Information for parents/guardians/staff: COVID-19

Category: DistrictSchool

February 28, 2020

Message for parents and guardians:

Dear parents, guardians, and families,

This week all school districts in the province received guidance from the Provincial Health Officer and the BC Centre for Disease Control regarding measures for preventing and controlling respiratory viruses, including COVID-19, in schools and childcare facilities.

The Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry has recently stated to the public on February 25 that, “the risk of spread of this virus within British Columbia continues to remain low at this time.”  We wanted to ensure you had up to date information about the measures for preventing and controlling respiratory viruses and how they are being implemented in our district. The information will also let you know what steps you can take at home.

Prevention
There are two important ways to prevent and control respiratory viruses in school settings.

The first is for students and staff who are ill with respiratory illness symptoms (fever, cough, fatigue, and/or muscle aches) to stay home from school. If your child is not feeling well, we ask that you keep them home so that they can rest and recover. As always, remember to inform the school of the absence.

The second way to prevent and control respiratory viruses is the consistent practice of good respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene. Good respiratory etiquette includes covering the mouth and nose during coughing or sneezing with a tissue or a flexed elbow and disposing of used tissues in a plastic-lined waste container, followed by hand hygiene. Hand hygiene is the washing of hands with plain soap and water, which is effective at removing visible soil as well as viruses.

Children in the school setting should clean their hands:

  • before leaving home and on arrival at school
  • after using the toilet
  • after breaks and sporting activities
  • before food preparation
  • before eating any food, including snacks
  • before leaving school

If you have a younger child, help them with hand hygiene. In schools, this supervision will be provided by teachers.

REMINDER: Masks are not necessary for people who are not experiencing symptoms. In children in particular, masks can be irritating and may increase touching of the face and eyes, which increases the risk of infection.

Cleaning and Disinfecting
Regular cleaning and disinfecting of objects and high-touch surfaces (e.g. door handles, water fountain push buttons) helps prevent the transmission of viruses.

The school district ensures daily cleaning of high-touch surfaces at all of its school sites.

NOTE: Although water fountain knobs and push buttons will be cleaned daily, consider providing your child with a filled water bottle so that they do not have to drink directly from the mouthpiece of the fountain.

Food Sharing
Students should not be sharing food, utensils, dishes, and water bottles or drink containers. Although this practice is important for preventing exposures to allergens, it is equally important in reducing virus transmission between children.

Psychological Considerations
A new virus such as the COVID-19 can create anxiety and be difficult for students/children to understand, especially if someone in their school or family is sick, or they see or hear troubling messages on the radio, internet or television. It is normal for children to feel worried and nervous and have questions.

You can reassure your children that they are safe and that there are many things they can do to stay healthy:

  • Wash hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds, or use an alcohol based hand sanitizer, especially after coughing or sneezing.
  • Cough and sneeze into arm or tissue.
  • Stay home if they are not feeling well.
  • Keep hands away from face and mouth.
  • Stay healthy by eating healthy foods, keeping physically active, and getting enough sleep.

In addition, the Provincial Health Officer has released new Frequently Asked Questions on COVID-19 for Children and Students. The FAQs provide more information on COVID-19 – including symptoms, prevention practices and additional resources – as well as guidance related to staying home from school, wearing masks and supporting friends/classmates who are worried about the coronavirus.

February 25, 2020

On February 25, Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, and Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer, issued the following joint statement regarding updates on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in British Columbia: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020HLTH0048-000330

Please note provincial recommendations on travel-related, self isolation:

The Provincial Health Officer is advising people who have been to Hubei province in the last 14 days, or who have been in contact with someone who has, to call public health officials and self-isolate for 14 days.

The Provincial Health Officer is also advising that anyone who is concerned they may have been exposed to, or are experiencing symptoms of, the coronavirus should contact their primary care provider, local public health office or call 811. Translation services for 811 are available in more than 130 languages.

Useful Links

February 21, 2020

On Feb. 20, Minister of Health Adrian Dix and Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry issued a joint statement announcing B.C.’s sixth case of COVID-19 – a woman in her 30’s in the Fraser Health region, who recently returned to B.C. from Iran. Please see the joint statement for more information: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020HLTH0041-000304

February 19, 2020

On Feb. 19, the Minister of Health and the Provincial Health Officer issued a joint statement announcing that the first B.C. resident has recovered from COVID-19. For more information, please see joint statement: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020HLTH0039-000294.

February 14, 2020

On Feb. 14, the Minister of Health and the Provincial Health Officer issued a joint statement announcing B.C.’s fifth (presumed) case of novel coronavirus (COVID-2019) – a woman in her 30’s, living in the Interior Health region. The woman traveled to Vancouver from Shanghai. The woman displayed symptoms shortly after arrival and promptly self-isolated and contacted public health officials. For more information, please see joint statement: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020HLTH0036-00028

February 11, 2020

Novel coronavirus has been officially named COVID-19 by the World Health Organization.

Health Minister Adrian Dix and Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry released a joint statement today, with the latest on B.C.’s four previously confirmed cases who are recovering in isolation at home. The statement can be found here: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020HLTH0028-000258

February 7, 2020

The Provincial Health Officer has written a letter to parents and guardians within the school system. Please read this letter here: Letter to Parents_Feb 7

February 6, 2020

  • Today, in a joint statement Provincial Health Officer (PHO) Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix announced two new presumptive cases of coronavirus in B.C. – they are adult visitors from the Hubei province. These cases are linked to the second case announced Feb. 4th by the Ministry of Health. Here is the joint statement from today:  https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020HLTH0025-000236

Please note provincial recommendations on travel related, self isolation:

  • The Provincial Health Officer is advising travellers who have been to Hubei province in the last 14 days to limit their contact with others for 14 days (self-isolation, stay at home) following arrival in Canada.
  • The Provincial Health Officer is also advising that anyone who is concerned they may have been exposed to, or are experiencing symptoms of, the coronavirus should contact their primary care provider, local public health office or call 811. Translation services for 811 are available in more than 130 languages.

 Useful Links

January 31, 2020

  • The World Health Organization has declared the novel coronavirus a global health emergency; however, the B.C. Provincial Health Officer is advising that the risk is low within British Columbia and all necessary precautions are being taken to prevent the spread of infection.
  • The Ministry of Health has advised and confirmed that individuals returning from affected regions do not need to be isolated at home or kept home from school.
  • We can assure you that we are in regular communication with the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health and our local health authority to make public health decisions, and to ensure students and employees are kept informed and safe.
  • We will continue to be in close contact with public health officials and, with that in mind, would ask that you do not make assumptions about the risk of students or staff based on their ethnicity or travel history.
  • Please continue to check our website for the latest information from the district.

Useful Links

Advice for Students and Families Considering Travel:

Students and families considering travel to and from China are encouraged to consult the Novel Coronavirus in China Travel Health Notice on the Government of Canada Travel and Tourism page regularly, as recommendations may change over the course of your travel as new information becomes available.  No matter where students and families plan to travel, the Public Health Agency of Canada recommends that they consult Government of Canada Travel and Tourism page, as this is the Government of Canada’s official source of destination-specific travel information. This web page provides important advice to help travelers make informed decisions and travel safely while abroad.  Students and their families should always tell their health care providers about their travel history if they become ill after returning to Canada.

Advice on masks from Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry:

“The thing about masks is we know that they are very important in certain situations. If I’m sick, my wearing a mask keeps my droplets in. It does help prevent transmission to other people. That’s why we ask somebody who’s sick, who’s going to an emergency department, for example, if you have a cough or respiratory symptoms, we ask you to put on a mask and clean your hands. Where it’s not known is how effective wearing a mask in the community is when you are not sick yourself. The masks may give you a false sense of security. The most important thing that you can do in the community is to wash your hands regularly.”

Reducing the risk

The BC Centre for Disease Control recommends that to reduce the risk of exposure to novel coronavirus, employ the same measures that are taken in relation to colds and flu:

  • Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds using soap and hot water (it is the single most effective way of reducing infection spread).
  • Practice other good hygiene habits: do not touch your face/eyes/mouth with your hands, and cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough (ideally with a disposable tissue or the crease of your elbow).
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched workspace surfaces.
    Maintain good general health (eat a balanced diet, get enough sleep, exercise in moderation).
  • Stay home if you are sick.

A new toll-free phone number (1-833-784-4397) has been established to answer questions from Canadians about the 2019 novel coronavirus. Service is available from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. until January 29 and from 7 a.m. to midnight starting January 30 (Eastern Standard Time).

Further information about novel coronavirus is available on the BC Centre for Disease Control website.

January 29, 2020 – Delta School District Update:

The B.C. Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, announced on January 28 that the first case of novel coronavirus has been confirmed in B.C. Further details from the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education are available here.

We understand our students and staff may have questions about how Delta School District is responding.

We can assure you that Delta School District is in regular communication with the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health and Fraser Health to make public health decisions, and to ensure its students and employees are kept informed and safe. We will continue to be in close contact with Fraser Health medical health officers and, with that in mind, would ask that you do not make assumptions about the risk of students or staff based on their ethnicity or travel history.

Inaccurate news regarding coronavirus is starting to circulate on social media. We would encourage students, staff and their families to refer to official sources such as the BC Centre for Disease Control for the latest information and updates: http://www.bccdc.ca/

Reducing the risk

The BC Centre for Disease Control recommends that to reduce the risk of exposure to novel coronavirus, employ the same measures that are taken in relation to colds and flu:

  • Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds using soap and hot water (it is the single most effective way of reducing infection spread).
  • Practice other good hygiene habits: do not touch your face/eyes/mouth with your hands, and cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough (ideally with a disposable tissue or the crease of your elbow).
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched workspace surfaces.
  • Maintain good general health (eat a balanced diet, get enough sleep, exercise in moderation).
  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • A new toll-free phone number (1-833-784-4397) has been established to answer questions from Canadians about the 2019 novel coronavirus. Service is available from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Eastern Standard Time until January 29 and from 7 a.m. to midnight starting January 30.

Further information about novel coronavirus is available on the BC Centre for Disease Control website.