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Principal’s Update January 12, 2022

Dear Parents/Caregivers,

Late last week, the Province released additional protocols for communication between families, schools and public health. Some minor updates have been made to our Communicable Disease Prevention Plan, including:

  • Link to a new BC Self-Assessment Tool. In light of public health transition to self-management, individuals may find this tool helpful.
  • Reminder to report all absences due to illness to the main office.
  • Note that individuals are not required to report the nature of their illness (i.e. COVID-positive status)

Public health has transitioned to individual self-management and notification of close contacts. Close contacts are currently defined as those a COVID-positive individual has been near for longer than 15 minutes when health and safety measures were not in place or insufficient. Generally, you should notify those you live or share a room with, or those with whom you have had intimate contact. Schools are an environment where a wide range of measures are in place. As such, most school contacts are not considered “close contacts” from a public health perspective.

Note: Protecting personal privacy continues to be a priority of public health. Schools are not permitted to release individual contact information for staff and/or students for the purpose of notifying others of positive COVID test results. Schools are also instructed not to notify others on an individual’s behalf. Please respect the school’s support of this public health guidance.

Updated Communication Protocols

We have also updated our school Communication Plan to reflect communication protocols with respect to “potential activity signals” and “functional school closures”. You can follow the link above to review the full document; however, please take some time to review the following protocols:

A potential activity signal occurs when staff and/or student attendance levels reach a predetermined threshold. Current public health thresholds include:

  • If overall student absences due to illness is 10% higher than normal (2-5%, depending on season)
  • If more than 25% of a class or grade are absent due to illness
  • If a functional school closure is being considered

When a potential activity signal is reached, the school will simultaneously inform our local Medical Health Officer and our school community. Given the size and connectedness of our school community, a school-wide notice will be issued for overall and class/grade-based thresholds are reached or surpassed.

Please Note: A school-wide notice of “activity” does NOT necessarily mean that a school closure will occur. School closures are a significant consideration with impact for both staff and families. This course of action will not be taken lightly.

A functional school closure will be considered when staff absences reach a level that prevents safe supervision of students and/or meaningful continuity of in-person learning.

A public health closure is a temporary school closure by order of a Medical Health Officer when it is deemed necessary to prevent excessive transmission of a communicable disease. This could be based on student and/or staff absences due to illness.

A complete outline of school closure protocols can be found in Section 5 of our updated Communication Plan. Please contact the school if you have any questions or need clarification on any of our enhanced measures or communication protocols.

Sincerely,

Shane Nelson
Principal