I am writing today to share with you a summary of the revisions to the Provincial COVID-19 Health & Safety Guidelines for K-12 Settings announced by the Ministry of Education earlier this month.
Key updates include:
- changes to the daily health check;
- strengthened guidelines for physical education and music classes;
- modifications to mask guidelines as shared with you in my February 4, 2021, letter;
- improved protocols on staff interactions and shared spaces;
- additional guidance on crowding and gathering, and close face-to-face contact.
At the end of this document I have also provided you with an overview of the revised Fraser Health COVID-19 parent notification process.
Thank you for your continued vigilant efforts in helping us keep our schools and our communities safe.
Daily Health Check
Additional information is available starting on page 25 of the Provincial COVID-19 Health & Safety Guidelines for K-12 Settings document.
ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY:
Outdoor activities and programs are encouraged as much as possible. Teachers will plan physical activities that do not involve prolonged physical contact or crowding and that support physical distancing of 2 metres outside of learning groups.
Wearing masks during high-intensity exercise (indoor or outdoors) is left to personal choice. Masks do not replace the need for physical separation.
For low-intensity exercise activities, secondary students are required to wear masks when they are indoors, unable to maintain physical distancing, and a barrier is not present.
Weight room users are to maintain 2-metre physical distance and wipe down equipment after each use with a disinfectant.
Additional information is available starting on page 40 of the Provincial COVID-19 Health & Safety Guidelines for K-12 Settings document.
Music Programs, Choir and Singing
All K to 12 staff and secondary students will wear masks while singing indoors unless they are behind a physical barrier. Physical contact will be minimized within the same learning group, and students and staff will be spaced as far apart as possible. Students are to maintain a 2-metre distance if they are not within their cohort while singing indoors or outdoors.
Additional information is available starting at the bottom of page 38 of the Provincial COVID-19 Health & Safety Guidelines for K-12 Settings document.
Visitor access to schools continues to be restricted only to those individuals who support activities that benefit student learning and well-being. All visitors must wear a mask.
Parents/caregivers and other visitors on school grounds should maintain a physical distance of 2 metres and avoid crowding.
As I noted in a letter to families on February 4, modifications have been made to mask guidelines and are outlined here.
Other changes include improved protocols around staff interactions and shared space. Revisions have also been made around crowding, gathering, and close face-to-face contact.
Additional information is available in the Provincial COVID-19 Health & Safety Guidelines for K-12 Settings document.
Fraser Health COVID-19 Notification Process
Effective immediately, Fraser Health is introducing a streamlined notification process for COVID-19 exposures in schools. The new process is designed to increase response times, decrease the number of emails sent to families, and improve the accuracy of the notifications. In the event of a confirmed COVID-19 case at a school, families will receive one or more letters, as described below:
When a case has been identified and involves an individual who was in a school during their infectious period, a notification letter will be distributed to the school community. Receiving this letter does not mean you or your child has been exposed.
If a case is linked to one or more classes, a self-monitoring letter will be issued to the affected classes or cohorts of the person who attended school while potentially infectious. The intent of the letter is to provide heightened awareness around monitoring for symptoms beyond that of the daily health check. Unless an individual has or develops symptoms, they can continue to come to school.
Individuals or groups who are identified through contact tracing by Fraser Health as being at higher risk due to proximity to the case or the nature of the exposure will receive a self-isolation letter. Students who receive a self-isolation letter should remain at home as directed by Fraser Health.
Other Important Information
- Additional self-monitoring or self-isolation letters will be issued in the course of contact tracing, as determined by Fraser Health.
- Fraser Health will complete contact management within approximately 48 hours.
- School exposures will continue to be posted on www.fraserhealth.ca/schoolexposures.