Good morning, families.
B.C. Provincial Health Officer, Dr Bonnie Henry, amidst other announcements, confirmed that there is an active case of COVID-19 on the Island. I know that this news has sent ripples through the community so I want to communicate the protocols that are in place at Gaglardi Academy.
1. School Closure - Decisions about our school closures will be made first on the advice of our local medical community, VIHA, and the Ministry of Education. Secondly, should there be a confirmed case within our school community before Spring Break, then parents will be immediately notified and Gaglardi will close early for Spring Break and make an informed decision when to re-open in April. As of this morning, both local and Island Health offices, and the Ministry of Education is advising NO school closures at this time. We are very mindful of the health and safety of your children, and we are prepared to close should their health be at risk.
2. School Work: Since we cannot predict the future, when the school closes for either Spring Break or sooner, the teachers will ensure that children in K-12 will have enough "home-work" to cover two-weeks of school should we need to close for an extended period of time. After that time, we will have other processes in place to continue with lessons remotely. The home-work priority for K-7 will be reading, math, and writing assignments. Teachers in grades 8-12 will be more specific and focussed in the subject areas within Semester Two.
3. While the school remains open
a) All health and safety school protocols are in place. The janitors are sanitizing daily all surfaces like doorknobs, desks, chairs, handrails - basically, everything that comes in regular contact with our hands. Also, we have been re-teaching, K-12, proper handwashing, using tissues or the crooks of our arms for sneezing and coughing. I am informed by our medical community that coming into contact with the "droplets" of an infected person will transmit the virus. Therefore, we are also asking teachers to teach "respectful distance" during group work, eating meals etc.
b) If your child has any underlying medical issue that could put them at extreme risk of complications from an infection of COVID-19, then I would advise you to begin your Spring Break now. Simply call the school office, and we will make every effort to ensure that home-work is available for you to take home.
4. Feeling Sick? Please stay home - there are still many other viruses that are NOT Covid-19 going around the Comox Valley. Regardless of the type of virus, if your child is sick, please do not send them to school. This will help allay fears and reduce infection rates among other children.
If you suspect you have COVID-19, call 811 immediately. As of this morning, it takes about 1 hour to get through to talk with someone about your symptoms. I am assured by local medical practitioners that children have a very low probability of infection or showing any symptoms of the virus if they were to become infected. Also, doctors in the Valley who are on the front line of this pandemic advise that the Comox Valley is likely to experience a milder strain of the virus.
5. Returning from Spring Break - Currently, the travel advice from Dr Bonnie Henry is to cancel travel plans outside of Canada unless the travel is absolutely essential. If, however, you do plan to take an international trip outside of Canada, you will be required to self-isolate for a minimum of 14 days from the date of your return before reentering our school community. We don't have a system to monitor this, but we are asking for your help, consideration and respect for all concerned.
6. Known School Cancellations -
- Gaglardi's Got Talent - March 17The PAC Raffle will be drawn by PAC during the day on the 17th of March with an email home announcing the winners.
- PAC Spring Barbeque - March 20th after school
- Missions Trip to Tanzania - Cancelled although the Grade 12 students will continue to fundraise appropriate events. The monies will be used to either reimburse the out-of-pocket Tanzania expenses or give next years class a good start! Please keep these students in your prayers. They are very disappointed. We are looking for a local (within BC) missions opportunity for them so if you know of anything, please let me know.
Please be encouraged, our Heavenly Father is still on His throne and He is not surprised by our circumstances. I am meditating on 2 Timothy 1:7 (Amplified Version) "For God did not give us a spirit of timidity or cowardice or fear, but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of sound judgment and personal discipline [abilities that result in a calm, well-balanced mind and self-control]." Trust in His provision for you and your children.
I continue to pray for you all, Bernadette Pitcher
7. Useful Links
- Information about COVID-19, including advice and guidance to schools, is regularly updated on the BC Centre for Disease Control site: http://www.bccdc.ca/Health-Info-Site/Documents/COVID19_schools_childcare_guidelines.pdf Please routinely check this site and its resources.
- All joint statements from Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Minister of Health Adrian Dix are posted here: https://news.gov.bc.ca/ministries/health
- The Provincial Pandemic Coordination plan: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/health/about-bc-s-health-care-system/office-of-the-provincial-health-officer/reports-publications/pandemic-provincial-coordination-plan.pdf
- KIDS and COVID-19 QA: http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/coronavirus-(novel)#For--schools--and--childcare
- CBC Kids along with the PHO produced a kid-centric Q and A video about COVID-19: https://www.cbc.ca/kidsnews/post/watch-coronavirus-facts-versus-fiction
- Ministry of Health response plans - https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/health/about-bc-s-health-care-system/office-of-the-provincial-health-officer/current-health-topics/pandemic-influenza
- Novel Coronavirus Q&A from HealthLinkBC: https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/health-feature/coronavirus
- BC Centre for Disease Control: http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/coronavirus-(novel)
- Government of Canada - Novel Coronavirus in China Travel Health Notice: https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/health-safety/travel-health-notices/210