BC CDC releases back-to-school FAQ ahead of return to classrooms

Sep 5 2020, 11:12 am

The British Columbia Centre for Disease Control has released a new set of frequently asked questions to its website updating parents and students about what to expect if they choose to head back to the classroom next week.

With the school year resuming two days later than anticipated, on September 10, the questions give insights into how the BC CDC and school boards will respond to a variety of  COVID-19 related queries.

According to the agency, if a student is believed to be exposed to the coronavirus, staff and families of students will be contacted by public health and advised on further actions to take.

Positive cases will be required to self-isolate a minimum of 10 days after symptoms appear, as public health begins the process of contact tracing. This includes anyone in close proximity to the infected individual for around 15 minutes.

“Public health will look at a number of different things such as where the contact happened and how long other staff and students were exposed,” BC CDC said. “This will help to assess the likelihood of others getting sick.”

Those deemed as “close contacts” by public health officials will also be asked to self-isolate and monitor for COVID-19 symptoms. Though the agency added that most members of a learning group will likely not be deemed close contacts, and will only need to monitor for symptoms, not self-isolate.

“Staff and students that were not exposed may or may not be notified if there is a positive COVID-19 case in a school,” the BC CDC said. “This is at the discretion of the school medical health officer.”

It also indicated that there is not a plan to do routine testing in schools at this time. Though coronavirus testing is recommended for anyone with cold, flu or “COVID-19-like symptoms, even mild ones.”

While anyone who is sick is asked to stay home — echoing Dr. Bonnie Henry’s statements earlier in the week — BC CDC also pointed out that most people who contract an illness likely do not have the coronavirus, but should seek testing if symptoms of the disease appear.

Students who become ill while at school will be separated from their learning group and provided a non-medical mask or tissues to cover their coughs or sneezes. Parents and caregivers will be notified and asked to pick the child up as soon as possible.

In the event of a staff illness, the employee will also be separated and asked to go home as soon as possible.

In both cases, the spaces they were in will be cleaned and disinfected.

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