Eat breakfast. Get dressed. Brush teeth. Brush hair. Pack lunch. Pack school bag. Perform health check.
Parents around B.C. will be adding one more task to their morning routine in September to help meet new health and safety guidelines around COVID-19.
With schools set to reopen Sept. 8 in the face of the pandemic, public health guidance from the B.C. Ministry of Health and B.C. Centre for Disease Control is now calling for strict rules around who will be let in to school buildings.
Among the rules:
- Any student or staff who has travelled outside Canada in the last 14 days must stay home and self-isolate.
- Any student or staff who was identified as a close contact of a confirmed case or outbreak must stay home and self-isolate, including children of essential service workers.
- Students or staff may still attend school if a member of their household has COVID-19-like symptoms, provided that the student or staff member is asymptomatic. The household member should seek assessment by a health-care provider.
- Students and staff who experience seasonal allergies or other COVID-19-like symptoms related to an existing condition can continue to attend school when they are experiencing symptoms as normal. If they experience a change in symptoms, they should seek assessment by a health-care provider.
- Stay home when sick: Any student or staff who has cold, influenza or COVID-19-like symptoms must NOT go to school and should seek assessment by a health-care provider.
The “stay home when sick” rule means parents and caregivers will be responsible for ensuring their children have no symptoms.
That could mean that school districts will provide parents with a daily health check form that needs to be used each day, or it could mean schools completing daily health checks at drop-off by asking parents/caregivers to confirm the child doesn’t have any symptoms.
The B.C. Ministry of Health and B.C. Centre for Disease Control have provided a sample checklist (to be updated if the BCCDC symptom list changes). A student with one or more of these symptoms must stay home from school:
- Cough, or worsening of chronic cough
- Shortness of breath
- Sore throat
- Runny nose/stuffy nose
- Loss of sense of smell or taste
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
- Muscle aches
- Conjunctivitis (pink eye)
- Dizziness, confusion
- Abdominal pain
- Skin rashes or discoloration of fingers or toes
Anyone unsure if they or a student should self-isolate or be tested for COVID-19 will be directed to use the B.C. COVID-19 self-assessment tool or to contact 811 or their family health-care provider for assessment.
Source: B.C. Ministry of Health/B.C. Centre for Disease Control Public Health Guidance for K-12 School Settings (updated July 29)