Schools can use classroom and learning environment configurations and activities that best meet learner needs and preferred educational approaches. Staff and students should be encouraged to respect others personal space (the distance from which a person feels comfortable being next to another person).
Personal Protective Equipment- Masks
- The decision to wear a mask or face covering is a personal choice. A person’s choice is to be supported and respected.
- Non-medical masks are available for those who would like one.
Supporting Students with Diverse Abilities/Disabilities
- Supporting students with disabilities/diverse abilities may require staff providing support services to be in close physical proximity or in physical contact with a student.
- Those providing health or education services that require being in close proximity to a student should follow their standard risk assessment methods to determine what PPE is needed for general communicable disease prevention in accordance with routine practices. Additional personal protective equipment is not required beyond that used in their regular course of work (e.g., gloves for toileting).
Cleaning and Disinfecting
- General cleaning of the premises, and cleaning and disinfecting of frequently touched surfaces, at least once in a 24-hour period.
- Frequently touched surfaces (those touched by larger numbers of people) are cleaned and disinfected at least 1x/day. Surfaces touched by fewer people are cleaned 1x/day.
- Clean and disinfect any surface that is visibly dirty.
- Practices are in place to clean and disinfect any surfaces a person’s body fluids have contacted after they have displayed symptoms of illness.
- Empty garbage containers daily.
- Continued enhanced cleaning measures.
- Other general cleaning occurs in line with regular practices.
- Schools can return to routine sign in/sign out practices. Schools do not need to keep a list of the date, names and contact information of visitors for communicable disease prevention purposes.
- Schools are responsible for ensuring that visitors are aware of communicable disease protocols and requirements, and have completed a daily health check, prior to entering the school.
- Parents are encouraged to make appointments with the staff they wish to visit, and may enter the school once they have checked in at the school office.
Ventilation and Circulation
- It is important to think of HVAC systems holistically, factoring in both outdoor air supply and filtration. The combination of outdoor air supply and filtration can significantly influence indoor air quality.
- School districts and independent school authorities should regularly maintain HVAC systems for proper operation.
- Where possible, opening windows if weather permits and HVAC system function will not be negatively impacted
Sharing Food, Beverages, and Other Items that Touch the Mouth
- Food services (e.g., meal programs, cafeterias, fundraisers, etc.) are following regular operational and food safety practices.
- Staff and students should be encouraged to not share items that come in contact with the mouth (e.g., food, drinks, unwashed utensils, cigarettes, vaping devices).
- Shared-use items that touch the mouth should be cleaned and disinfected between use by different individuals(e.g., water bottles, instrument mouth pieces).
Community Use of Schools
- Schools can follow normal practices for welcoming visitors and the community use of schools.
- For school buses, schools can follow normal seating and onloading/offloading practices.
- Buses used for transporting students should be cleaned and disinfected in line with the cleaning and disinfection practices outlined above.
- Bus drivers and students should be encouraged to practice hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette.
- Bus drivers, teachers and students in Kindergarten to Grade 12 may choose to wear masks or face coverings when they are on the bus.
Curriculum, Programs, and Activities:
- When planning field trips, staff should follow existing policies and procedures as well as the guidance in this document.
- Schools should consider guidance provided for overnight camps from BCCDC and the BC Camps Association when planning overnight trips that include group accommodation
- Students should be encouraged to practice proper hand hygiene before and after shared equipment use. Equipment that touches the mouth (e.g., instrument mouth pieces, water bottles, utensils) or has been in contact with bodily fluids should not be shared unless cleaned and disinfected in between uses.
- Regular book browsing and circulation processes can occur in the library as per routine practice.
- Review Communicable Disease Guidelines with all staff prior to their return to in-class instruction;
- Reinforce the need for all staff to assess themselves daily for symptoms of common cold, influenza, COVID-19 or other infectious respiratory diseases prior to entering the school;
- Clearly communicate with parents/guardians their responsibility to complete an informal daily health check for their child/children before sending them to school;
- Communicate with parents/guardians what the process is for student drop-off and pick-up.
Part 4- Monitor and Update plan as Necessary
- Ensure staff/parents are provided with any new information in a timely manner and review with staff the process for reporting any concerns;
- Establish a central location where new information relating to communicable diseases is posted in your workplace;
- Establish a process for regular review of communicable disease plans with:
- District Joint Health and Safety Committee;
- Site based Health and Safety Committee;
- Partner Groups