School, Travel and COVID-19

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.

 Useful Links

Spring Break and COVID-19

Letter from Superintendent/CEO Peter Jory

As we look forward to Spring Break and spending time with our families I am writing to give you share some updated information on the novel coronavirus (COVID‐19).

As knowledge of COVID-19 evolves, we continue to use information from Interior Health  & Health Canada to inform our recommendations to keep students and staff safe. With some families travelling internationally during Spring Break, we know that there may be an increased risk of the virus spreading.

We are also aware that some jurisdictions are closing schools and it is important that everyone stay apprised of any new developments. Therefore, we ask that parents please check our website for any updates before school resumes on March 30.

As advised by our health officials, anyone concerned about respiratory symptoms should stay home and call their health-care provider or 8-1-1 to discuss any need for testing and follow up. In the meantime, we are reminding everyone to follow proper respiratory hygiene etiquette during the cold and flu season. This includes:

  • Proper hand-washing for at least 20 seconds using soap and water.
  • Alcohol-based hand rubs to clean hands if they are not visibly soiled.
  • Do not touch your face/eyes/mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough with a disposable tissue or the crease of your elbow.
  • Stay at home when you are sick

For more information on the virus please click on this link for the BC Centre of Disease Control

If you are planning an international trip with your family, please monitor the Government of Canada Travel Site for the latest travel advisories. COVID-19 is currently found in over 110 countries. The following travel advisories for COVID-19 have been issued (as of March 12, 2020):
• Level 3 Travel Advisory (Avoid Non‐essential Travel) for China, Italy, Iran
• Level 2 Travel Advisory (Practice Special Precautions) for Japan, South Korea
• Level 1 Travel Advisory (Practice Normal Precautions) for Singapore, Hong Kong, Germany, Spain and France.

The BC Provincial Health Office is now advising self-isolation for 14 days for people who have been to China, Italy and Iran in the last 14 days. The federal government has recommended that Canadians avoid all  cruise ship travel  due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.

As such, please note that if your family travels to any location with a Level 2 or Level 3 travel advisory during Spring Break, you are being asked to self-quarantine your child for 14 days prior to returning them to school.

The safety of our students and staff is our top priority. We want to ensure parents, students and staff have time to adjust their plans accordingly. This is an evolving global situation, and as such we need to be prepared that between now and the end of Spring Break there likely will be more changes to the situation, which is why I am asking that you please visit our website before school begins on March 30 for any updates.

We appreciate your understanding and cooperation.
Sincerely,

Peter Jory,
Superintendent/CEO of School District No. 83 (North Okanagan-Shuswap)

For more information about COVID-19 and complete newsletter: https://conta.cc/2TG1XVo

Family Dance!

Please join us on Wednesday March 11 from 5-6:30. Mrs. Montgomery has been working hard with our students – so they’re ready to bust a move! All students must be accompanied by an adult.