Communicable Disease Prevention

November 29, 2022

Vancouver Coastal Health has been observing an increase in questions around what to do as respiratory viruses circulate. Helpful resources for the school community include:

  1. VCH’s Sneezes and Diseases, which includes sections on specific conditions and diseases as well as schools
  2. BCCDC’s Schools page which includes the K-12 Public Health Guidance and prevention advice for administrators
  3. When to keep your child home from school handout

November 18, 2022
The Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, recently gave an update on the respiratory illness season. Key messages included:
• Vaccination remains the best defense against COVID-19 and influenza.
• People are encouraged to practice health awareness, including regularly checking themselves and their children for symptoms of respiratory illness, and to stay home when sick.
• Everyone should be washing hands regularly and practising respiratory etiquette
• Masks should be worn if a person has mild symptoms of illness.

Here are our health and safety protocols, in compliance with Ministry of Education and Child Care requirements: 2022-23 Communicable Disease Prevention Plan (22.08.29)

As we enter the 2022-23 school year, we will continue to heed the advice of public health experts. Our shared experience highlights the need to continue to be flexible and responsive to changes in transmission trends, as well as provides the opportunity to incorporate our learnings into approaches for sustainable communicable disease prevention moving forward.

COVID-19 will continue to circulate in our population, and as long as cases occur within our communities, K-12 students and staff members will continue to be affected. However, BCCDC notes that transmission within K-12 school settings accounts for a minority of COVID-19 cases, even amongst students and staff. Moreover, with high immunization rates in BC and treatment options for people at higher risk of serious disease, public health advises that COVID-19 can be managed as are other serious respiratory infections in the community. BCCDC is the primary source of information about COVID-19 in BC.

Please do NOT come to school if you are sick. It is important that everyone do a daily health check. The When to Get Tested for COVID-19 resource or the B.C. Self-Assessment Tool provides more information on whether you should get a test for COVID-19. Those unsure or concerned about their symptoms should connect with a health care provider or call 811.

Mental Health and Wellness Resources

With so much happening, it’s normal to feel worried and overwhelmed. It’s important to look after mental health and well-being during COVID-19. Links to mental well-being resources for children, youth, parents and caregivers are available on the BCCDC Mental Well-being Page. There are many resources available, and we encourage you to explore to find the one that works best for you.  Mental health and wellness are always important, and even more so in these challenging times.  Please reach out if you need support.