Late Thursday afternoon (March 12) we received some important information from the Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry around schools and COVID-19.
LETTER FROM DEPUTY MINISTER OF EDUCATION SCOTT MACDONALD
- First, the Provincial Health Officer (PHO) advised that there is no plan at this time to close public schools in the province. It is therefore anticipated that public schools will remain open after spring break. The PHO advises that closing schools is not appropriate or advised at this time. Health Minister Dix added, public health officials will be working with stakeholders in the education sector during spring break to continue monitoring the pandemic and B.C.’s response to it.
- Second, Dr. Henry strongly advised against all non-essential travel out of the country, including travel to the United States. She noted that those who do choose to travel out of the country will be expected to self-isolate for 14 days upon their return.
- Finally, Dr. Henry also urged organizers to cancel any social gatherings consisting of more than 250 people, which would mean that any planned large school assemblies, concerts or other events should not proceed.
As this situation changes daily, if not hourly, we ask that you please ensure you check the school district’s website at http://www.sd83.bc.ca before students return from Spring Break on March 30th.
Here is the joint statement – https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020HLTH0077-000484
SCHOOL CLOSURES – Important reminder on school closures: Decisions about school closures should made by public health officials in cooperation with school districts and the Ministry of Education. All schools should be following the school closure guidelines and protocols currently in place.
Pandemic Response Framework and Planning Guidelines https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/education/administration/kindergarten-to-grade-12/healthyschools/pandemic_response_framework.pdf
While there have been a small number of school closures in B.C. this week, medical health officers have not advised that those steps are necessary.
- Information about COVID-19, including advice and guidance to schools, is regularly updated on the BC Centre for Disease Control site: http://www.bccdc.ca/Health-Info-Site/Documents/COVID19_schools_childcare_guidelines.pdf Please routinely check this site and its resources.
- All joint statements from Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Minister of Health Adrian Dix are posted here: https://news.gov.bc.ca/ministries/health
- The Provincial Pandemic Coordination plan: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/health/about-bc-s-health-care-system/office-of-the-provincial-health-officer/reports-publications/pandemic-provincial-coordination-plan.pdf
- KIDS and COVID-19 QA:http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/coronavirus-(novel)#For–schools–and–childcare
- CBC Kids along with the PHO produced a kid-centric Q and A video about COVID-19: https://www.cbc.ca/kidsnews/post/watch-coronavirus-facts-versus-fiction
- Ministry of Health response plans – https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/health/about-bc-s-health-care-system/office-of-the-provincial-health-officer/current-health-topics/pandemic-influenza
- Novel Coronavirus Q&A from HealthLinkBC: https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/health-feature/coronavirus
- BC Centre for Disease Control: http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/coronavirus-(novel)
- Government of Canada – Novel Coronavirus in China Travel Health Notice: https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/health-safety/travel-health-notices/210