March 12, 2020 2:30 pm
Information regarding the COVID-19 pandemic is evolving in real time. We have been monitoring the situation very closely and rely on the latest information from Global Affairs Canada, the World Health Organization, the B.C. Ministries of Health and Education, BC Centre for Disease Control and Vancouver Coastal Health to help inform our students, staff, community and our district practices.
Travel, Self-Monitoring, and Self-Isolation:
The World Health Organization tells us that containment is the, “central pillar”, to controlling the pandemic. If you are planning an international trip with your family this spring break, please remember to monitor the Government of Canada travel site for the latest travel advisories at www.travel.gc.ca/travelling/advisories. COVID-19 is currently found in 118 countries. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry stated, “We are seeing that things are moving very quickly and things can open up very suddenly. This is one of those years where I would shift my thinking to staying at home.” Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Theresa Tam advises Canadians to avoid all cruise ship travel. Those with underlying health issues should reconsider trips at this time.
Please keep in mind that availability of health care services in some areas may be limited and travel restrictions may be put in place suddenly. If you are going to travel abroad, please register with the Government of Canada at https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/registration. This free service enables you to receive important information before or during a natural disaster or civil unrest, and also allows government to notify you in case of an emergency abroad or a personal emergency at home.
Global Affairs Canada is now advising self-isolation (stay at home and avoid close contact with others, including those in their house) for 14 days for people who have been to Hubei Province, China, Iran and Italy in the last 14 days (for updates to this list, visit https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/latest-travel-health-advice.html). Vancouver Coastal Health is also recommending that anyone who has been in close contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 to stay home for 14 days after their last encounter with the infected person.
All other travellers who are returning to the Sunshine Coast should monitor themselves and their children closely for symptoms for 14 days, but do not need to stay home from school. If symptoms develop, they should limit their contact with other people and call their healthcare provider or 8-1-1.
A Collective Effort:
It will take a collective effort to minimize the spread of COVID-19. As always, the best precautions people can take are to wash their hands, use hand-sanitizer, and cover their mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing (or cough into your elbow) to reduce the spread of germs and to not go to work or school if they have symptoms of fever, cough, shortness of breath or sore throat.
At present the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Provincial Health Officer of British Columbia do not recommend school closure strategies for the prevention of COVID-19.
The school district will continue to publish COVID-19 updates to the district website at sd46.bc.ca as appropriate. We will send another update to all families on Thursday, March 26th (or sooner if required).
Thank you again for your support as we work together to keep our students, staff and community healthy and safe.
Superintendent of Schools