St. Augustine School
Health & Safety and
Communicable Disease Prevention Plan

The St. Augustine School HEALTH & SAFETY/ COMMUNICABLE DISEASE PREVENTION PLAN is meant to help alleviate the concerns around the return to school and to show the meaningful steps we are taking to keep kids as safe as possible. The plan for our school Is based on information from the BC Center for Disease Control, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Health, and WorkSafeBC. For links to the source documents, please, visit the Ministry of Education’s Return to School website

No plan alone is sufficient. In order for the return to school to be safe and go smoothly, we will need to be diligent, careful, courageous, and understanding in order to make it successful. We must also be understanding and supportive of those who, for any reason, are not or do not feel safe to return to school. Thank you for being  united in purpose and in prayer for the health and safety of our school families.

Read our Communicable Disease Prevention Plan.  The three resources below (BCCDC, Provincial COVID-19 Communicable Disease Guidelines, and BC's Back-to-School Plan) are key resources used to inform our plan as well as the Health & Safety Plan below.   

LAST UPDATE: October 2, 2021
 

While schools will look closer-to-normal this September, we’re not back to normal just yet. Effective prevention measures are still in place to keep our school low-risk for COVID-19.  Though it is everyone's hope and desire to get back to normal as soon as possible, we will be adhering to the PHO's recommendations to take things slowly and GRADUALLY lift restrictions for certain aspects of school.  Based on the above resources and guidelines, and in keeping with a measured, gradual approach to returning to normal, below are some answers to some important questions that many parents have been asking and are key elements of our Health & Safety / Communicable Disease Prevention Plans.

This is a living document which will be updated frequently as provincial directives and protocols are revised and/ or added.

CLEANING AND SANITIZING

Our school will be cleaned and disinfected in accordance with the BC CDC’s Cleaning and Disinfectants for Public Settings. Cleaning practices will be in line with the provincial health officer’s COVID-19 Public Health Guidance for Childcare Settings.  The following list of specific cleaning protocols will be enforced:
 

  • Custodial and maintenance staff will clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at least twice every 24 hours (once during the school day).  This will be in addition to a general school cleaning, which will happen at least once a day in the evenings. 

  • More rigorous cleaning will take place on high-traffic areas and high-contact surfaces such as doors and cabinet handles, stair railings, washrooms, shared office spaces, desks, keyboards, light switches, and communications devices.

  • General cleaning and disinfecting of the premises will occur at least once a day. Frequently-touched surfaces will be cleaned and disinfected at least once a day.

  • Garbage bins will be emptied daily and sanitized

  • Student lunches must be self-contained and all garbage and organic waste will be packed up and brought home.

  • Good ventilation and fresh air can play a part in reducing the spread of COVID-19. Our staff and students will benefit from new HVAC equipment and will make the most of the outdoor spaces available. 

    • Our school has upgraded our current filters to a minimum MERV 13 filter

    • Our school’s fresh air intake system has increased its average air exchange 

    • Activities to be moved outdoors when possible

    • Movement in hallways will be controlled and designated entrances and exits are in place.  

  • Janitorial staff will be informed and adequately trained in the new requirements.

DROP-OFF SCHEDULE

  • Student face masks MUST BE WORN for all drop-off and line-ups.

  • For Kindergarten to Grade 3,  masks can be removed once the students’ hands are sanitized and they are inside the classroom;  it is still highly encouraged that K-3 students wear masks as much as possible

  • For Grades 4-7 students, masks must remain on while inside the school except for while eating

  • Students will NOT be lining up in the courtyard.

  • We will continue to use our drop-off zones according to youngest child in the following zones:
     

    • ​Zone A (Arbutus):   your youngest child is in grades 4-7 (*and families with siblings in the pre-school).

    • Zone B (8th Avenue)your youngest child is in Grade 2 or 3.

    • Zone C (Laneway)your youngest child is in Kindergarten or Grade 1 

  • Staggered Drop-off schedule:
     

    • 8:25am 8:35am (Alphabetical A-L)
       

    • 8:35am-8:45am (Alphabetical M-Z)
       

  • All walkers/ bikers are asked to also arrive at these scheduled times and must enter through the main entrance on 7th Avenue ONLY where they will be asked to line up safely distanced as they enter the building.

  • Students will go directly to their assigned classrooms upon arrival; the courtyard will be closed for drop-off

  • Parents must leave campus immediately after drop-off

PICK UP SCHEDULE

  • Student face masks MUST BE WORN for all pick-up and line-ups. Masks can be removed once the students have left campus with their parents either walking or by car.   

  • Staggered Pick-Up Schedule
     

    • 2:55pm-3:05pm Alphabetical A-L
       

    • 3:05pm-3:15pm Alphabetical M-Z
       

  • *N.B.  For WEDNESDAY Early Dismissal only, staggered pick up starts at 1:55 (A-L) and 2:05 (M-Z).

  • Walkers/bikers will be dismissed at the beginning of their staggered start time via the east stairwell single-file 6 feet apart, and out into the courtyard where they will line up by grade

    • parents/caregivers are asked to wait on the sidewalk along Arbutus;  students will be dismissed by family

  • Drivers will pick-up ONLY in the laneway.

    • Students who will be picked up by car in the laneway will begin dismissal at the same time as walkers, dismissed single file, safely distanced, via the east stairwell, and assemble under the tents in the courtyard; they will wait to be called by the supervising teacher once their parents arrive;  they will then proceed through the gym to the laneway, where they will enter their car

  • Courtyard is off-limits to parents and caregivers.

RECESS & LUNCH SCHEDULE

  • There will be no free-recess times; there will be scheduled use of playground structures and playground equipment for all recess periods

  • The playground will be divided into sections, one for primary grades, the other for intermediate grades

  • There will be two staggered recesses (odd numbered clasess and even numbered classes)

  • Recess will be scheduled as follows:
     

    • Morning Recess

      • 10:15 - 10:30 (K, 2, 4, 6)

      • 10:35-10:50 (1, 3, 5, 7)
         

    • Lunch Recess
      • 11:50 - 12:20 (K, 2, 4, 6)

      • 12:25 - 12:55 (1, 3, 5, 7)
         

  • Students will be permitted, as last year, to play on the Big Toy, but, for now, the re-introduction of other play equipment (i.e. balls) will be discussed mid- to late-September.

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LEARNING GROUPS​ NO LONGER REQUIRED

Learning Groups and strict physical distancing are no longer required.  Our school will  continue to create space between people, including:

  1. Managing flow of people in common areas, including hallways and around lockers, to minimize crowding and allow people to pass through easily

  2. Preventing crowding at pick-up and drop-off times (i.e. staggered drop-off and pick-up)

  3. Reminding students and staff about respecting others’ personal space, using visual supports, signage, prompts and video modelling as necessary

  4. Using available space to spread people out where possible

  5. Taking students outside as much as possible

USE OF MASKS
 

Under the updated health and safety guidelines, masks are required for all staff and all students in middle and secondary school while indoors

  • All staff, adult volunteers and visitors, and all Kindergarten to 12 students should wear a non-medical mask or face covering (a “mask”) at all times while indoors at school, subject to the exceptions noted below.

    • Exceptions
      The recommendations above should not apply as follows:
      • To a person who is unable to wear a mask because they do not tolerate it (for health or behavioural reasons);
      • To a person 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. actively playing a wind instrument, 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 (including but not limited to a hearing impairment), where visual cues, facial expressions and/or lip reading/movements are important.

  • As of Oct. 4, 2021, Kindergarten to Grade 3 students are also required to wear a mask at school and on buses, as per above.

  • If an activity cannot be implemented in line with this guidance, it should be adapted or another activity should be selected.

  • Schools continue to be encouraged to support student mask use through positive and inclusive approaches, and not punitive or enforcement activities that exclude students from fully participating in school or that could result in stigma.

  • No student should be prevented from attending or fully participating in school if they are not wearing a mask.

  • Staff are required to wear a mask at all times while indoors

  • Everyone must treat each other and those wearing masks with respect

  • Even when wearing a mask, staff and students will still be required to maintain physical distance from people 

  • Exceptions will be made for students and staff who cannot wear masks for medical reasons

If a student or staff member develops symptoms while at school, they must wear a mask while they are preparing to go home. Review COVID-19 mask use information from the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC).

PHYSICAL DISTANCING​
 

  • Reducing the number of close, in-person interactions helps prevent the spread of COVID-19.

  • Keep a safe distance from others. Though strict physical distancing is no longer required., we will  continue to create space between people

  • Physical Distancing Strategies that are in place at our school:

    • barriers have been purchased for spaces  where a safe distance from others is a challenge

    • students and staff will be spread out to different areas when possible

    • Staggered recess, lunch recess, and transition times (see above)

    • incorporation of individual activities

    • Frequent reminders to students to keep their hands to themselves and to avoid physical contact

HAND HYGIENE

  • Rigorous hand washing is the most effective way to reduce the spread of illness.

  • Wash hands with plain soap and water for at least 20 seconds

  • You don't need antibacterial soap for COVID-19

  • The temperature of the water doesn't matter, though most find warm water to be the most comfortable

  • Regular opportunities for staff and students to practice hand hygiene are in place

  • There is a sink in every  classroom

  • Stand-alone, automatic hand-sanitizing stations have been purchased  for every classroom, every entrance, hallways, learning commons, and in the gym

  • Review information on hand hygiene in a school setting from the BCCDC.

UNIFORM REQUIREMENTS

  • Students will wear school uniform in Stage 2 as per the school uniform expectations.
  • EXCEPTION:  On the days students have Physical and Health Education classes, to avoid having students change in and out of their uniforms and hence minimize physical contact, students are asked to arrive at school in their gym uniform and wear it the entire day.   They must wear sweatpants and sweat tops (school-issued or school spirit wear) on colder days.

OTHER IMPORTANT FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
 

  1. WHAT HAPPENS IF A STUDENT OR STAFF DEVELOPS SYMPTOMS OF ILLNESS AT SCHOOL? ANSWER
     
  2. WHAT HAPPENS IF THERE IS A CONFIRMED CASE OF COVID-19 IN THE SCHOOL?  ANSWER
     
  3. CAN A STUDENT OR STAFF MEMBER COME TO SCHOOL IF HE/SHE HAS SEASONAL ALLERGIES OR ​COVID-19-LIKE SYMPTOMS? ANSWER
     
  4. AS A PARENT, WHAT SHOULD I DO AS A DAILY HEALTH CHECK FOR MY CHILD?  WHEN SHOULD MY CHILD STAY HOME?  ANSWER
  5. AS AN EMPLOYEE, WHAT CAN I USE AS A DAILY HEALTH CHECK AND WHEN SHOULD I STAY HOME?  ANSWER
     
  6. IS THERE AN UPDATED COVID-19 FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS LINK FROM THE MINISTRY?  ANSWER
     
  7.  Added  2021-10-02:   What is the most recent PHO mandate on masks in the K-12 setting?  ANSWER
     
  8. Added 2021-10-02:  How are COVID-19 Notificatons and Exposures communicated by Health Authorities?  ANSWER

*We will add to this list of questions as they come up

 

PARENT RESOURCES

Supporting Materials for School Communities:

Inquiries:

  • For more information visit the Ministry’s COVID-19 Return to School website.