Back-to-school September 2020 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)

The Five Stage Framework for K-12 Education outlines expectations for B.C. elementary, middle and secondary 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.

  • August 21 to 26, 2020. The Ministry of Education reviews Restart Plans and confirms school district and independent school association approaches.

School districts and schools begin to communicate information to parents/guardians on health and safety guidelines, learning groups, scheduling and enrolment options under their Stage 2 plans.

  • August 26, 2020. The Ministry of Education will release updated K-12 Operating Guidelines for COVID-19 and final K-12 Education Restart Steering Committee materials.
  • August 27 & 28, 2020 Response to the updates. Possible Town-Hall.
  • August 31, 2020 Staff return to school and begin safety review and training.
  • September 3 – 4, 2020 Zoom meetings for each class, times TBA.
  • September 4, 2020 Open house by appointment only for new students.
  • September 8, 2020. Stage 2 of the Five Stage Framework for K-12 Education starts & students will return to school.
The Restart Plan will outline:

  • How in-class instruction will be organized using cohorts.
  • Revisions to school health and safety plans to meet the requirements of the updated COVID-19 Public Health Guidance for K-12 Settings (BCCDC).
  • Our updated plan is not much different from the plan we published in July you can see that HERE
The school continues to refine the plan and will share plan details publicly by August 26.
As of August 21, yes. Based on current public health advice and the health and safety plans to be put into place by all school districts and independent school associations in B.C., K-12 schools are safe to re-open in Stage 2 in September. This means that most students will have access to in-class instruction and schools will be ready to welcome them back.
We have proactively planned to ensure supports and services are in place at the start of the school year for all students including our students with diverse needs. All support staff have been hired and we are ready to train on August 31st.
According to the Provincial Health Officer and the BCCDC, most children with compromised immune systems can return to school when safety measures are in place . Protective self-isolation is only recommended for children with severely compromised immune systems, on a case-by-case basis.

According to the BCCDC, children with severely compromised immune systems include children who have had a recent organ transplant, who are on intensive chemotherapy, who are receiving high doses of steroids, or with severe immune deficiency diseases.

Parents/guardians of children with complex medical conditions or underlying risk factors should consult with their healthcare provider to determine their child’s level of risk regarding returning to school. Subsequently, parents/guardians may wish to reach out to the principal of their current school to discuss available options and support.

For more information, see BCCDC’s Guidance for Families of Immunocompromised Children in School and Group Gatherings, and their Frequently Asked Questions regarding COVID-19 and Children with Immune Suppression.

In March 2020, the Government of Canada announced exemptions to the air travel restrictions that will apply to foreign nationals who have already committed to working, studying or making Canada their home.

According to Government of Canada regulations, in addition to health screening protocols before travel, all individuals entering from abroad must isolate for 14 days upon their arrival in Canada.More information about measures to support international students during the COVID-19 pandemic is available on the Government of Canada’s website and the EDUCanada website.

As of August 21, 2020, we do not have any international students enrolled for the 2020-2021 school year.

Before and after school programs will continue as before. We will do our best to have children who are using these services belong to the same cohort. If you need before and after school care for your child (kindergarten and up), please let us know on or before August 31st.
A learning group or cohort is a group of students and staff who remain together throughout a specific school term (e.g., a school term, semester or year) and who primarily interact with each other.

A learning group or cohort could be made up of:

  • A small group of students with their teacher
  • Multiple classes that sometimes join together for additional learning activities OUTSIDE

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.

Our small cohorts are designed to keep the risk as low as possible.

By limiting the number of interactions between people in school we subsequently reduce potential exposures to COVID-19 dramatically.
Learning groups/cohorts reduce the number of in-person, close interactions a person has in school.

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

Outside of a learning group or cohort, physical distancing of 2 metres remains the expectation for secondary school students and for all K-12 staff.

All boards of education and independent school authorities will continue to be required to implement strict public health measures set by the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) to reduce the risk COVID-19 transmission.

These health and safety guidelines were in place in June for the part-time return to in-class instruction and have been recently updated to take this next step in accommodating more students back into the classroom in the fall.

  • Students will be asked to wash their hands frequently, including before coming to school. They will have access to hand sanitizer when hand washing is not available.
  • Physical distancing (2 metres) for staff  when interacting outside of their learning groups/cohorts.
  • Our school will continue to be cleaned more frequently, including classrooms and high touch areas:
    • General cleaning and disinfecting of school premises daily
    • Cleaning and disinfecting of frequently touched surfaces at least twice during regular school hours
  • School and classrooms might look different, with:
    • Increased spacing between students in classrooms
    • Designated entrances, floor markings and/or signage to address traffic flow
    • Limitations on assemblies and other large gatherings
  • Visitor access during school hours will be prioritized to those entering to support activities that benefit student learning and well-being.

See COVID-19 Public Health Guidance for K-12 School Settings for more information on K-12 health and safety measures.

PPE is not required for most staff beyond that used as part of regular precautions for the hazards normally encountered in their regular course of work (e.g. gloves for some custodial services)

However, non-medical masks or face coverings are required to be worn by staff and middle 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 (e.g. Substitute teachers , specialist teachers or Education Assistants required to work in close proximity to students across learning groups).

Exceptions will be made for students who cannot wear masks for medical reasons.

We have non-medical masks available for staff or students if someone should become ill while at school.

Beyond the above, wearing a non-medical mask or face covering in schools is a personal choice that will be respected. Re-useable face masks will be distributed to staff and students who choose to wear one, and upon request.

On the advice of the Provincial Health Officer, non-medical masks are not recommended for elementary students because of the increased likelihood they will touch their face and eyes, and because they may require assistance to properly put on and take off their mask (which means increased close personal contact from school staff). However, younger students will need to wear a mask if they become sick at school.

Some younger students may choose to wear a mask for personal reasons, and they will be provided one if they make that choice, and upon request.

The BCCDC’s public health guidance for K-12 schools recommends a number of strategies to support physical distancing for students and staff in schools:

  • Consideration for different classroom and learning environment configurations to allow distance between students and adults (e.g. different desk and table formations)
  • Staggered pick-up and drop-off times
  • Staggered recess/snack, lunch and class transition times
  • More outside time for students
  • Incorporate more individual activities or activities that encourage more space between students and staff.
  • For elementary students, adapt group activities to minimize physical contact and reduce shared items
Both of our existing water fountains are now closed and in the process of being replaced with a sink for hand washing. As usual, we ask all families send their children to school with a filled water bottle each day.
Yes. All playgrounds reopened on June 1, 2020.

We do ask that playground users adhere to physical distancing guidelines and follow proper hand washing protocol afterward.

Please click HERE for more information.

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

Families will be asked to monitor children daily for symptoms and not to send them to school if they are sick. Anyone who is sick will not be allowed in school.

Any student who has symptoms of COVID-19 OR has travelled outside Canada in the last 14 days OR was identified as a close contact of a confirmed case or outbreak must stay home and self-isolate, including children of essential service workers.

Families will be asked to remind child(ren) to:

  • Minimize physical contact with their friends
  • Label their personal items and not to share them
  • Practise good hand hygiene (thorough hand washing often); respiratory hygiene (cover your coughs); and personal hygiene (no sharing of food, drinks or personal items)
The BCCDC guidelines for schools are firm, in that if any student or staff member has even mild symptoms, the person(s) are not to attend school.

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. Custodial staff would clean and disinfect the area where the person had been isolated and any areas used by them.

If anyone at school contracts COVID-19, public health would work with school administration on contact tracing*. As per normal protocols, public health officials will work with the 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 public health officials and must self-isolate. The school will not release any information regarding individuals who may have COVID-19 exposure unless directed to do so by Fraser Health.

*The use of learning groups/cohorts supports rapid contact tracing by allowing public health to focus on a smaller group of people.

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, public health officials 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 public health officials and must self-isolate.If there is a large-scale outbreak or second wave, 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.

One of the required components of our Restart Plan involves how we  will communicate with families and staff. Once the Restart Plan is published, an overview of our communication plan will be made available here.

In the interim, if you have a question that has not been answered here, please reach out to us. 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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