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On behalf of members and parents, BCCPAC has been present and vocal in all the Steering and Health and Safety meetings.

We have and will continue to raise these key issues which are being discussed at the provincial table:

  • Remote and flexible learning options availability and continuance for those who have not returned to in-class learning
  • Adherence to the Guiding Principles ensuring that Special Needs students are receiving a full day/full week of education
  • The resolution of the existing equity gap
  • Ensuring all students are receiving a full educational program in all districts
  • Plans to address the reality of learning impacts being experienced by students across K-12
  • Continued plans and resources to address the mental health needs of students
  • Health and safety of students

Updated Health & Safety Guidelines

Based on the latest evidence and a review of school exposures to date in BC, the Provincial Health Officer (PHO) and the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) have updated their public health guidance for K-12 schools to address several key areas. Updates include:

  • Strengthened mask guidelines for middle and secondary students and K-12 staff in schools
  • Specific guidance for Physical Education and music classes
  • More detailed protocols regarding staff-only spaces and gatherings
  • Read the full Public Health K-12 Guidance

The Ministry of Education, in consultation with the Education Steering Committee and Health & Safety Working Group, has revised the Provincial COVID-19 Health & Safety Guidelines for K-12 in alignment with these updates. Changes are summarized at the front of the document and have been highlighted throughout the document.

Change

All middle and secondary students and K-12 staff will now be required to wear non-medical masks in all indoor areas, including when they are with their learning groups. The use of masks should not reduce or replace other more effective infection prevention and exposure control measures in schools.

The only exceptions are when:

  • Sitting or standing at their seat or workstation in a classroom
  • A barrier is in place; or
  • When eating or drinking

Prior to these changes, masks were required for middle and secondary students and all K-12 staff in high-traffic areas, like hallways and outside of classrooms or learning cohorts when they could not safely distance themselves from others.

Guidelines have also been strengthened for physical education and music classes. High-intensity physical activities are to be held outside as much as possible. Shared equipment or items, such as weight machines, treadmills or musical instruments, can be used only if they are cleaned between use, according to strict school sanitization guidelines. Students using equipment or playing instruments should also be spaced at least two meters apart and masks are to be used when singing.

Six regional Rapid Response teams, one for each health authority and one dedicated to supporting independent schools, with representatives from both school and provincial health staff have been established. These teams, announced by the PHO, will continue to improve the speed of school exposure investigations, so health authorities can inform school districts and families more quickly. The rapid response teams will conduct physical or virtual site inspections to ensure K-12 COVID-19 health and safety guidelines are being followed consistently. If there has been a significant exposure event or an in-school transmission, rapid response teams will be deployed to conduct a review and make recommendations, if needed.

As a result of all these changes, school districts are required to do the following by Friday, February 26:

  • Update their school district safety plan, in consultation with their rights holder/stakeholder advisory teams, to ensure it is aligned with the revised Provincial Health & Safety Guidelines for K-12 then post the revised plan to their district website
  • Ensure all school administrators at each school site have completed BCCDC’s new COVID-19 Health and Safety Checklist with their respective health and safety committees.
  • Post their updated school district safety plan publicly to their website
  • The BCCDC has a new website with information and resources about health and safety measures in K-12 schools, student and staff safety, and what happens when there is a COVID-19 case in school.

Regarding school exposures, if there is a confirmed COVID-19 case in a school, public health contacts affected school community members directly. Regional health authorities also post-school notifications on their websites, providing the date and type of notification (outbreak, cluster or exposure) for impacted schools.

Vancouver Coastal Health

New K-12 Health Check App
The Ministry of Education has worked with Public Health and the BCCDC to create a daily health check website and mobile app for students and their parents to complete before heading to school in the morning. The website and app will contain the most up-to-date BC health guideline information. The design of the app was developed in collaboration with BC students to create an age-appropriate user-experience. It will allow for students and their parents to make the best decisions on whether to attend school, not to attend school, or take other measures based on the information they provide.

Learn More:

Read the full media release

BCCPAC
Unit C - 2288 Elgin Avenue, Port Coquitlam, BC V3C 2B2
Phone: (604) 474-0524 | Email: [email protected]