SD48 Safety Plan for COVID-19 Exposure Control 2020-2021

*Any updates made to sections of our SD48 Safety Plan for COVID-19 Exposure Control will lead with an asterisk and the text will be in green. The date of the amendment will be provided at the bottom of the section.
On March 17, 2020 the Provincial Health Officer (PHO) identified a pandemic risk to the province and declared a public health emergency and a provincial state of emergency related to the international spread of the Coronavirus-2019. The Ministry of Education (MOE), in collaboration with the PHO, has directed school districts to “begin the new school year with the goal to maximize in-class instruction for all students” under Stage 2 of the K-12 Education Restart Plan by “implementing a comprehensive suite of COVID-19 safety measures” and maintaining these foundational principles:
  • Maintain a healthy and safe environment for all students, families and staff.
  • Provide the services needed to support the children of our essential workers (ESWs).
  • Support vulnerable students who may need special assistance.
  • Provide continuity of educational opportunity for all students.
Further details of these directions can be found here: The health and wellbeing of our students, staff, and families is a top priority for School District No.48 (SD48). This SD48 Safety Plan for COVID-19 Exposure Control has been developed to ensure the health of our educational community through the evolving situation with COVID-19. This plan will be reviewed as new information becomes available and amended as needed, in accordance with provincial direction. Staff may wish to review this important information at WorkSafeBC COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions.

Each school/site is expected to meet as a School/Site Occupational Health and Safety Committee to write a site-specific plan fully aligned with the guidelines within this plan. All School/Site Occupational Health and Safety Plans must be submitted to the district ([email protected]) for approval. The British Columbia Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) has developed a COVID-19 School Health & Safety Checklist that can support these safety plan reviews. Based on reviews of provincial school-based exposures, the following key areas should be reviewed before February 26, 2021:
  1. Prevent crowding at all times (e.g. start and end of day).
  2. Avoid close face-to-face contact whenever possible. 
  3. Assign staff to a specific cohort whenever possible. 
  4. Stagger break times whenever possible (e.g. recess/lunch/class transition).
  5. Ensure that the use of masks does not reduce or replace practicing physical distancing and other prevention measures, for both students and staff.
  6. Ensure prevention measures are in place in staff-only areas (e.g. lunch rooms). 
  7. Ensure physical activity and music class are delivered in line with the guidance in this document. 
All staff, students, parents/guardians, contracted services, and community members accessing our sites are expected to follow this safety plan and those specific to each school/site.

The following risk assessment information is based on the best evidence currently available from the BCCDC. (BCCDC COVID-19 Public Health Guidance for K-12 School Settings). This site will be updated as new information becomes available.

The virus that causes COVID-19 spreads in several ways, including through droplets when a person coughs or sneezes, and from touching a contaminated surface before touching the face. Higher risk situations require adequate protocols to address the risk. The risk of person-to-person transmission is increased the closer people are to one another, the amount of time people are near one another, and the number of people near one another. Physical distancing measures help mitigate this risk. The risk of surface transmission is increased when many people contact the same surface, and when those contacts happen in short intervals of time. Effective cleaning and hygiene practices help reduce the risk.

COVID-19 and Children
  • COVID-19 virus has a very low transmission rate in children(ages 0 to 19)
    • In B.C., less than 1% of children tested have been COVID-19 positive.
  • Most children are not at high risk for COVID-19 transmission.
    • Children under 10 comprise a smaller proportion of the total confirmed child cases compared to children between the ages of 10 and 19.
  • Based on published literature to date, the majority of cases in children are the result of household transmission by droplet spread from a symptomatic adult family member with COVID-19. Even in family clusters, adults appear to be the primary drivers of transmission.
  • Children under one year of age, and those who are immunocompromised or have pre-existing pulmonary conditions are at a higher risk of more severe illness from COVID-19.
    • Children who are at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 can still receive in-person instruction. Parents and caregivers are encouraged to consult with their health-care provider to determine their child’s level of risk.
  • Children typically have much milder symptoms of COVID-19, if any. They often present with low-grade fever and a dry cough. Gastrointestinal symptoms are more common in children than with adults over the course of disease, while skin changes are less common in children than with adults.
COVID-19 and Adults
  • While COVID-19 impacts adults more than children, most adults infected with COVID-19 will have mild symptoms that do not require care outside of the home.
  • Some adults with specific health circumstances are at an increased risk for more severe outcomes, including individuals:
    • aged 65 and over;
    • with compromised immune systems; or,
    • with underlying medical conditions.
COVID-19 and Schools
  • There is limited evidence of confirmed transmission within school settings. This is partially due to wide-spread school closures worldwide at the onset of the pandemic to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
    • In documented cases, there was typically minimal spread beyond the index case though isolated outbreaks have been reported.
  • Children do not appear to be the primary drivers of COVID-19 spread in schools or in community settings.
  • Schools and childcare facility closures can have significant mental health and socioeconomic impacts on families and children, especially those most vulnerable. 
  • Prevention measures and mitigation strategies involving children must be commensurate with risk.

The PHO has provided the following Infection Prevention Framework for Infection Prevention and Exposure Measures for Communicable Disease. This SD48 Safety Plan for COVID-19 Exposure Control uses this framework to describe the safety planning expectations for everyone in the school district.

Communicable Diseases

Public Health Measures include Orders from the PHO, improved testing, and contact tracing. All SD48 schools and sites are expected to follow the directions of the PHO, Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH), the MOE), BCCD, and WorkSafeBC for the BC K-12 Education sector.

The PHO oversees active testing of people with COVID-19 symptoms. Should a member of our school district community, working or learning in one of our schools, identified by VCH as testing positive for COVID-19, the protocols within Board Policy 303: Communicable Diseases will be followed and all direction will be taken from VCH.

VCH will determine if that person was at school during their infectious period. They will then contact the school principal and Director of Instruction: Learning Services to request contact information and to provide further direction and to activate contact tracing through information gathering. The school principal and Director of Instruction will follow all directions and gather the necessary information within our schools. The school principal and Director of Instruction will then provide the requested information to VCH. VCH then follows up by making direct contact with those people who were identified as having enough contact to potentially have been exposed and will provide them with specific directions. We want to reassure you that if your child may have been one of these people, you will be contacted. It is expected that every member of the school community and all parents will closely follow any direction provided to them by VCH.

Within SD48 Board Policy 303, the Board acknowledges that information regarding communicable diseases can be of particular concern and interest to students, parents, staff, and the community. However, all personal health information will be treated as strictly confidential. As outlined in the Public Health Act, communicable disease information may be shared in general terms with staff, students, or parents when it is determined by the School Medical Health Officer that such information sharing is warranted for the protection of the public. As such, we will not be sending home or posting information about a positive indication of COVID or an exposure to COVID unless directed to do so by VCH. If requested to do this by VCH, we will ensure all information is complete and accurate and will continue to protect the privacy of anyone involved.  

It is also critically important that all members of the school district community and the parents of our students respect the privacy rights of every individual. This means that individual members of our school community and/or parents must not provide any public statements or communications about potential or confirmed COVID-19 cases, unless directed to do so by VCH.

We ask that everyone refrain from speculating or commenting on anyone’s absences. There are a variety of reasons anytime why someone may be away from school, and with the safety guidelines asking everyone to stay home if they are symptomatic at all, we can anticipate many more absences than usual. Schools are having these important discussions and we ask that you have them at home too.

Our district and school safety plans are designed through Public Health’s, Hierarchy for Infection Prevention and Exposure Measures for Communicable Disease. We have created highly controlled environments in our school settings by using multiple exposure prevention measures and supporting important contact tracing methodology. Thank you for your continued support of our safety planning and your time in reading this important information.

The PHO order on mass gatherings does not apply to schools, as events are defined in the order as an irregular gathering, like a party or celebration. District and school sites are considered controlled environments. Information on Learning Group Cohorts established for in-class instruction can be found below under Administrative Measures. For all other gatherings in the school district the PHO Order must be followed. For example, the Board of Education will limit in person attendance at Public Board meetings to fewer than 50 people. The remaining attendees will be advised to join the Board through the posted online methodology.

Stage 2  Signage, Markings, and Barriers for Physical Distancing and Minimizing Physical Contact
To reduce the number of people that each student or staff member comes into contact with, thereby reducing the risk of transmission and ensuring quicker contact tracing by health authorities, the PHO has established clear guidelines under Stage 2 of the Return to School Plan. Students and staff from within the same Learning Group cohort should minimize physical contact with one another and all students and staff should maintain 2m of physical distancing from anyone outside of their Learning Group cohort. 
Principals must work with the Director of Operations to ensure that:
  • signage is posted at entrances outlining expectations for entry, hand washing, and physical distancing expectations;
  • floor markings and posters are used to address traffic flow throughout the school;
  • barriers or markers are installed in places where physical distance cannot regularly be maintained (e.g. front reception desk where visitors check in);
  • recess, breaks, lunch, and class transition times are staggered to provide a greater amount of space for everyone;
  • additional areas are provided for staff to take breaks, including outdoors;
  • strategies are created that prevent crowding at pick-up and drop-off times; and,
  • guidelines, as well as appropriate signage and communication plans, are created for the appropriate use of school property before and after school and during recesses/lunch breaks.
Stage 3 Signage, Markings, and Barriers for Physical Distancing and Minimizing Physical Contact 
The same signage, markings, and barriers throughout the school apply to Stage 3, with the addition of home communications and floor markings in some areas to assist with 50% density targets.
Stage 2 Restricted Access to SD48 Sites 
All SD48 sites and schools remain closed to non-essential community use at this time. Principals are asked to ensure that school staff reduce their use of the school building during the evening on school days and avoid working at the school site on the weekends. Anyone needing an exception made must gain approval from the school principal.
Principals must ensure that communications are established, including school website updates, emails home to families, and signage at the school that outline and explain that:
  • parents, caregivers, and other visitors remain outside of the school to drop off their children;
  • all inquiries or requests to schools are done through phone or email;
  • approved external visits to the school are prioritized to those adults supporting activities that are of benefit to student learning and wellbeing (e.g. teacher candidates, mental health clinicians, immunizers, meal program volunteers, etc.);
  • when adult visitors are approved to enter the school, additional signage and floor markings indicate how the visitor is to proceed and that the visitor is placed on the school contact list for that day, has completed the requirements of a daily health check, is wearing a non-medical mask (or provide one for them), sanitizes their hands when they enter the building, and follows the school safety plan measures;
    • schools will maintain a list of the names, dates, and contact information for all visitors who are approved to enter the school. The contact list will be held for a period of 30 days for the purposes of contact tracing. 
  • site entrances and administrative areas have a designated 2 metre distance (using tape or other floor markers) from the counter and the staff member working there; and,

All SD48 schools are to be designated as “closed campuses” for students during the instructional day. Principals are to ensure that: 
  • all families and students understand that students are to remain on school property during the instructional day, including breaks and lunch time; and,
  • if a student needs to leave school for an appointment, principals must ensure that they sign out of the school and, upon return, sign back in and wash their hands before rejoining their Learning Group.
StrongStart and child care programs will still be operational. Principals must ensure that:
  • all participants follow the school site safety plan and the recommended preventative measures (e.g. stay home when sick, hand hygiene etc.);
  • maintain daily attendance records; 
  • the capacity for occupancy is limited and that the number of families attending are able to physically distance; and,
  • the program is encouraged to increase outdoor activity.
Stage 3 Restricted Access to SD48 Sites
The same restrictions to accessing school and district sites apply as under Stage 2 with some additional limits. For example, StrongStart programming will not be offered in person. Programming may be offered at an alternative location or online.
Stage 2 Community Use Groups on SD48 Sites
School District No.48 is limiting Community User Groups at this time to those where the cleaning required for the user group does not impede with the custodial team’s ability to adequately clean the school for maximum in-class instruction at the site and to those user groups which are able to submit a Safety Plan outlining their approach to ensuring appropriate health and safety protocols are maintained.

User Group Safety Plans must include:
  • daily health checks of individual user group members prior to entering the building;
  • washing hands before entering the building and frequently throughout;
  • notification that participants stay at home if they are feeling ill;
  • a list of the date, names, and contact information for any user group members who entered the school; 
  • maintaining a maximum of 50 people in alignment with the Gatherings and Events Order of the PHO. Additional information is available from the BCCDC for gatherings and events in community settings; 
  • members practicing diligent hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette; 
  • physical distancing among older youth and adults; 
  • limiting building access to only those areas required for the purpose of the activity; 
  • a process for identifying the used equipment to ensure proper disinfecting can take place by SD48 custodians; and,
  • community members’ ability to bring their own equipment, where appropriate.
Stage 3 Community Use Groups on SD48 Sites
There will be no non-essential community use of school facilities.
Stage 2 & 3 Physical Spaces
Principals are to implement the Draft SD48 Room Readiness Policy for creating and maintaining open, spacious, flexible, and hygienic learning and working environments. For clarity, the Draft SD48 Room Readiness Policy was not created specifically as a COVID-19 exposure control measure. Rather, it is intended as an ongoing plan to support our collective social responsibility to a high standard of cleanliness and care at all times. When all staff and students tidy up after their own activities, remove unnecessary clutter, and maintain orderly spaces, it supports custodial staff to more easily clean high touch and other surfaces for important hygiene safety standards. Please note that input collected from staff and partners over time will inform the further development of the Draft SD48 Room Readiness Policy. 

Under the Draft SD48 Room Readiness Policy, including some additional measures for COVID-19 exposure control, staff are asked to:
  • eliminate all clutter, including the removal of rarely used materials currently being stored in the classroom or work space;
  • place school district resources in a central storage area rather than in classrooms or work spaces;
  • take all personal items home, including personal learning resources not currently being used by students;
  • ensure students take personal items home daily and that all elementary ‘coat/cloak rooms’ are empty at the end of each day;
  • make every effort, where deemed necessary in elementary schools, to store students’ items like indoor shoes or extra dry clothes inside closed cupboards;
  • eliminate the use of middle and secondary school lockers;
  • reduce the number of high touch surfaces in all rooms; 
  • remove all materials from any remaining surface areas, including desks/countertops, sink areas, workstations, and staff rooms; and,
  • ensure that all classrooms/work spaces that are not in use are cleaned, closed, and locked.

School water fountains are to be disabled. Signage and training should support everyone in using the water filling stations at each school. Principals will inform students and parents/guardians that they will need to bring their own personal water bottle to use at the water filling station. Principals will arrange to have compostable cups available for students to use if they forget or don't have a water bottle.
Stage 2 Scheduling and Signage for Density Reduction 
Principals are required to ensure that people are easily able to maintain 2m of physical distancing and do not crowd, gather, or congregate with people from different Learning Groups, even if non-medical masks are being worn. In order to support this, efforts must be made to reduce density where possible, including: 
  • establishing and posting occupancy limits for shared spaces, such as lunch rooms & washrooms;
  • providing additional areas for staff to take breaks, including outdoors;
  • creating plans, if necessary, for two or more Learning Groups sharing the same learning space to enter and leave the space safely;
    • e.g. Learning Group A enters the space first and is seated on the far side of the classroom as indicated by signage; Learning Group B follows and is seated on the near side of the classroom as indicated by signage. Process reversed at dismissal.
  • having staff use outside spaces for student learning as often as possible;
  • creating guidelines for school arrival and departure times and gathering during recesses/lunch breaks;
  • ensuring that there is a specific plan for students to, where possible, remain in their Learning Group during recess, lunch and break times;
  • creating schedules and plans to reduce density that include assigned physical spaces for individual cohorts and their break times,
    • in some cases, staggering schedules will be necessary to ensure that all Learning Groups have adequate space for breaks; and,
  • creating plans for the arrival and dismissal of students and instructions to students and parents and guardians for specific entrances and exits to the building.

Stage 3 & 4 Schedule and Signage for Density Reduction
In addition to the requirements of stages 3 and 4, principals must ensure that they meet the Stage 3 Density targets of 50% for their schools and Stage 4 Density targets of 25%.
Children of Essential Services workers will be offered full-time in-class instruction during school hours. Principals must ensure that:
  • children of Essential Service Workers (ESWs) aged 5-12 are identified;
  • children of ESWs aged 5-12 are provided access to full-time in-class instruction; 
  • children of ESWs over 12 who are vulnerable or have a disability that precludes them from being at home alone will be offered full-time in-class instruction; and,
  • density targets are maintained.
Vulnerable students who may need special assistance will be offered full-time in-class instruction. Examples of students who require additional support K-12 (children and youth in care, students at risk of not graduating, ‘at-risk’ students, students not yet meeting literacy expectations, students with an AIP, IEP, etc.).Principals must ensure that: 
  • all students with disabilities, diverse abilities, and children who require additional support have access to full-time in-class instruction.
Stage 2 & 3 School Gatherings 
School gatherings during the instructional day should generally only occur within designated Learning Group cohorts whenever possible, should be held outdoors. Physical Distancing *and mask use is required for in-person school gatherings. These gatherings should happen infrequently and typical assemblies and other school-wide events should be held virtually. Examinations or assessments are not considered school gatherings, however, they are still required to be delivered in accordance with the health and safety guidelines in this document. Principals are to contact their Line Director if they plan to hold an educational or another large gathering.

Staff Meetings involving staff from different Learning Groups should preferably occur through virtual means. Where a virtual alternative is not possible, staff meetings can happen in person if participants are able to maintain physical distance and are required to wear a mask. 
Extracurricular activities, outside of the instructional day, including sports, arts, or special interest clubs are encouraged in SD48 schools. As always, a staff representative should be assigned to the group and ensure that physical distancing of 2m is being maintained between anyone from different Learning Group cohorts and reduced physical contact is being maintained by those within the same Learning Group cohort (Stage 2 only).

Inter-school events including competitions, tournaments and festivals, may not occur at this time. Inter-school events will be reevaluated by the PHO as new information becomes available. Where possible, schools should consider virtual alternatives to continue to support these events in a different format.
Emergency and Evacuation Drills
Schools must continue to practice emergency (e.g. fire, earthquake, lockdown) and evacuation drills, including the six required annual fire drills as per BC Fire Code and modify current drill procedures with the health and safety guidelines (e.g, providing additional muster spots to keep Learning Group Cohorts adequately separated and also maintaining enough space at each muster station to prevent overcrowding within each Learning Group Cohort). 

Principals must ensure that: 
  • staff is notified in advance of drills (e.g. no “surprise drills”), 
  • total evacuation drills are conducted involving all occupants in the school. Partial evacuations involving smaller groups of students does not comply with the Fire Code,
  • the school fire safety plan is updated on an annual basis (e.g. the plan takes into account the current pandemic protocols), and, 
  • the school fire safety plan is developed in cooperation with the local fire department and reviewed by SD48s Director of Operations - Ian Currie. 
Stage 2 & 3 School Playgrounds

All school district-owned playgrounds are open. Principals are to send home communications to remind community members using school district playgrounds that they do so at their own risk and that surfaces will not be disinfected. Principals are to ensure that Playground Use School Signs are posted around each playground.

Stage 2 & 3 Cleaning and Disinfection
Cleaning: the physical removal of visible soiling (e.g. dust, soil, blood, mucus,). Cleaning removes, rather than kills viruses and bacteria. It is done with water, detergents, and steady friction from a cleaning cloth. All visibly soiled surfaces should be cleaned before being disinfected.
Disinfection: the killing of viruses and bacteria. A disinfectant is only applied to objects; never on the human body.

SD48 Pandemic Guide for Custodial Operations provides pandemic cleaning procedures required at our schools and facilities in accordance with directions from the BCCDC’s Cleaning and Disinfectants for Public Settings. Regular cleaning and disinfecting are essential to preventing the transmission of COVID-19. General cleaning and disinfecting of school premises must occur once in a 24 hour period and cleaning and disinfecting of high touch surfaces twice in 24 hours, including at least once during regular school hours. Custodial hours have been adjusted for instructional days to include two daytime custodians in the majority of our facilities with shifts starting at 10:30 am, 12:00 pm, and 2:30 pm. The day shift custodians must maintain the frequent cleaning of high touch surfaces during regular school hours. The after school custodians must complete the general cleaning and disinfecting of the school, including the second disinfecting of high touch surfaces.
School Principals must collaborate with the Director of Operations and their own custodial team to review and apply the cleaning and disinfecting guidelines to ensure that:
  • a schedule for general cleaning and disinfecting of each premise at least once every 24 hours, including items that only a single student uses (e.g. desks and chairs) is established;
  • cleaning and disinfecting high touch surfaces occurs at least twice every 24 hours (e.g. door handles, cupboard handles, handrails, grab handles, light switches, desk tops, counter tops, shared keyboards and devices, phones, water filling stations, washrooms and associated handles, etc.);
  • hand hygiene is practiced before and after use for commonly used equipment (e.g. PE/sports equipment) and the equipment is cleaned at least twice in 24hours, including at least once during regular school hours; 
  • cleaning products for classrooms, workspaces, and common work areas are provided;
  • only school district provided liquids (these will be commonly used and commercially available cleaners and detergents) and/or soap and water for cleaning surfaces are used;
  • items which cannot be easily cleaned are removed (e.g. plush toys);
  • any surface that is visibly dirty is cleaned and disinfected;
  • frequently touched items that are not easily cleaned are limited. These items can continue to be used, if hand hygiene is practiced before and after use;
  • appliances (microwaves,refrigerators, coffee pots, photocopies etc.) can be shared but are considered high touch services;
  • paper hand towels rather than hand dryers are provided;
  • garbage, recycling, and composting containers are emptied daily; and,
  • usual safety standards when cleaning up blood or bodily fluids (e.g. runny nose, vomit, urine) by wearing disposable gloves and washing hands before and after wearing gloves are followed.

There are no additional cleaning and disinfecting procedures beyond those that are normally implemented and those noted in this document which are required. This includes when different Learning Group cohorts use the same space (e.g. a classroom, gym, arts room, home economics or science lab, etc.) and when Learning Group cohorts are changed after a quarter, semester, or term.

According to the provincial guidelines, there is no evidence that the COVID-19 virus is transmitted via textbooks, paper, or other paper-based products. There is no need to limit the distribution of books or paper based educational resources to students. Laminated or glossy paper based products (e.g. children books) and items with plastic covers can be contaminated; however, there is no need for these items to be cleaned and disinfected or quarantined for any period of time, or hand hygiene to be practiced before or after use.
Stage 2 & 3 Designated Space for Symptoms Management
Each school and site must outline a plan to manage a situation where a student or staff member develops symptoms (BCCDC COVID-19 When to Get Tested for COVID-19) at school. The plan must outline how staff will support the student or staff member in the following ways:
  • designate a supervised area with signage and protocols, away from others, to separate the symptomatic student or staff (should the staff member be unable to leave the site immediately);
  • consider designating more that one supervised area to provide more than one space if circumstances demand, and to provide student choice;
  • designate a supervisor and a back up supervisor(s);
  • train the supervisors on the safety protocol to support these students or staff;
  • contact the student’s parent/guardian for pickup as soon as possible;
  • ensure the supervisor maintains a 2m physical distance from the student, if possible and, if not possible, that the supervisor wears a mask, if available, or uses a tissue to cover their nose and mouth;
  • have masks available in this designated space;
  • support the student in using the mask;
  • ensure any used masks or tissues are disposed of as soon as possible;
  • ensure that the student washes their hands when entering the space and when leaving it;
  • ensure all staff, and especially the supervisor in this designated area, avoid touching any student’s body fluids (e.g. mucous, saliva) and to wash their hands right away if this does occur;
  • ensure the supervisor washes their hands once the student has been picked up;
  • ensure that the space where the student or staff member was separated and any areas used by them are cleaned and disinfected promptly; and,
  • ensure that they have a back-up plan in the event that they or another member of their admin team becomes symptomatic.
In all incidences of someone demonstrating symptoms of COVID-19, principals must contact the Director of Instruction: Learning Services, who will coordinate communication with the local public health unit. Principals may also contact 8-1-1 or the local public health number for further guidance. Further to this, schools and school districts should notify their local medical health officer if staff and/or student absenteeism exceeds ten percent of regular attendance.
Ventilation and Air Exchange
All school district sites currently meet industry standards for air quality in educational settings. SD48 will engage in further third-party consultation with a mechanical engineer, prior to school start-up, to review all of the HVAC systems in the school district to determine if there are any necessary enhancements to air exchange and filtration systems due to COVID-19. Good indoor air ventilation alone cannot protect people from exposure to COVID-19; however, it may reduce risk when used in addition to other preventive measures.  

Each school's air will be flushed every day, two hours before and one hour after occupancy, with fresh outside air. Throughout the day, each classroom's hourly air exchanges will be increased using outside air. The district has procured and installed MERV 13 filters in all of our schools. Where possible, open windows if weather permits and HVAC system function will not be negatively impacted. 
* Updated March 31, 2021
Administrative measures include the implementation of policies, procedures, and related training and education which reduce the risk of exposure. Examples of these include health and wellness policies, cohorts, modified schedules and supporting the ability of individuals to maintain physical distance.
Teaching and Learning
The Ministry of Education states that “throughout all stages of the pandemic, school districts are expected to maintain the high educational standards set out in the K-12 legislative framework: the Policy for Student Success and Framework for Enhancing Student Learning.” Further, the ministry outlines that teachers will continue to work with their students to cover all required learning standards of the curriculum including an emphasis on the First Peoples Principles of Learning. The SD48 Pathways to Learning website provides evidence based and trauma informed direction for personalized learning. SD48 educators should continue to reference the research, strategies, and structures within Pathways to Learning to guide all decision making for student wellness and learning and school organization. Additionally, teachers are encouraged to plan for activities that allow for a transition between in-class and remote learning in the event of a transition between Stages. We will be providing a K-9 online (Distributed Learning) home education program as an alternative to homeschooling for those children who cannot return to school at this time.
Stage 2 Field Trips
All international and overnight field trips are cancelled. When planning a local field trip, Principals must ensure that:
  • existing policies and procedures as well as the COVID-19 health and safety guidelines are followed;
  • field trip locations provide supervisors with their COVID-19 operating plan, ensuring that it does not conflict with the school’s plan, and is shared with parents and administration;
  • parent volunteer drivers are not involved (not permitted in stages 2-4); and,
  • volunteers providing supervision are trained in and strictly adhere to physical distancing and all other health and safety guidelines (including wearing masks).
Stage 3 & 4 Field Trips
No Field Trips shall occur in stages 3 and 4.
Stage 2 & 3 Academies
Academies are permitted provided Principals are able to ensure that:
  • existing policies and procedures, as well as the COVID-19 health and safety guidelines, are followed;
  • external locations provide supervisors with their COVID-19 operating plan, ensuring that it does not conflict with the school’s plan, and is shared with parents and administration;
  • parent volunteer drivers are not involved (not permitted in stages 2-4); and,
  • volunteers providing supervision are trained in and strictly adhere to physical distancing and all other health and safety guidelines.
Stage 4 Academies
No Academies shall occur in Stage 4.
Mental Health Supports
It is expected that every school submit a plan to the district outlining how they will monitor and support each student’s mental health and well-being daily, including the incorporation of K to 12 Career and Life Education (CLE) curriculum critical to a sense of self, identity, personal planning, personalized student learning plans, etc. Evidence-based approaches, such as First Peoples Principles of Learning to incorporate Indigenous Ways of Knowing, Being, and Doing, should be used to create time and space for the adult advocate and the student peers to connect with each other and check in on each other’s wellness. Local circle protocols are prevalent in SD48 classrooms and are an example of one way to incorporate this time and relevant topics into a daily routine. The SD48 Education Plan: Pathways to Learning has a drop down menu where student e-folios and The Four Blankets are described as our approach to student self-assessment of their resilience and for teachers to scan and assess the prevalence of each child’s important layers (blankets) of connections and supports.
To support a positive school experience, public health encourages parents 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. SD48 also encourages parents to connect with their classroom teacher if their child is feeling anxious. Given the links between mental and physical health, public health also encourages exploring 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.
Inclusion and Personalization
Principals and School Based Teams must plan for students who require more support in school to have full-time, in-class instruction available. The SD48 My Action Plan (MAP) includes space for each student to write their own Student Learning Plan and the supports from which they benefit. All students are to be supported in completing their MAP and in having time and space to walk through their plan with their CLE teacher. All necessary supports must be provided using inclusive approaches. Principals and School Based Teams must also provide an educational program for students who need to stay at home because they are immunocompromised. Children and youth in care are to have priority access to technology, child care, in-class instruction, and additional supports.
Principals must ensure that parents of children with disabilities know that:
  • they are able to attend school full time or have a plan to ensure supports and learning continue if a student needs to learn at home;
  • they have access to the necessary health and safety supports;
  • they will continue to receive supports and services as identified in their IEP, including 1:1 supports; and,
  • Their children will not be grouped in segregated settings as a part of the establishment of cohorts.
Stage 2 Learning Group Cohorts
To achieve maximum in-class instruction for September, all school principals must organize students into diverse Learning Group cohorts (Learning Groups). This will reduce the number of people each student or staff member comes into contact with, thereby reducing the risk of transmission and ensuring quicker contact tracing by health authorities. Principals should strive to minimize the number of different staff members that interact with groups of students throughout the day as much as possible while continuing to support learning and a positive, healthy and safe environment. There are no additional cleaning or disinfecting procedures required beyond those that are normally implemented when Learning Groups are reorganized or when different Learning Groups use the same space.
A Learning Group is a group of students and staff who remain together throughout the school quarter, semester or year and who primarily interact with each other. Principals will guide their school teams, in collaboration with line directors, to create specific cohorts of students and staff as Learning Groups within these maximum cohort sizes:
  • Elementary: up to 60 people
  • Middle: up to 60 people
  • Secondary: up to 120 people
  • Please see the SD48 Learning Group cohort infographic for more detailed information regarding Learning Groups
Within a Learning Group:
  • minimized physical contact and avoiding prolonged face-to-face interactions is required.
Outside of a Learning Group:
  • physical distancing of 2m must be maintained for all students and staff interacting outside their Learning Group, this is actually not a requirement for elementary-age students when outdoors; however, for the purpose of practicing physical distancing requirements in Stage 3 we expect our schools to organize and make a plan for 2m of physical distancing even outdoors for elementary school students);
  • middle and secondary school students and staff are required to wear a mask if they cannot maintain physical distancing; and,
  • even when wearing a mask, staff and students are required to maintain physical distance from people outside of their Learning Group.
Elementary Schools are:
  • organized by Learning Group cohorts of up to 60 students and staff as the primary learning environment where a teacher learning team and their students can interact more regularly.
Middle Years Programs ( Don Ross only) are:
  • organized by Learning Group cohorts of up to 60 students and staff as the primary learning environment where a teacher learning team and their students can interact more regularly;
  • focussed on full-time instruction for all students for the maximum instructional time possible within cohort limits, with self-directed/online learning supplementing in-class instruction, only if required.
Secondary Schools are:
  • organized into Learning Group cohorts to no more than 120 students and staff;
  • scheduled for student learning in a manner that ensures each student continues to receive their required courses for their Career Life post-secondary plan, to the fullest extent possible; and,
  • focussed on full-time instruction for all students for the maximum instructional time possible within cohort limits, with self-directed/online learning supplementing in-class instruction, only if required. 
Principals must ensure that:
  • Learning Groups are diverse in their composition, and established in a manner that reflects the principles of equity and inclusion, and does not result in segregated learning environments for students with disabilities/diverse abilities;
  • Learning Groups stay together throughout the day, including unstructured times such as lunch, recess, classroom changes, etc;
  • students are supported within each Learning Group to minimize physical contact and to prevent crowding with each other ( 2m physical distancing does not need to be maintained within a Learning Group);
  • students are supported with maintaining 2m physical distancing and avoid face-to-face interactions from others outside of their Learning Group cohort during unstructured time such as recess, break, and lunch time. Masks are not a replacement for physical distancing between students from different learning groups in the same learning space;
  • the number of adults (staff and others) who interact with cohorts they are not a part of (to the extent possible while supporting learning and a positive, healthy, and safe environment) is minimized;
  • staff and other adults maintain 2m of physical distance from each other at all times, unless they are part of the same cohort. Masks are not a replacement for physical distancing between staff from different Learning Groups; we already say this in the PPE;
  • current lists and contact information of all members of a cohort and others who work with that cohort (e.g. itinerant teachers, TOCs), are readily available; 
  • consistent seating arrangement are encouraged where practical within Learning Groups;
  • a protocol is established for each Learning Group cohort to enter and exit their learning space for scheduled instructional time; 
  • Learning Group cohorts are amended only at the start of a new quarter, semester, or term in the school year unless necessary to do so sooner or more often to support optimal school functioning; and,
  • itinerant staff and specialists should be assigned to a specific learning group wherever possible. 
SD48 Schools: Learning Group Cohort Example
Elementary Schools:
  • Valleycliffe - 5 cohorts 
  • Cultural Journeys-2 cohorts 
  • Squamish - 8/9 cohorts
  • Garibaldi Highlands-12 cohorts 
  • Mamquam - 7 cohorts 
  • Brackendale - 6/7 cohorts
  • Spring Creek-7 cohorts 
  • Myrtle Philip - 6 cohorts
  • Signal Hill - 9 cohorts 
  • Blackwater Creek- 1 cohort (small rural school with 15 students)
Middle Schools Overview:
  • Don Ross Middle School: will have a total of 14 Learning Groups  
Secondary Schools (all considered “small” schools):
  • Learning Expeditions: 1 Learning Group (population is < 60 inclusive of all staff and students)
  • Howe Sound Secondary School: 2 cohorts at each grade level for each quarter to allow for maximum number of courses available for in-class instruction; allows for assigning of support staff as class composition requires; 2 grade 10, 2 grade 11, 2 grade 23 → 6 cohorts total 
  • Whistler Secondary School: 2 cohorts of grade 8 and 9 to support full-year courses (middle school model); 1 grade 10, 1 grade 11, 1 grade 12 cohort → 5 cohorts total
  • Pemberton Secondary School: 1 grade 8/9; 1 grade 10/11; 1 grade 12 → 3 cohorts total
Principals are directed to ensure that all Learning Groups are diverse in composition and reflect the values of equity and inclusion that are the foundation of our district education plan: Pathways to Learning.
  • Valleycliffe - regular lunch and recess with designated cohort zones
  • Cultural Journeys-  regular lunch and recess with designated cohort zones
  • Squamish - regular recess and lunch with designated cohort zones
  • Garibaldi Highlands- staggered recess and lunch
  • Mamquam - regular lunch and recess with designated cohort zones
  • Brackendale - staggered recess and lunch
  • Spring Creek  - staggered lunch and recess
  • Myrtle Philip - staggered lunch and recess
  • Signal Hill -  staggered lunch and recess
  • Blackwater Creek - regular lunch and recess
  • Don Ross Middle School: Elementary style linear approach to instruction with class organized into pods with two teachers. 
  • DRM will also be organized as a Middle Years Program with year long curricular development, especially for literacy and numeracy). 
  • Density will be reduced at school arrival, departure, and at break times through a staggered schedule with designated entrances and exits; zones will be created for specific learning groups for break times.
  • Learning Expeditions: linear as regular as cohort < 60
  • Howe Sound Secondary School: quarter system
  • Whistler Secondary School: quarter system (Grades 8 & 9 scheduled as Middle Years Program with year long curricular development, especially for literacy and numeracy.)
  • Pemberton Secondary School: quarter system (Grades 8 & 9 scheduled as Middle Years Program with year long curricular development, especially for literacy and numeracy.)
  • Designated zones for Learning Groups for break/lunch for all secondary sites except Howe Sound Secondary eats lunch in 2nd period classroom, then joins in common areas, maintaining 2m physical distance and wearing a mask otherwise.
Additions to alternate options in order to increase access:
  • Development of remote learning options for K-9 students wishing to remain enrolled in a class in their home school.
  • Extension of Distributed Learning from Grades 10 - 12 to K - 12  for students intending to complete the school year online in SD48; for students in Grades 10 -12, an additional option to cross-enrol in brick and mortar schools as well as courses online already exists.
Stage 3 Learning Group Cohorts
Learning Group cohort maximum sizes in Stage 3 are as follows:
  • Elementary: up to 30 people
  • Middle: up to 30 people
  • Secondary: up to 60 people
Within a Middle or Secondary Learning Group:
  • physical distancing of 2m for middle and secondary school students and for all staff, at all times.
Within an Elementary Learning Group:
  • physical distancing of 2m for elementary school students and for all staff when working outside of their Learning Group.
Additionally, the density target of 50% will be maintained. In most cases, students will attend in Learning Group cohorts on either a Monday and Thursday or Tuesday and Friday. Wednesdays will be for additional support for the vulnerable students who will be attending 100% of the time, teachers connecting online with their whole Learning Group, and for teacher prep time.
Physical and Health Education (PHE)/ Outdoor Programs/ Music Programs 
Schools are required to implement a PHE/Outdoors Program Plan and Music Program Plan into their local safety plan.
Principals must ensure that school safety plans include the following:
  • *Staff are required to wear masks during PHE/outdoor program classes when indoors;
  • creation of space between students and staff;
  • encouragement of outdoor activities and programs;
  • do not involve prolonged physical contact (e.g. physical contact beyond a brief moment) or crowding (e.g. activities such as tag and touch football are low risk, whereas activities like wrestling or partner dancing should be avoided). Staff are encouraged to adapt activities when possible to reduce physical contact;
  • outdoor activities or alternatives are encouraged when physical contact cannot be avoided or be replaced with low-intensity exercise activities;  
  • shared equipment is cleaned and disinfected after each use; 
  • *for low intensity activities (e.g. yoga, walking), students are required to wear masks when they are indoors and when a barrier is not present.
  • *Masks can be temporarily removed while students in Grades 4 to 12 are engaging in an educational activity that cannot be performed while wearing a mask (e.g. playing a wind instrument) but must be worn while singing.
  • when students are singing or using a band instrument, have them space out and, middle and secondary students wear a mask;
  • in middle and secondary schools, for high-intensity exercise (that significantly increases respiration rates): 
    • if indoors and the activity is stationary, students and/or fitness equipment (e.g. stationary bikes, treadmills, weight training, etc.) should be spaced 2 meters apart;
    • if the above conditions cannot be met then activities should take place outdoors; and,
    • wearing masks during high-intensity exercises is a personal choice and is not mandatory.
Stage 2 & 3 Storage of Personal Items
Beyond the new Room Readiness Policy referenced in section 3.2, all staff and students are to refrain from the storage of personal items at school sites. Instead:
  • staff and students should pack in and pack out their personal items each day;
  • middle and secondary schools may permit the use of lockers as long as they are able to meet the following conditions:
    • lockers are assigned to individual students (no sharing); 
    • physical distancing of 2m between students outside of their Learning Group can be maintained;
  • elementary Learning Groups are to scan each ‘coat/cloak room’ at the end of each day to ensure they are completely empty; and,
  • staff should not leave personal items in the classroom or in the staff/storage rooms.
Stage 2 Food Services
Food preparation as part of a learning program and the provision of food services for sale or as part of meal programs may continue as long as: 
  • for food contact surfaces, schools should ensure any sanitizers or disinfectants used are approved for use in food service applications and are appropriate for use against COVID-19;
  • the usual FOODSAFE measures are implemented:
    • when food is prepared as part of learning and is consumed by the student(s) who prepared it;
  • the usual FOODSAFE measures are implemented when food is prepared and served as part of school food service by other than those who prepared it (including for sale):
    • anyone preparing and serving the food wears a mask if they cannot physically distance from others;
  • reminders that food and beverages are not to be shared; and, 
  • all other related healthy and safety guidelines in this document are followed.
Schools can continue to accept food donations to support learning and the delivery of meal programs, breakfast clubs and other food access initiatives. 
Stage 3 Food Services
Food services will be provided to vulnerable families, including those who receive regular nutritional support, as well as those with emerging needs. Principals will ensure they:
  • identify families who receive regular nutritional support;
  • regularly assess which families have emerging needs for food support are provided a mechanism for requesting support;
  • plan for continuity of food support for students on days they are not in session; and,
  • establish a plan for safe distribution of food (collaborate with existing food programs and community volunteers).
Principals are to ensure that staff, students, and parents understand that homemade food items are not made available to other students at this time (e.g. birthday treats, bake sale items). 
Schools can continue to offer fundraisers that can be implemented in line with the health and safety guidelines outlined in this document. If the fundraisers involve the sale of food items, they should also align with the Guidelines for Food and Beverage Sales in B.C. Schools
Stage 2 SD48 Transportation Safety Plan 
The SD48 Transportation Safety Plan follows the guidance from the PHO and BCCDC’s Cleaning and Disinfectants for Public Settings document.
SD48 will:
  • continue to provide school bus transportation according to Board Policy 701: Transportation of Students for eligible riders only - for clarity, there will not be ineligible / courtesy ridership provided at this time;
  • encourage private (e.g. parents/guardians) vehicle use, car pools, and public-transit, where possible to decrease ridership density and the likelihood of virus transmission;
  • provide heavy flexible plastic shields at the side and rear of the drivers’ seats to provide a barrier between the drivers and students, whenever possible;
  • provide every bus with a box of non-medical disposal mask and a bottle of hand sanitizer; 
  • establish new bussing schedules (pick up and drop off times) due to rider volume and/or staggered start and end times of each school where appropriate;
  • communicate bussing schedule to parents; 
  • assign seating in the following priority order:
    1. students from the same household will share a seat; 
    2. students from the same Learning Group will share a seat;
    3. if required, students from outside their Learning Group will share a seat (middle and secondary students will be required to wear a mask); and,
  • maintain current passenger lists to share with public health when necessary. 
Bus drivers must:
  • clean their hands often, including before and after completing trips; 
  • clean and disinfect the high touch surface areas of the bus assigned to them at the start of their shift and between runs;
  • open windows when the weather permits; 
  • wear a non-medical mask on school buses, *except when driving a bus. Exceptions will be made for bus drivers who cannot wear masks for medical and/or disability-related reasons; and,
  • disinfect all internal surfaces of the bus after the final drop-off for the day. 
Students must:
  • clean their hands before they leave home to take the bus when they leave school prior to taking the bus, and when they get home; 
  • if possible, sit one student per seat only, if not living together;
  • non-medical masks or face coverings are required for *Grades 4 to 12 students. Kindergarten to Grade 3 students are encouraged to wear a non-medical mask or face covering on school buses but are not required to do so - mask wearing remains a personal or family/caregiver choice for these students, and their choices must be respected.
  • no student is required to wear a non-medical mask if they have a medical condition;
  • non-medical medical masks or face coverings should be put on before loading;
  • remain seated at all times while on the bus and until given direction to stand and exit the bus;
  • enter according to their seating from back to front and exit from front to back; and, 
  • follow all other directions given by the bus driver, including possible new guidelines for school bus entry and exit.
Staff Training
SD48 expects that supervisors provide training for staff by having:
  • OHS committees review the Site/School Safety Plan with all staff and ensure that all staff know how to follow the procedures;
  • staff meetings include reminders of safe work procedures and personal measures, including signs and symptoms, hand washing, and cough/sneeze etiquette;
  • newly hired staff and staff who change worksites;
  • information available for how to report an exposure or symptoms of COVID-19; 
  • a shared plan for how to raise safety concerns to the site supervisor and Joint Health and Safety Committee;
  • keep records of instruction and training provided to workers regarding COVID-19, as well as reports of exposure and first aid records; and,
  • the Director of Operations will ensure that all custodians and bus drivers are trained in the district.
Staff Support Plans
SD48 wishes to support all staff through their personal experiences and exposure concerns within the evolving COVID-19 situation. Some situations may be able to be supported through minor adjustments, such as scheduling changes or site modifications. Other concerns will require further consideration. Each site supervisor, under the direction of the Director of Instruction: Human Resources will connect with any staff who indicate possible needs/barriers during this time in order to create a personalized plan. All support plans will be created under the guidance of the PHO and the Ministry of Education.
*Updated March 31, 2021
Personal measures are actions individuals can take to protect themselves and others. Principals, with the support of their staff, must create a plan to communicate with parents/guardians, teach students, train staff, and notify visitors of all required personal measures expected at a school district site, such as maintaining physical distance/minimizing physical contact, washing hands frequently, coughing into elbows, sharing protocols, assessing their wellness each day, and staying home if sick.

Stay Home When Sick
All students and staff must assess their wellness each day before arriving on site. Anyone with symptoms of COVID-like illness that are not associated with a known chronic condition, such as allergies or asthma, should review the When to Get Tested for COVID-19 document from the BCCDC to help determine what steps to take next. Based on current evidence, key symptoms to watch for and that require testing are fever, chills, cough, difficulty breathing, and loss of sense of smell or taste. Staff and students (supported by parents as needed) are reminded to review the When to Get Tested for COVID-19 document from the BCCDC to help determine if they should stay home and seek COVID-19 testing or stay home and monitor symptoms.
Students or staff may still attend school if a member of their household develops new symptoms of illness, provided the student/staff has no symptoms themselves. If the household member tests positive for COVID-19, public health will advise the asymptomatic student/staff on self-isolation and when they may return to school. Most illness experienced in B.C. is not COVID-19, even if the symptoms are similar.  
Principals must ensure that: 
  • staff and other adults entering the school are aware of their responsibility to assess themselves daily adult for symptoms of common cold, influenza, COVID-19 or other infectious respiratory disease prior to entering the school;
  • there is clear communication with staff that if they have any symptoms, they must not enter the school;
  • there is clear communication with parents and caregivers about their responsibility to assess their children daily by reviewing the When to Get Tested for COVID-19 document to help determine if they should stay home and seek COVID-19 testing or stay home and monitor symptoms;
  • the verification process for the Daily Health Check for all employees and other visitors upon entering the building is implemented and completed; 
  • parents and students are made aware of their responsibility to complete a Daily Health Check; and,
  • a procedure is implemented for students and staff who become sick while at school/work, including supervision is provided for younger children, and the requirement for appropriate PPE for staff. 
Follow Hand Hygiene
Rigorous hand washing with plain soap and water for at least 20 seconds is the most effective way to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Parents, caregivers and staff are to teach and reinforce these practices with students, assisting them as needed. All persons accessing district sites are to reference and follow the guidelines outlined in the BCCDC hand washing poster.
Principals must ensure that:
  • hand hygiene signage is posted;
  • opportunities for staff and students to practice hand hygiene is facilitated;
  • staff are trained and students are taught to wash hands:
    • before leaving home and on arrival at school/work site;
    • after using the washroom;
    • after breaks and outdoor activities;
    • before food preparation;
    • before eating any food;
    • after eating; and,
    • before leaving the school/work site.

Principals, in consultation with the Director of Operations, must ensure that:
  • signage directs people entering the building to a designated hand washing station;
  • hand sanitizer stations, consisting of at least 60% alcohol, are set up at the school entrance (e.g. the placement of hand sanitizer dispensers);
  • refillable hand sanitizer pump bottles are supplied for all classrooms without sinks; and,
  • hand washing supplies are well maintained and inventory is monitored by the school custodian on a weekly basis. 
Use Respiratory Etiquette
Principals must ensure that:
  • all staff are trained and all students are taught appropriate respiratory etiquette; and,
    • cough and sneeze into an elbow, sleeve, or a tissue. Used tissues must be thrown away, and hands washed immediately
  • appropriate signage is posted.

Maintain Physical Distancing
Reducing the number of close, in-person interactions helps prevent the spread of COVID-19. Physical distancing refers to a range of measures aimed at reducing close contact with others. When students and staff are interacting within their Learning Group cohort they are to avoid physical contact, minimizing close prolonged face-to-face interactions, and spreading out as much as possible with the space available. When students and staff are interacting with others outside of their cohorts, practicing physical distancing should include avoiding physical contact and close, prolonged face-to-face interactions, spreading out as much as possible within the space available, and ensuring there are 2 meters of space available between people.
When students and staff are interacting with others outside their cohorts and will be in the same space for transition purposes (e.g. changing between classes), and other measures are in place (e.g. marking on the floor, staggered transition times), there should be enough space to ensure no physical contact but 2 meters physical distancing is not required.  
Principals must ensure that:
  • classrooms will be set up to promote spacing between students where possible;
  • staff are trained to follow the physical distance measures within their Learning Group and outside of their Learning Group;
  • students are taught to follow the physical distance measures as described above when students are within their Learning Group cohorts and with from students outside their Learning Group cohorts during instructional time and outside of instructional time, including not gathering or crowding; and,
  • seating arrangements when students directly face one another should be avoided where possible, particularly for middle and secondary schools and consistent seating arrangements are being utilized where practical.  
Principals must ensure that staff travelling to work sites outside of their Learning Groups:
  • wear a mask, maintain physical distance in vehicles wherever possible, and consider separate vehicles; larger vehicles may be able to accommodate physical distancing by using a seat configuration that maximizes the distance between people.
Avoid Sharing Food, Drink, and Personal Items
Food, drink, and personal items (e.g. devices, writing tools, manipulatives, toys, etc.) should not be shared. If the sharing of items is necessary, they should be sanitized after use and between different people using them.
Staff Only Spaces
Principals must ensure that Physical Distancing is practiced within staff only spaces in schools,  regardless of whether or not masks are worn. 
Although personal protective equipment (including masks) is the lowest level on the hierarchy of Infection Prevention and Exposure Control Measures, it can provide an additional layer of protection when more effective measures are not feasible. Non-medical masks and face coverings (referred to as “masks”)  have a role to play in preventing the spread of COVID-19. They provide some protection to the wearer and to those around them. Those wearing masks must still maintain physical distancing whenever possible. There must be no crowding or congregating of people, even if masks are worn. 

Gloves are not required beyond that which is used by staff as part of the regular precaution for hazards normally encountered in their regularly assigned duties. For example, supporting a student with a designated medical care plan or experiencing a health emergency may require staff to be exposed to bodily fluids and therefore require the use of gloves.

Principals must support a number of viable distancing strategies, such as reconfiguring a space, securing an alternate space, or providing transportable transparent physical barriers when staff must interact closely with people outside of their Learning Group and physical distance cannot be consistently maintained. Principals are to ensure that staff have required protective equipment prior to school start up and then regularly check in with their staff regarding any additional reasonable needs or concerns regarding further protective equipment. Principals should contact their line director if they have questions regarding the provision of PPE to school staff.
Non-Medical Masks
Medical grade masks are not required within school settings for general use. SD48 will supply schools with reusable masks. Principals are to create a system in their school for the distribution of the SD48 reusable masks to students or staff who need one. Many people will have their own masks and prefer to wear those. Those choices will be respected provided the safety protocols for physical distancing can be maintained with middle and secondary students and staff. All remaining masks must be stored in the school office to ensure the school maintains a good supply for future needs. Principals are also to track how many reusable masks they have remaining and update General Manager of Operations, Kevin Pederson or Head Custodian, Don Machalek regularly.
All staff, visitors and *Grade 4-12 students are required to wear a mask on school busses and in school and - both within and outside of their Learning Groups, except when:
  • *they are unable to put on or remove a mask without the assistance of another person;
  • *if the mask is removed temporarily for the purposes of identifying the person wearing it;
  • *if the mask is removed temporarily to engage in an educational activity that cannot be performed while wearing a mask (e.g. playing a wind instrument, engaging in high-intensity physical activity, etc.);
  • *if a person is eating or drinking;
  • *while providing a service to a person with a disability or diverse ability where visual cues, facial expressions and/or lip reading/movements is important; and,
  • there is a barrier in place;

Staff, *adult visitors and Grade 4-12 students may not tolerate wearing masks (e.g. health or behavioural reasons) and will not be required to provide evidence from a health care provider.
*Students in Grades K to 3 are encouraged to wear a mask indoors in schools and on school buses, but are not required to do so - mask wearing remains a personal or family/caregiver choice for these students, and their choices must be respected.
Principals must ensure that:
  • all staff and *Grade 4 to 12 students wear a mask *whenever they are indoors or on the school bus with exceptions as described above;
  • all visitors must wear a mask when they are inside the school; 
  • everyone treats each other with respect regardless of whether or not they are wearing a mask;
  • staff utilize positive and inclusive approaches to engage students in the use of masks;
  • *no student should be prevented from attending or fully participating at school if they do not wear a mask.
  • students and staff are reminded to have a non-medical mask or face covering available at school so it is accessible; and,
  • non-medical masks are available in the front office.

More information about COVID-related mask use is available on the BC Centre for Disease Control website.
*Updated March 31, 2021