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We appreciate that you have many questions about the health and safety guidelines, precautions and procedures in place now that students have returned to school. Here are some answers to Frequently Asked Questions:

How will you ensure that schools are safe?
The health and safety of our staff and students is always our first priority, and our schools will be following all of measures set out by the BCCDC and Ministry of Education to limit the spread of illness and we will continue to encourage our staff and students to remain vigilant.

Some of the measures parents and students can expect to see in our schools include:

  • Daily Health Check: Everyone must continue to do a daily health check to determine if they should come into the building that day. This includes students, staff and all visitors. If anyone is experiencing any symptoms they should not come to school that day. It is critical that we all follow this guidance as health checks are our school's first and most important line of defense against COVID-19.
  • Masks: All K-12 staff and students, as well as visitors, are required to wear a mask while indoors at school. Masks will be provided to those who need them.
  • Cleaning: Cleaning protocols will be consistent with provincial guidance, with custodians performing COVID-19 cleaning protocols at all schools.
  • Hand Hygiene: Students and staff will be asked to frequently wash their hands. Hand sanitizer will also be available on site for situations where soap and water is not reasonably available.
Why are cohorts no longer required?
Last year cohorts or learning groups were initiated to reduce the number of interactions people had. Public health has since learned it was the type of interaction that mattered, more than the number of interactions. COVID-19 is most often spread through prolonged social interactions and for the most part a school case had limited spread in-school. Cohorts also restricted the type of learning and social opportunities that could occur in schools. This year will see a return to normal groupings of students and staff.
Why are we not requiring a physical distance of 2 meters anymore?
Keeping your distance is still an important prevention tool and schools will continue to maintain space between people, by using all available space, preventing crowding at drop off and pick up times, and managing the flow of people in common areas (including hallways and around lockers). We will also remind students to respect people’s personal space by role modeling the behaviour, signs and visual supports.

What happens if there is a COVID-19 exposure at school? Will I be notified?
Public health has informed all school districts in the province that exposure letters for the entire school community will no longer be issued, but will be posted on health authority websites. Public health will still continue to closely monitor transmission in school settings and manage contacts. Only those individuals who may have been exposed will be contacted by public health. Outbreaks will also continue to be reported.
Are the disinfecting products and electrostatic sprayers safe for use around children?
Yes. All products that are used in schools are safe and approved for use by Health Canada.

Is it safe for my child to start participating in extracurricular activities?
Schools continue to have a number of effective health and safety measures in place so that extracurricular activities can occur as safely as possible. Students will need to wash their hands frequently, be asked not to share equipment and sports should be held outside when possible. Extracurricular and inter-school activities must be in line with local, regional and provincial public health recommendations. This may mean that events and activities may be different in one area than another and sometimes activities may need to be put on pause.
Will quarantine still be required (for staff and students) if they travel outside of Canada?
The requirement to quarantine after international travel is determined by the Federal government and is updated often. It is the onus of staff and families to abide by all travel restrictions and orders
Will there be field trips this year?
Schools are able to plan field trips provided they follow existing policies and procedure.
Additional measures include: 
  • For transportation, including school bus transportation, public transit, and carpooling, see guidance in the transportation section in the Provincial COVID-19 Communicable Disease Guidelines for K-12 Settings
  • Schools must ensure that volunteers providing supervision are trained in and strictly adhere to required health and safety guidelines
  • Alignment with relevant local, regional, provincial, and federal public health recommendations and Orders
  • No international field trips at this time
What protocols will be implemented on school buses?
Guidelines call for passengers to be spread out as empty seats allow.  Additionally: 
  • Bus drivers and passengers are reminded to practice hand hygiene before and after trips
  • Open windows when the weather allows
  • Students in kindergarten to Grades 12 and all adults are to wear masks according to the guidelines

Are parents/visitors now allowed in buildings?

Yes, visitors will be allowed. Schools should encourage appointments for most visitors at this time. As with other measures, it will be important to remember that it will be important to have a time of transition back to some practices. Visitors are to: 
  • Perform a daily health check prior to entering
  • Wear a mask
  • Sign in and out with contact information at the office (records kept for 45 days)
  • Access will be limited to the purpose of the visit
  • Respect others’ personal space
Will visitors be able to attend extracurricular events and field trips this year?
Parents and visitors will once again be able to participate in many of the fun events, such as field trips and extracurricular activities. Having two doses of the COVID-19 is one of the best ways of protecting students under 12 who cannot be vaccinated. These type of activities and participation by visitors must follow all current province-wide and regional restrictions.
Are parents allowed to send pre-packaged food or gifts for students in classrooms? (ex. Birthday’s, Valentine’s Day, etc.)
Yes, parents are allowed to send pre-packaged food or gifts if they are purchased, pre-packaged, individually wrapped and unopened. No homemade treats are permitted.
Will online learning by made available again later in the school year?
There are no online learning options available for elementary students for the 2021-2022 school year. The district does have a distributed learning option. Parents interested in this option can visit the district’s SAIL program website. 

Why doesn't the new vaccine passport include K-12 schools?
Public health has advised that schools are not included in the vaccine passport because they provide an essential service and are controlled environments with comprehensive health and safety measures already in place. If schools do host an event (like a concert open to parents/public) the vaccine passport would apply to that event.