COVID-19 March Break Update

COVID-19 March Break Update
Posted on 03/12/2020
BGCDSB Board Logo

Dear Bruce-Grey Catholic School Community,

We wanted to send an update regarding the Novel Coronavirus, commonly referred to as COVID-19 in advance of the Spring Break. With the heightened news coverage and changing situation worldwide, some children and their families may be feeling anxious. Fortunately, there are currently no confirmed cases in Bruce and Grey Counties, making the immediate health risk low to our community. As a Catholic School Board, we are responding and are prepared. We are in regular contact with Grey Bruce Health Unit and with the Ministry of Education and the Ontario Ministry of Health.


What’s Happening in Our Schools?

Touchpoint cleaning with a focus on common areas such as handrails and doors continues to be our focus in our buildings, as advised by public health. During flu season, our custodial staff routinely disinfect classrooms and take extra care to sanitize common areas such as doorknobs, handrails, desks and countertops. 


Education

We take our local direction from Grey Bruce Health Unit and we are in correspondence with them regarding the Novel Coronavirus – COVID-19. Please check the Health Unit website and social media feeds for updated information. Your children’s educators are reminding students of the importance of washing their hands for an appropriate length of time to limit the spread of germs. We have posted posters throughout our schools and buildings to remind all of the importance of proper hand washing. 


Difficult Decisions Regarding High School International Trips

We have made the difficult but precautionary decision to cancel international trips for our Secondary School students. We considered several factors in making this difficult decision, including Health Canada advisories. We also took into account the real potential that staff and students could be quarantined, either overseas or upon their return to Canada. Also, we considered how these trips might impact the health and safety of our greater school community upon the students’ arrival from overseas trips.


Board-Parent Communication

We will continue to monitor the Novel Coronavirus situation in collaboration with our health partners and will continue to follow their direction. We will provide updates through our website, social media channels and directly with families through School Messenger if there are new developments.


Travel Advisories

There are several active travel health notices for COVID-19. Each country or area may have different levels of risk. These risk levels may change as the COVID-19 event evolves internationally. All travellers should be aware that there are health risks when you travel. It is important to check your destination before you leave to know the risks and to be prepared. The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) is recommending that Canadians avoid all cruise ship travel due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.


When You Return From Travel

PHAC says that the risk to Canadian travellers abroad is generally low but will vary depending on the destination. PHAC is closely monitoring the spread of COVID-19 in other countries. If you have travelled outside Canada, PHAC asks that you monitor your health for fever, cough and difficulty breathing for 14 days after you arrive in Canada. If you become sick upon your return, call Grey Bruce Public Health for further instructions. If you have travelled outside Canada, you can reduce the risk of spreading infection by following prevention measures when returning to Canada.


Staff And Students Who Have Travelled Outside Of Canada:

During the 14 days after your return, monitor your health for fever, cough and difficulty breathing. If you develop symptoms of COVID-19, isolate yourself at home as quickly as possible and contact your health care provider. If you are tested for COVID-19, please contact Grey Bruce Public Health. Describe your symptoms and document your travel history. Your health care professional or health authority will provide instructions for you to follow, including appropriate arrangements for your medical assessment.


All travellers have a responsibility to check official travel advisories and take proper safety precautions when travelling. Travellers also have a responsibility to report to Public Health if they have returned from travel and develop symptoms of COVID-19.


IN AN EMERGENCY: Individuals with severe respiratory symptoms should call 911 and advise the operator of your recent travel.


Reporting Absences

If a child will be absent from school, parents must follow our current practice and call the child’s school to report any absences as well as the reason for the absence.

Staff are to follow the board’s regular process for reporting absences.


What Can We All Do?

We encourage everyone to practice good health habits, including:

  • Get a yearly influenza vaccination, available from clinics and pharmacies (for flu only);

  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water or use an alcohol-based sanitizer;

  • Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze;

  • Avoid touching your face, eyes or mouth;

  • If you don’t have a tissue, sneeze or cough into your sleeve or arm; and

  • If you or your family members are ill, stay home.


We recognize that there are communities and families who have been impacted more directly by this virus. We continue to keep the health and safety of all of our students and staff in all of our decisions and actions.