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Education During CV19 Pandemic: Information, Resources & Supports

Superintendent Letter to Families | March 31, 2021

We have received updated direction from the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education regarding the important things we can all do to help manage the risks of COVID-19 in our school communities.

Masks

All adults and students from grades 4 to 12 are expected to wear masks to add another layer to the protections that are already built into the comprehensive health and safety plans that are keeping our schools safe. Specifically:

  • All adults must wear a mask or face covering when inside a school building.
  • All students in grades 4 through 12 must wear a mask or face covering when inside a school building.
  • It is strongly encouraged for all kindergarten through grade 3 students to wear masks when inside a school building as well.
  • Students may remove their masks while outside, including at recess, lunchtime and while learning outside.

Exceptions to the order can be found here.

March 29th, 2021 | Three-Week Circuit Breaker

March 2, 2021 | Ministry of Education News Release | K-12 COVID Rapid Response Teams & Updated Daily Health Check for K-12 students 

February 4, 2021 | Ministry of Education News Release|  Enhanced Safety Measures for K-12 Schools  

Health & Safety Reminders:

  • All students should conduct a Daily Health Check. To support daily screening, a K-12 health-checker app has been developed for students and their families and can be found HERE.  The updated Student Daily Health Check Form in various languages:
  • All staff should conduct the WorkSafeBC Employee Daily Health Check.
  • All visitors should conduct the WorkSafeBC Visitor Health Check upon entry to any of our facilities. 
  • Stay at home when sick.
  • Get a health assessment and/or COVID-19 test when sick. *New Provincial COVID-19 Testing Guidance: Anyone in the VCH region with cold, influenza or COVID-19-like symptoms, however mild, can now be assessed for and get a COVID-19 test. Contact your physician or nurse practitioner’s office, or a local community collection centre to arrange for a test. Phone numbers and locations of collection centres can be found HERE or by calling 8-1-1. 
  • Perform hand and respiratory hygiene.

Thank you for following our health & safety protocols and keeping our community safe! 

Support Documents and Sites: 

Covid-19: Coping with Anxiety in Children and Adults Webinar Recording

BC Children’s Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre 2-part webinar series on Challenges with School Attendance where the presenters talk about anxiety and related challenges that can be a barrier to attending school, as well as practical strategies to help things go more smoothly. 

FamilySmart

 

The BC Centre for Disease Control has released their report on Impact of School Closures on Learning, Child and Family Well-Being During the COVID-19 Pandemic

UBC-CMHA COVID19 Effects on Mental Health of Vulnerable Populations Report

Child and Youth Mental Health and Substance Use Resource for COVID-19

Introducing Foundry’s Virtual Services!

Foundry is working to make sure all young people in British Columbia can get the care and support they need, when they need it. They offer virtual drop-in counselling sessions by voice, video and chat to young people ages 12-24 and their caregivers! 

EASE at Home (for Parents and Caregivers)

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the EASE classroom activities were adapted for use at home by parents and caregivers to support children’s mental health and continuous learning. These fun and practical strategies help guide parents and caregivers in managing their children’s anxiety and worries in the comfort of their home during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

Families Staying Active

Canadian kids need active bodies to build their best brains. In order for them to reach their full mental, emotional and intellectual potential, their bodies have to move to get the wheels in their brains turning! This ParticipACTION App has great ideas for home activities content for the whole family!

Guided Meditations and Mindfulness from BC Children’s Hospital – Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre

Mindfulness can be practiced in many different ways, and can be done at almost any time. Dr. Dzung Vo and Dr. Jake Locke from BC Children’s Hospital have recorded some of the mindfulness meditations that they use in the mindfulness groups they offer at BC Children’s Hospital. Feel free to download these recordings and listen to them from your computer or mobile device.

Sunshine Coast Community Task Force

The volunteer task force will try to help community members to connect with the organizations who are responding to the special needs arising from the COVID-19 crisis. The Sunshine Coast Community Task force is a team of dedicated volunteer and community organizations working together to connect the people and the resources they need during the current crisis.

Contact: Phone: 1-866-212-5025 – 10:00 am – 2:00 pm – Mon-Fri / Email: scctaskforce@gmail.com /Website: scctaskforce.com

Supporting Families and Children During the Covid-19 Outbreak

Uncertainty is hard for most people, yet there are simple and practical ways to cope with even the most difficult situations.  Research shows that coping with stress builds resilience and can make us stronger.  People in our community and around the world are helping each other, working together, showing kindness, and trying to be creative in addressing the problems we are facing.

Here are some ways to help yourself and your family during this time:

  • Self-Compassion – Fear is a natural response to a pandemic such as this. Try to be kind to yourself if you are feeling more worried or anxious than usual.
  • Self-Care – It remains important to engage in healthy and relaxing activities that you enjoy. Consider a wide variety of fun, intellectually stimulating, and physically active options such as reading for professional growth or leisure, cooking, practicing yoga, exercising, meditating, and spending time in nature.
  • Connection – Stay connected with family and friends through virtual visits.
  • Routines – Keeping similar routines and developing healthy new routines helps provide predictability and a sense of safety for you and your family.

The COVID-19 pandemic may be a very stressful and frightening time for our children.  While it is important to remember that fear and anxiety about disease is normal, excessive worry is not.  There are many things we can do as parents to support our children during these extraordinary times.  When talking to our children about the current situation, a solutions-focussed approach is helpful.

Things to keep in mind when having discussions with children include:

  • Many individuals and organizations (governments, doctors, nurses, schools etc.) are helping during the current situation.
  • It will get better.
  • Life will return to normal.
  • Let’s focus on caring for our family, friends, and community.
  • Positive Focus – Try to shift the dialogue away from the negative and toward what we can be grateful for in this time.
  • Talk and Listen and Model – Take the time to talk to your child or teen about COVID-19 in an age-appropriate way. Reassure your child or teen that they are safe, and share your own strategies for coping with stress.  Model for them how to be resilient and health.

Supporting All Children and Youth

  • Routines are important and can help to create a sense of predictability and security.
    • Some examples of routines include scheduling daily academic time, outdoor activities, and family time.
  • Focus on the moment. Mindful breathing is very helpful.
  • Model calmness, routine, and a focus on family and friends.
  • It is appropriate to provide a fact-based discussion on the changing landscape of COVID-19. This discussion should be done in a calm and reassuring tone conveying the message that we are safe.  We take precautions, but we are safe.  Listen, provide age-appropriate information and focus on prevention (frequent hand-washing, social distancing etc.).
  • Focus on the positive and encourage children to do the same. Rather than feeling stuck inside, for example, see it as an opportunity to focus on family and home.

Supporting Older Students

  • Limit social media and news consumption. Create a window of time to check the news together rather than watching it all day.
  • Consult accurate information from reliable sources
  • Limit exposure to the news;
    • Watching news that repeatedly emphasizes both the rapid spread of coronavirus and lack of effective treatment makes people feel anxious and dis-empowered. Anxious thoughts include those that suggest the worst case scenario and our inability to cope with that.  This news coverage feeds that faulty thinking.
  • Moderate the amount of gaming time.
  • Eat as nutritiously as is possible. Make balanced meals you can prepare together.
  • Try to ensure older students are getting enough sleep (sleepfoundation.org).

Supporting Younger Students

  • Younger students may show their stress in different ways, for example: crying, irritation, ‘acting out,’ reduced attention and concentration, regression to an earlier are such as bed-wetting, and ceasing activities that they previously enjoyed.
  • Here are some strategies to help reduce stress in younger students:
    • More time with trusted adults
    • Increased play time, inside and out (if possible)
    • Routines
    • Quiet times to read books, listen to music, do puzzles, and play board games
    • Adequate sleep

Mental Health

  • Children, teens or adults who have mental illness or addiction should continue to seek support.
  • Many counsellors are continuing their work on the phone or online.
  • Local supports in the community are ongoing, but support may look different. (see below for phone numbers)
  • There are helplines and online tools and apps (please see below for a few ideas).
  • Have a safety plan and ensure that youth and children know they are not alone.

Phone Numbers/Crisis Resources:

Local Information:  

Mental Health Resources for Children and Youth are available during this time. Supports may look different, but they are still working to support families and children with mental health during this unprecedented time.  Please use the links below for local resources and contact information.

Sunshine Coast Youth Resources

Children and Youth Mental Health Resources for Sunshine Coast

Provincial Resources:

Apps:

Supportive Resources – websites, apps, helplines and other phone numbers

The Sunshine Coast Child and Youth Medical and Mental Health Town Hall took place on May 21st. Below is the recording of the event and resources for families.

Recording of April 2020 Mental Health Town Hall Meeting

Covid-19: Coping with Anxiety in Children and Adults Webinar Recording

BC Children’s Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre 2-part webinar series on Challenges with School Attendance where the presenters talk about anxiety and related challenges that can be a barrier to attending school, as well as practical strategies to help things go more smoothly. 

COVID-19: Parenting Tips

Parenting Through Difficult Times – How to Thrive Rather Than Just Survive – Fall 2020 Session Recording Links

Parenting Through Difficult Times: How to Thrive Rather Than Just Survive with Sarah Joseph Resource Spring 2020 Session Links.

Additional Resources:

Safer Schools Together & BC Ministry of Education: Raising Digitally Responsible Youth – A Parent’s Guide

Social Emotional Learning at Home: 10 Things You Can Do at Home to Improve SEL

Vancouver Coastal Health Family Resource: Connecting around Food during COVID-19: Opportunities for Parents and Caregivers. 

BC Children’s Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre webinar on Setting Children & Youth up for a Successful Return to School in the Era of COVID-19: recording of the presentation, powerpoint slides. We also encourage you to listen to their podcast episode on Parenting during Covid-19.

Digital Learning Resources

See SD46 vetted resources below!

You can also look at the Ministry of Education Open schools site for Activities and Resources.

Website

Description

 

Grade/Content Area

 

Additional Info

 

AudibleAmazon’s audio-book collectionGrades K-12Free with no account necessary at this time
BC Libraries Summer Reading ProgramBC Libraries Summer Reading Program now on-lineGrades K-9Join and enjoy, reading challenges, games and interactive learning
activities
Canadian EncyclopediaContribute to the Canada During Covid-19 ProjectGrades 4-12Download the learning tool to develop a primary source for Historia Canada
    
 Code.orgComputer Science LearningGrades K-12Parents will be asked to create an account if coding projects are to be saved
Covid-19 LearningActivities and learning from the Ministry of EducationGrades K-12Includes from Scholastic Teaching Our World: The Coronavirus
    
Gibsons Public LibraryAccess to all library resources with free card applications here for the entire coast!Grades K-12Click on Line Resources
EpicLiteracy & Numeracy books/novelsGrades K-9Most teachers already have accounts set up and can now share with families to use at home. Check with your teacher!
ERACFocused educational resources we are licensed to use in schools

Grades K-12

Includes World Book Early Learning Kids & Students

ERAC Access from home requires login information:

Username: 46SBO

Password: 46sd46

IXL LearningMath & English Language ArtsGrades K-12District license for Math & language Arts. Students will be given a code by their teacher.
Khan AcademyLearning opportunities on any subjectGrades K-12Parents can create a free account for their child or may be given a code by their teacher
Lets talk ScienceScience Experiments and STEM projectsGrades K-12Free learning opportunities for all ages
Liberation-75A global movement to celebrate 75th anniversary of liberation from the holocaustGrades 4-12Online toolkit to access Holocaust Resources & Lessons
MediasmartsCanadian digital and media literacyGrades K-12Resources for teachers and parents
    
Northern Spotted Owl WebcamThe Northern Spotted Owl is one of our Endangered speciesGrads K-12Live webcam of the owl nest
ProdigyMath practice in a game formatGrades 1-8Requires a class code from your child’s teacher to login
RAZ-KidsLeveled reading practice for childrenGrades K-5Requires a class code from your child’s teacher to login
    
Science WorldLocal learning Activities for all areasGrades K-12While closed, they offer many online activities to explore!
Sora LibraryDigital & audio book library. Offers simultaneous use of all titles until June 30, 2020. Books can be borrowed and read on a laptop or digital device!Grades K-12Our new district license for the Overdrive links to your local library & includes hundreds of digital books! Download the Sora app, find your school (Sunshine Coast) and use your student # for login & password.
Storyline Online Videos of picture books being read aloud by guest readersGrades K-5 
Sunshine Coast MuseumOnline educational portal for all of our historical resources called Sunshine Coast Museum at Home.Grades 2-12This includes photos, audio, video, virtual tour and historical quizzes. Fantastic opportunity for local learning
    
Unite for Literacy Digital Books under many topic areasGrades 1-6Text can be read aloud in many different languages
Vancouver AquariumLocal learning Activities for all areaGrades K-12While closed, they offer many online activities to explore!
WESchools@HomeRecommended resource for our social/emotional learningGrades K-12Sign up for a free account, access to daily virtual lessons

If you have any questions on the setup of technology for distant learning for your child please send an email to: parenthelp@sd46.bc.ca. 

ONLINE SAFETY

The Canadian Centre for Child Protection, through its program Cybertip.ca, is urging families to have conversations about internet safety and to work together to implement strategies that ensures everyone’s digital well-being.

WHAT SHOULD PARENTS BE AWARE OF?

  • Your child may want to spend increased time connecting with friends by live streaming or video chatting. Talk to your child about the ease by which screengrabs and video recordings from live streams or video chats can be saved and used against tweens to embarrass or harm them, even by people they know. Be mindful that some live stream apps/platforms feature private messaging where anyone can direct message your child. To learn more about the risks of live streaming and ways to safeguard kids, visit protectkidsonline.ca/live.
  • Online gaming is another way your child may want to connect with friends and pass the time. Like live streaming, gaming platforms can open kids up to receiving chats or private messages from people they don’t know in real life. For example, Cybertip.ca released an alert regarding the popular multi-player website Roblox after receiving reports concerning requests to meet up in person, and/or sexually suggestive chat messages being sent to children under the age of 12 within the game. For more information on online gaming concerns, and what you can do, read the blog Glitching Out on ProtectKidsOnline.ca.
  • TikTok is a hugely popular app for tweens and teens, and they may want to spend more time creating and posting content. Teens may be tempted to take risks or act explicitly to get more followers or likes on a video. This can also be heightened by TikTok challenges, which are created by TikTok and the community itself. While most are just silly viral trends or marketing schemes, some can be dangerous. Read more about TikTok and how to keep tweens/teen safe while using it here: A Quick Guide to TikTok
  • In the past two years, Cybertip.ca analysts have classified 600 reports as luring — adults communicating online with a child for a sexual purpose — through a variety of apps and services such as Facebook/Messenger, Instagram, Snapchat, KIK, and online gaming platforms. Learn more about the ways in which offenders attempt to gain access to children online by visiting cybertip.ca/grooming.

WHAT CAN PARENTS DO?

  1. Have regular conversations about online safety. This includes talking about the online games your kids are playing, the apps they’re using, and who they are chatting with. For tips on how to get the discussion started, visit protectkidsonline.ca for age-appropriate ideas.
  2. Set the expectation you will monitor your child’s online activities, and work together to establish guidelines around texting, social media, live streaming, and gaming, such as who your child can do these things with and on what apps.
  3. Become familiar with, or revisit the parental controls on computers, phones, and tablets. Some devices allow parents to limit access to specific apps, social media sites, internet content, and features available within the device. 
  4. For younger children, help them create their login, password, and profile information ensuring it is set to private. For tweens and teens, know their username/character name and password, as well as the email address used to sign up for apps/games/social accounts.
  5. Help tweens/teens set up privacy settings in apps/games/social accounts. With a private account, users can approve or deny followers/friends, restrict who can view their content and profile information, and limit incoming messages to followers/friends only. Work together to decide who to accept as followers/friends.
  6. Tell your child that if they come across something or someone while chatting/messaging/texting that makes them feel uncomfortable, they can tell you without fear of getting in trouble or losing online privileges. Remind them that their safety is what is most important to you. 
  7. If you see, read, or hear anything sexual from an adult towards your child online, report it to Cybertip.ca.

*Information gathered from The Canadian Centre for Child Protection.

SD46 Student’s Digital Responsibility Guidelines & Guidelines for Virtual Classrooms and Video Conferencing

ZOOM Tips for Families

Safer Schools Together & BC Ministry of Education: Raising Digitally Responsible Youth – A Parent’s Guide

Telus provides a low cost internet service for K-12 students from low income families. The program offers internet connectivity for $9.95/month (plus applicable taxes) for 24 months; regular pricing thereafter. 

Archive of SD46 School Exposures:

School NameDate(s) of ExposureFor this case, self-monitor for symptoms until
Elphinstone SecondaryJanuary 7th and 11thJanuary 25th
Chatelech SecondaryJanuary 26thFebruary 9th
Chatelech SecondaryJanuary 13th, 14th, 18th, 21st, and 25th14 days from last exposure date
Elphinstone SecondaryMarch 9th and 11thMarch 25th, Midnight
House of Red Cedar Indigenous Covid-19 Outreach ProgramApril 6thApril 20th

BC Ministry of Education:

March 2, 2021:  K-12 COVID Rapid Response Teams & Updated Daily Health Check for K-12 students 

February 4, 2021: Enhanced Safety Measures for K-12 Schools 

December 17th, 2020: Honourable Minister Jennifer Whiteside’s letter of introduction and holiday greetings for parents and caregivers

September 3rd, 2020: New federal funding builds on plans for a safe back to school

August 26th, 2020: Detailed plans support safe return to classroom

August 17, 2020: K-12 operational guidelines set requirements for masks

August 12, 2020: Orientation Week Ensures a Safe, Ready and Welcome Return to School News Release

School District 46 – Sunshine Coast:

March 31, 2021: Superintendent Letter to Families

March 10th, 2021: Superintendent’s Letter to Families

September 24th, 2020: SD46 & VCH Town Hall Q&A Recording

September 21st, 2020: Letter to Families re: Protocols for CV19 School Exposures

September 11th, 2020: SD46 Superintendent’s Update

August 27th, 2020: SD46 Options and Survey

August 13, 2020: Superintendent’s Update: 08/13

July 29, 2020: September Start-Up

Reports:

  • BCCDC Impact of School Closures Report: Impact of School Closures on Learning, Child and Family Well-Being During the COVID-19 PandemicThe findings of the report speaks to how important it is to have face to face supports for our children, especially those with diverse abilities. It also confirms why as a school district we have been proactive and diligent to have solid processes in place and resources to support our diverse learners whether they are present at school or remote learning. Ideally, we want all of our students, especially those with diverse needs, to be back at school so that we can provide the safe space and specialized services in an optimal environment.  However, we also understand that for a variety of good reasons some students need to stay at home. Therefore, we continue to be creative whichever option our families choose to provide equitable access to education, resources, tools and supports.

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is intended to answer some of your questions regarding education, resources, and supports during the CV19 pandemic. It is informed largely by the resources listed at the end of this document.

Note: The information shared here is based on the most current information we have. As more information becomes available, we will update this FAQ accordingly.

A: All adults and students from grades 4 to 12 are expected to wear masks to add another layer to the protections that are already built into the comprehensive health and safety plans that are keeping our schools safe. Specifically:

  • All adults must wear a mask or face covering when inside a school building.
  • All students in grades 4 through 12 must wear a mask or face covering when inside a school building.
  • It is strongly encouraged for all kindergarten through grade 3 students to wear masks when inside a school building as well.
  • Students may remove their masks while outside, including at recess, lunchtime and while learning outside.

Exceptions to the order can be found here.

*While we do have some flexibility in setting expectations with respect to health and safety protocols in schools, it is also incumbent on us to use the best information that we have available to make those decisions. In the case of this pandemic we rely on the medical advice of the Ministries of Health and of Education. Should the Ministry of Health in its review of data and medical science adjust its recommendations we will comply immediately. 

A: Even when wearing a mask, staff and students are still required to maintain physical distance from people outside of their learning group.

Efforts are put in place to ensure there is not crowding, gathering or congregating of people from different learning groups in a school setting, even if non-medical masks are being worn.

A: There are a number of measures we can all take to ensure we continue to protect those around us.

Families are asked to monitor daily for symptoms using a Daily Health Check  and not to send children to school if they are showing symptoms of illness.To support daily screening, a K-12 health-checker app has been developed for students and their families and can be found HERE.  New Provincial COVID-19 Testing Guidance: The BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) has released updated guidance on when to get tested for COVID-19 that applies to all British Columbians, including K-12 students and staff. 

Please also encourage your child to continue with their efforts to help stop the spread of COVID-19 by:

  • Practicing physical distancing
  • Washing their hands often with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (containing at least 60% alcohol)
  • Coughing and sneezing into a tissue or the bend of their arm
  • Wearing a mask when needed
  • Avoiding touching their face
  • Not sharing food 
  • Most importantly, staying at home if they have new symptoms

Parents, caregivers, and visitors on school grounds, please wear a mask and practice physical distancing.

Thank you for keeping our community safe. 

A:

  • All students should conduct a Daily Health CheckTo support daily screening, a K-12 health-checker app has been developed for students and their families and can be found HERE.  The updated Student Daily Health Check Form in Various Languages *See below for expanded version and click the language converter on our page for other language options  not listed here:
  • All staff should conduct the WorkSafeBC Employee Daily Health Check.
  • All visitors should conduct the WorkSafeBC Visitor Health Check upon entry to any of our facilities. 
  • Stay at home when sick.
  • Get a health assessment and/or COVID-19 test when sick. *New Provincial COVID-19 Testing Guidance: Anyone in the VCH region with cold, influenza or COVID-19-like symptoms, however mild, can now be assessed for and get a COVID-19 test. Contact your physician or nurse practitioner’s office, or a local community collection centre to arrange for a test. Phone numbers and locations of collection centres can be found HERE or by calling 8-1-1. 

 

STUDENT DAILY HEALTH CHECK

 KEY SYMPTOMS OF ILLNESS

 

WHAT TO DO

Fever (above 38°C)

If yes to 1 or more of these symptoms:

Stay home and get a health assessment.

 

Contact a health care provider or 8-1-1 about your symptoms and next steps.

 

Chills

Cough

Difficulty breathing

Loss of sense of smell or taste

OTHER SYMPTOMS

 

WHAT TO DO

Sore throat

If yes to 1 symptom:

Stay home until you feel better.

 

If yes to 2 or more of these symptoms:

Stay home for 24 hours.

 

If symptoms don’t get better or get worse, get a health assessment; contact a health care provider or 8-1-1 about your symptoms and next steps.

 

Loss of appetite

Headache

Body aches

Extreme fatigue or tiredness

Nausea and vomiting

Diarrhea

INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL:

 

WHAT TO DO

Have you returned from travel outside Canada in the last 14 days?

 

 

If yes:

All students and staff who have travelled outside of Canada are required to self-quarantine for 14 days after arrival under both provincial and federal orders.

 

This includes students who are attending school from abroad. Students from outside of Canada should plan to arrive in Canada at least two weeks before they are scheduled to attend school to adhere to the self-quarantine orders. Additional information is available here

 

CLOSE CONTACT

WHAT TO DO

 

Have you been contacted by public health and notified that you are a close contact of a person confirmed to have COVID-19?

If yes:

Please follow the instructions provided by Public Health.

 

You can call 8-1-1 anytime to get advice about how you are feeling and what to do next. Pay attention to how you are feeling. If it becomes harder to breathe, you can’t drink anything or feel much worse, seek urgent medical care at an urgent care clinic or emergency department.

 


Check your symptoms with the K-12 Health Check. If you have any questions, or the symptoms get worse, contact your healthcare provider, or call 8-1-1. For more information on COVID-19, please go to www.bccdc.ca.If you develop severe symptoms, such as difficulty breathing (e.g. struggling to breathe or speaking in single words) or chest pain, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest Emergency Department.

A: Through testing in B.C., Public Health have found that people with mild symptoms infrequently test positive for COVID-19. The list of symptoms of concern in the school setting was shortened in order to minimize disruptions to classroom learning, while ensuring that VCH can detect true cases of COVID-19. Children with mild symptoms can still be tested if desired. (source: VCH Website)

A: Staying home when sick is one of the most important ways to reduce the introduction to and the spread of COVID-19 in schools. When COVID-19 is present in the community, the risk of introducing COVID-19 into schools is reduced if staff, students and parents/caregivers:

    • All students should conduct a Daily Health CheckTo support daily screening, a K-12 health-checker app has been developed for students and their families and can be found HERE.  
    • All staff should conduct the WorkSafeBC Employee Daily Health Check.
    • All visitors should conduct the WorkSafeBC Visitor Health Check upon entry to any of our facilities. 
    • Get a health assessment and/or COVID-19 test when sick. *New Provincial COVID-19 Testing Guidance: Anyone in the VCH region with cold, influenza or COVID-19-like symptoms, however mild, can now be assessed for and get a COVID-19 test. Contact your physician or nurse practitioner’s office, or a local community collection centre to arrange for a test. Phone numbers and locations of collection centres can be found HERE or by calling 8-1-1. 

These steps do not replace usual health care. Health questions can be directed to 8-1-1 or your health care provider.

Managing Covid-19 symptoms at home and school: Doctors of BC Covid-19 Decision Making Tool: Managing COVID-19 Symptoms at Home and School. Click HERE for more info.

A:  Please visit Vancouver Coastal Health for school exposure lists by district.

This online resource will provide parents, teachers and community members with timely, accurate information on the COVID-19 cases in K-12 schools in their region.

Health authorities will provide the name of the school, the community and the date and type of notification (outbreak, cluster or exposure.)

January 14, 2021: VCH reports on COVID-19 transmission in schools across its region

A: All of our schools are following the BCCDC guidelines (Public Health Actions if a Staff, Student or Other Person Who Has Been in the School is a Confirmed COVID-19 Case). 

If a student or staff member develops symptoms at school, protocols are in place for the person to be isolated and returned home as soon as possible. Public health would be notified immediately of a potential case. 

Please be aware that the school district acts under the guidance of the Ministries of Health and Education in relation to the management of illness and confirmed cases, and the communication protocols we follow. Regional Health Authorities post school exposure information online. Please visit Vancouver Coastal Health or the BC Centre for Disease Control to access this information.

Current protocol following a confirmed case of COVID-19 in our school community:

  • Vancouver Coastal Health initiates contact tracing to determine how the individual was infected and who they were in close contact with.
  • Vancouver Coastal Health identifies and notifies close contacts who may be at an increased risk, and advises them to self-isolate and monitor for symptoms for 14 days.
  • Only Vancouver Coastal Health can determine who is a close contact. Learning groups, friends or other connections may not be determined to be a close contact. 
  • Vancouver Coastal Health staff works closely with the school and school district throughout the case and contact management process to maintain close communication with the school community.

The key point for families to remember is that Vancouver Coastal Health will connect directly with any individuals who may have been exposed with further instructions via phone call or letter. If you are contacted by Vancouver Coastal Health, please follow their advice carefully.

As per our health and safety guidelines, if your child has symptoms, please keep them at home and follow the guidance from the BC Centre for Disease Control.

If you do not receive a phone call or letter from Vancouver Coastal Health, your child should continue to attend school. As a reminder, please continue daily health checks to monitor your child for COVID-19 symptoms. If you have any health questions or concerns, we encourage you to call 811.

Can you provide more information on confirmed cases?

For privacy reasons, we are not able to provide health information on any individuals. 

A: An exposure is when a person with COVID-19 has had close contact with others during their infectious period, putting them at risk of getting ill. Note: An exposure does not equal transmission. 

A cluster is when Public Health determines there is a link between two or more individuals with COVID-19.

An outbreak, on the other hand, is when a Medical Health Officer identifies transmission within a setting and additional public health measures are required to limit the spread of COVID-19. 

January 14, 2021: VCH reports on COVID-19 transmission in schools across its region

 

A: Typically, the process of contact tracing takes two to four days from the time Vancouver Coastal Health is notified of a positive case. They generally reach the case within 24 hours and their contacts within the next 24 hours. The exact time to complete contact tracing can vary depending on the number of case contacts, types of interactions, speed of replies. 

Contact Tracing Explained Video 

BCCDC Contact Tracing Infographic

 

A: Self-isolation means staying home and avoiding situations where one could come in contact with others. Self-isolation is required for those:

  • confirmed as a case of COVID-19,
  • who are identified as a close contact of a confirmed case of COVID-19, and
  • who have travelled outside Canada in the last 14 days.

Self-monitor means monitor your symptoms for 14 days from the date of possible exposure. You and your household can continue with your normal daily activities. If you experience symptoms, self-isolate immediately and contact your public health unit, your health-care provider or 811.

VCH How to self-monitor infographic

A: If a student has been asked by VCH to self-isolate for 14 days from their last date of possible exposure, we would work with the family to ensure continuity of learning (if the student is well enough to do so). This may include an online presence with connections and touch points. 

A: We understand there may be rumours in the community regarding potential COVID cases. Please rest assured that if a member of the school community were to test positive for COVID-19, Vancouver Coastal Health would follow up directly with any individuals who may have been exposed. We are committed to open and transparent communication with our staff and families. We will work with Vancouver Coastal Health to share information on COVID-19 exposures on this page and with those it may impact. As mentioned, school exposure information will also be posted online via Vancouver Coastal Health.

A: The Ministry of Education has developed a five-stage approach supported by strict public health guidelines from the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) that allow in-class instruction to be increased or decreased depending on the risk of transmission.

In the case of a local outbreak, Vancouver Coastal Health will work with school administration to determine what actions should be taken and if suspending in-class learning is necessary. If any staff or student has been in contact with a COVID-positive person, they will be notified by Vancouver Coastal Health and must self-isolate.

If there is a large-scale outbreak, the Ministry will continue to work with the Provincial Health Officer, school districts and independent school associations to review and revise health and safety measures in schools based on updated public health guidance.

A: BC has released a COVID-19 gargle test. The saline gargle test is now available for all adults and children over four years of age. In order to be able to use the test, you must not eat, drink, smoke, vape, brush your teeth or chew gum for at least an hour prior to the test, as these activities will reduce the accuracy of the test.

COVID-19 gargle instructions HANDOUT 2020Sep1

A: Dr. Henry elaborated on the Provincial Health Officer Order: The goal of the orders is to break the chain of COVID-19 transmission though non-essential events such as social gatherings and travel so that essential events such as school and healthcare can safely occur in our communities.

Transmission is not being seen in schools. 

It is very important in the broader society to follow these directives to limit the spread of COVID-19. It is also important to note that schools are controlled environments. We know who comes into our schools, we expect everyone to follow specific protocols, and we know whom we would need to connect with should contact tracing be required. This is why the public directives do not apply to schools. 

A complete list of the orders can be found here: PHO Order.

A: Your children may be worried about their family, friends and themselves. It is important to talk to your children about this disease and give them some reassurance. It may be difficult to know what to say or how much information to share. At the link are some resources that can help support you in your efforts to provide information about COVID-19 to your children. (source: VCH Website)

A: CMHA BC’s free wellness programs can help families manage school anxiety during COVID-19.

 Covid-19: Coping with Anxiety in Children and Adults Webinar Recording

BC Children’s Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre 2-part webinar series on Challenges with School Attendance where the presenters  talk about anxiety and related challenges that can be a barrier to attending school, as well as practical strategies to help things go more smoothly. 

 Vancouver Coastal Health | Copying with Back to School Anxiety with Dr. Erik Swartz Recording. 

 

A:  To support a positive school experience, we encourage you to explore the provincial Erase website for a list of mental health resources for parents, caregivers, students and staff that are focused on building safe, caring and resilient school communities. Given the links between mental and physical health, we also encourage you to explore ways to integrate greater opportunities for movement during the school day, including the promotion of active transportation to and from school, which also has infection prevention benefits.

For more mental health resources, please check out the tab at the top of this page titled Mental Health Resources. 

A: The FIVE STAGE FRAMEWORK FOR K-12 EDUCATION outlines expectations for B.C. schools for learning during COVID-19.

The goal of the Framework is to maximize in-class instruction for all students while meeting the revised BC CENTRE FOR DISEASE CONTROL (BCCDC) SCHOOL SAFETY GUIDELINES. The framework allows in-class instruction to be increased or decreased depending on the risk of transmission.

A: In Stage 2 of the Ministry’s Back to School Plan and guidelines, visitor access during school hours should be prioritized to those supporting activities that benefit student learning and well-being (e.g. teacher candidates, public health nurses, meal program volunteers, etc.).

Schools will ensure that visitors are aware of health and safety protocols and requirements prior to entering the school. 

If you need to enter the school, please contact your child’s principal to make an appointment. 

A: In order to reduce physical contact and maximize spacing between students, the School District is asking all registered riders to consider using alternative transportation options, if possible. Cross-boundary riders may be required to make alternative arrangements depending on available space. School Buses will not be accepting unregistered riders, which includes after-school friends coming home with a bus student.  Alternate transportation will need to be arranged by families in those cases.

For those families who do require service, the Board of Education has established walk limits to school from student’s homes. If a student lives within a walk limit, they are not eligible for school bus transportation. The walk limits established are 2.0 km for Kindergarten to Grade 7 and 3.2 km for Grade 8 to Grade 12. If you are unsure about your eligibility for a school bus, you can use google maps to enter your home address and your school’s address and choose the “walk” option to determine the shortest route. You can also contact our transportation contractor, Thirdwave, if you need more assistance in determining your eligibility. In normal years the school district sometimes provides courtesy ridership where space permits to students living within the walk limits, however that courtesy will not be available during the COVID pandemic.

 

A: School buses will be sanitized thoroughly twice daily. All bus drivers will be wearing masks and, occasionally, face shields.  Students who attend the same school will be seated in similar areas in the bus and we are working to develop seating lists as we establish ridership for the coming school year.

We ask that you and your child self-assess each morning prior to boarding the bus. If your child is exhibiting any symptoms, please refrain from riding the bus and complete the BC self-assessment tool  here. All students are asked to wash their hands as they leave their home in the morning, prior to boarding the bus. Secondary students will be required to wear a mask while riding the bus.

Who can I contact for more information?

Mike Martens, Assistant Manager of Facilities and Transportation

Phone: 604-886-9870 | Email: mmartens@sd46.bc.ca

Randy Gould, Manager, Thirdwave Bus Services

Phone: 604-885-1260 | Email: randyg@thirdwavebus.com

A: A learning group is a group of students and staff who remain together throughout a specific school term (e.g., a school quarter, semester or year) and who primarily interact with each other.

A learning group could be made up of:

  • A single class of students with their teacher
  • Multiple classes that sometimes join together for additional learning activities
  • A group of secondary school students with the same courses

Under Stage 2 of B.C.’s FIVE STAGE FRAMEWORK FOR K-12 EDUCATION the maximum size of learning groups is 60 people in elementary schools and 120 people in secondary schools.

SD46 Learning Groups Infographic

Click HERE for more learning group information from the Ministry of Education.

Benefits of Learning Groups:

Under Stage 2 of B.C.’s FIVE STAGE FRAMEWORK FOR K-12 EDUCATION, classrooms will remain students’ primary learning environment.

Learning groups will allow for additional interactions between students and classes to support learning, while limiting the number of interactions between people in schools and subsequently, reducing potential exposures to COVID-19.

Learning groups will provide a range of benefits for students:

  • Learning – Allow for in-person learning
  • Social – Increase peer interaction, avoid isolation
  • Emotional – Increase peer support and connection
  • Psychological – Decrease mental health impacts

How will physical distancing be maintained within a learning group?

Learning groups reduce the number of in-person, close interactions a person has in school.

Members of the same learning group will have to minimize physical contact, but they will not be required to practise strict physical distancing.

Outside of a learning group, physical distancing of 2 metres remains the expectation for secondary school students and for all K-12 staff. As well, non-medical masks or face coverings are required to be worn by staff and secondary students in high traffic areas, in common areas (e.g. hallways) or in situations where physical distancing cannot be maintained and the person is interacting with people outside of their learning group.

What could a learning group look like at elementary school?

The majority of elementary schools will return to full-time, in-class instruction with minimal modifications to school structures and timetable.

Classrooms will remain students’ primary environment. Elementary schools will create learning groups of up to 60 students and staff. Details about learning groups specific to SD46 will be made available by August 26. Note: student-specific information will be shared with families closer to the start of school.

SD46 Learning Groups Infographic

What could a learning group look like at elementary school?

The majority of elementary schools will return to full-time, in-class instruction with minimal modifications to school structures and timetable.

Classrooms will remain students’ primary environment. Elementary schools will create learning groups of up to 60 students and staff. Details about learning groups specific to SD46 will be made available by August 26. Note: student-specific information will be shared with families closer to the start of school.

SD46 Learning Groups Infographic

What could a learning group look like at secondary school?

Secondary schools will require adjustments to timetables and school schedules in order to maximize in-class instruction.

Secondary school students will continue to be organized in classrooms; however, school timetables will be organized to limit students to learning groups of no more than 120 students and staff. As an example only, students in a secondary school learning group might take some of their courses together, and then take separate electives, where they would need to practise physical distancing from the students outside of their learning group. Details about learning groups specific to SD46 will be made available by August 26. Note: student-specific information will be shared with families closer to the start of school.

SD46 Learning Groups Infographic

A: Ventilation is achieved through a variety of air handling equipment (HVAC systems) which brings outdoor air into the classroom space, and exhausts indoor air, to the outside.

SD46 HVAC systems have been adjusted to provide as much fresh air as possible, along with additional ventilation before and after classes.

The district has invested in HVAC systems over the years including two extensive refits this summer at HMBES and KES to ensure that we have well ventilated spaces both now and in the future. Opening windows have been installed in classrooms where that need was identified.

Where and when it is feasible, doors and windows will be open to provide a flow of air through spaces and outdoor education will be occurring. 

The Board of Education also approved funds recently to upgrade school filters to Merv 13 wherever possible across the district.

A: Vancouver Coastal Health has recommended drinking fountains not be used at this time. However, water bottle filling stations are available for use by students and staff.

Units that include both a water fountain and filling station have the fountain portion sealed off or identified as not for use. The filling station, considered a high touch surface, is subject to a higher cleaning frequency, similar to other high touch surface areas.

A: To help reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission and ensure the continued health, safety and wellness of all of our user groups, all rentals of the Sunshine Coast School District indoor facilities  have been suspended until further notice 

At this time, new rental applications are not being accepted. 

Other outdoor spaces such as basketball courts, sport enclosures and playground spaces on school property cannot be booked. These amenities are available for community use outside of school hours.

Sunshine Coast Regional District & SD46 Joint Use Agreement Notice:

Until further notice we are unable to accommodate joint use bookings through the SCRD or SD46; however, staff will be reviewing what is possible and will seek to resume these bookings as soon as it is practical and safe to do so.

A: Community Schools are providing food to a significant number of families who are struggling to make ends meet at this time. As a district we are working with the Community School Associations and joining with other community groups to ensure that Sunshine Coast families do not go hungry during this pandemic.

A: Telus provides a low cost internet service for K-12 students from low income families. 

The program offers internet connectivity for $9.95/month (plus applicable taxes) for 24 months; regular pricing thereafter. 

A: The BCCDC has advised that wherever possible, larger gatherings should be held virtually. 

Board Meetings are currently being conducted via Zoom and will be broadcasted live via the SD46Schools YouTube Channel.

A: If you have questions or comments about your child’s learning, please contact their teacher. If the matter is more school related, please connect with your child’s principal. If the matter is more related to the direction of the district, please email the Superintendent of Schools. If you don’t know who to talk to, contact any of us. We are here to help: email questions@sd46.bc.ca.

All district and school contact information is available on this site.

We will ensure commonly asked questions are shared (while protecting your personal privacy) so that we can update our FAQ and provide an answer that benefits all visitors to this page.

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