SD 20 speaks to Coronavirus concerns
Coronavirus, or COVID19, continues to be of public concern. With Washington State being our neighbor and indicating that the virus has been detected there and is impacting a growing number of people, it is understood that anxiety here in the West Kootenays is growing. In terms of the School District and the virus, please note the following:
• There are no known cases of the virus in our area;
• To date, there have been isolated cases in Canada, with primarily mild illness but no widespread human-to-human transmission;
• The Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health have issued informational letters to families twice. These letters provide accurate information about the virus, as well as where you can get more information;
• School Districts do not have the ability to test and/or quarantine children, nor is it a School District’s mandate to do so;
• Families planning to travel at spring break are asked to make informed decisions about where they will travel to. Travel advisories are issued by the Canadian Government, change frequently, and should be checked regularly. Information regarding travel health notices, travel advisories, and other health related concerns for travelers can be found at: https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/health-safety/travel-healthnotices AND https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html
• People who travel abroad to areas of concern can expect to be screened upon re-entry to Canada, a process managed by the Public Health Agency of Canada.
• To date, BC alone has tested more than 1000 individuals, currently more than tested to date in the US.
• At present the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Provincial Health Officer of British Columbia do not recommend school closure strategies for the prevention of COVID-19.
• The promotion of good hand hygiene and coughing etiquette at home, at school, and when in the community, is important. At school, hand washing with soap and water is encouraged, as well as covering one’s mouth and nose with a bent elbow or tissue when coughing or sneezing.
• The use of masks in school/childcare settings is not recommended.
• Custodial staff at our schools continue to maintain cleaning and disinfecting routines.
• The symptoms of the virus are similar to other respiratory illnesses, including the flu and common cold. They include coughing, sneezing, fever, sore throat and difficulty breathing.
• The coronavirus, like influenza, is most dangerous to people who are older than 65, or to those who have chronic illnesses or a weak immune system. For more detailed information regarding coronavirus, please go to the BC Centre for Disease Control: http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/coronavirus-(novel)
Due to limited staff resources at the School Board Office, we are unable to return phone calls and/or email regarding coronavirus. Updated information to families will be sent regularly. Thank you for your understanding.