Communicable Disease Plan
GISS Communicable Disease Prevention Plan
Updated September 2, 2022
The following Communicable Disease Prevention Plan is based on guidance from the Provincial Health Office and the Ministry of Education and Child Care. The focus of the plan is to reduce the risk of transmission of any communicable disease (including Covid-19). Please note that the Provincial Health Officer or local Medical Health Officers may issue temporary provincial, regional or local recommendations or orders of additional prevention measures during times of increased communicable disease risk.
Further details of these guidelines can be found here:
- BCCDC Public Health Communicable Disease Guidance for K-12 Schools
- Provincial Communicable Disease Guidelines for K-12 School Settings (effective August 25, 2022)
All students, parents/guardians, staff, contracted services and community members accessing our site are expected to follow this plan.
Students, families and staff should understand that while this plan is designed to maximize learning, there are guidelines and requirements set out by the Provincial Health Officer, WorkSafe BC, and the BC Centre for Disease Control.
This GISS Communicable Disease Prevention Plan strives to ensure that all students, staff and visitors feel safe and if, after reading through and considering all the aspects of our plan, you still have health concerns or other obstacles that might impact school attendance, please contact Principal Nicholas Garcia to discuss possible options.
Health and Safety Measures:
Stay Home When Sick
Any student, staff member or any other adult should stay home when they are sick.
It is important that everyone does a daily Health Check prior to arriving at school. A daily health check means that a person checks daily to ensure they (or their child) are not experiencing any symptoms of illness (including but not limited to COVID-19 symptoms) before they come to school. Daily health checks can be supported by the BCCDC resource on When to Get Tested for COVID-19 or the Ministry of Education's K-12 Health Check. Nobody should come to school if they are sick or otherwise directed to self-isolate by Public Health.
Students or staff may attend school if a member of their household develops new symptoms of illness, provided that that person does not have symptoms themselves. If the household member tests positive for a communicable disease, they will follow the proper H&S guidelines
Symptoms Develop at School
If a staff member, student, or other person develops symptoms of illness at school:
- They will be moved to a space that is comfortable, safe and supervised (if necessary). This may be a separate location like the medical room, or outside if weather allows)
- The student's caregiver will be contacted to pick them up or arrange for them to get home in a safe way as soon as possible (if applicable).
- If students do go home, they will be encouraged to use one of the methods above to check their health or call 8-1-1 to seek advice from a medical provider.
Returning to School After Illness
When a person can return to school after being sick depends on the type of illness.
- If they had COVID-19 or another communicable disease, they can return to school according to the guidance provided to them by public health.
- For other illnesses, generally, the person can return when their symptoms have improved, and they feel well enough to participate in activities at school.
- If a person is unsure if they are well enough to attend school, they should phone 8-1-1 or their health care provider for guidance.
Schools are encouraged to share information and opportunities to get vaccinated as vaccinations are important tools to protect against many serious communicable diseases.
Rigorous hand washing is an effective way to reduce the spread of illness. Follow these guidelines to ensure effective hand washing at school:
- Practice diligent hand washing by washing hands with plain soap for 20 seconds and water (water temperature does not change the effectiveness of washing hands with plain soap and water)
- Use all hand washing and sanitizing stations provided: at entrances and exits, in classrooms and in hallways
- Avoid touching your face (eyes, mouth, nose and ears) with unwashed hands
- Students may bring and use their own hand sanitizer
Students should practice Hand Hygiene:
- When they arrive at school
- Before and after any breaks (e.g. lunch)
- Before and after eating and drinking
- Before and after using shared educational equipment (e.g. laptops, PE equipment)
- After using the toilet
- After sneezing or coughing into hands
- Whenever their hands are visibly dirty
Students and staff will:
- Cough and sneeze into their elbow, sleeve, or a tissue
- Throw away used tissues and immediately perform hand hygiene
Wearing a Mask
The decision to wear a mask or face covering is a personal choice for staff, students and visitors. A person’s choice will be supported and respected. Masks will be available to those who wish to wear one but forgot theirs at home
Riding a School Bus or Water Taxi
- School buses and Water Taxis will be cleaned and disinfected in adherence with BCCDC guidelines
- Windows will be opened when weather allows
- No courtesy riders on buses. You may not travel on a bus or water taxi that you are not assigned to at anytime
Cleaning the School
The school will be cleaned and disinfected in accordance with the BCCDC’s Cleaning and Disinfectants for Public Settings document.
- General cleaning and disinfecting of the premises will take place at least once every 24 hours
- Cleaning and disinfecting of frequently touched surfaces will occur at least once every 24 hours. This included doorknobs, light switches, toilet handles, tables, desks, and chairs used by multiple students, keyboards, and PE equipment
- Surfaces that are visibly dirty will be cleaned immediately
- Any item that has been in contact with bodily fluids wil be cleaned asap and between uses by different people
- Garbage containers will be emptied daily
GISS Site Specific Protocols:
- Hand sanitizing stations are present at each entry way and students and staff are encouraged to practice hand hygiene when they enter or exit buildings
- Classroom doors and windows will be open as much as possible to increase air flow
- Classroom arrangements and learning environments will be organized to best meet learner needs and preferred educational approaches.
- Strategies will be used to create space between people.
- Each classroom has access to one of the following: sanitizing station or sink/soap area
- For computer classes/labs, protocols with keyboards will be reviewed (used keyboards remain on desk; unused keyboards remain on top of computer tower)
- Students are encouraged to bring their own supplies and materials to use in class
- Hand washing with soap and water (20 sec.) before leaving the washroom
- Students and staff are to use hallways in ways that reduce crowding.
- People are to stay to the right when travelling hallways
- If shared equipment/items are used, they will be cleaned and disinfected at least once per 24 hours and when visibly dirty, this includes electronic devices
- Always practice hand hygiene before and after handling shared objects
SD64 will be adjusting the heat, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems in the district to help reduce the possible transmission of the COVID-19 virus in the schools. The school ventilation system was upgraded to MERV 13 filters last year to enhance school ventilation.
During excessive heat events or times of poor air quality we will close all doors and windows and turn on the air conditioning system. In times of very poor air quality, we may keep students & staff indoors.
- The Cafeteria will implement the WorkSafe BC Restaurants Protocols as appropriate and as relevant to the school setting
- Separate lines are organized for the hot and cold lines to reduce crowding
Visitor Access/Community Use
- Visitors will sign in/out at the office as usual.
- The school will not be asking for contact tracing information
School Gatherings and Events
There are currently no limits for gathering sizes (100% Capacity.)
The school will make every effort to avoid venue/locations that place additional requirements that could prevent a person from being able to participate.
The school will make every effort to avoid venue/locations that place additional requirements that could prevent a person from being able to participate, particularly students. If this is not possible (and the field trip/travel cannot occur otherwise) schools can require participants to confirm they are able to meet additional requirements (e.g., are able to provide proof of vaccination)
Students with Disabilities/Diverse Abilities
This plan will be implemented in a way that promotes inclusion of students with disabilities/diverse abilities. Supports and services typically provided to students with disabilities/diverse abilities or medical complexity will continue. Students who require supports will be identified early, be provided with targeted intervention, receive ongoing supports and be assessed regularly for progress.