COVID Safety and School Startup Plan
John Knox Christian School
COVID Safety and School Startup Plan
This safety plan reflects the current MOH requirements for Covid school safety as of April 26, 2021.
Our Elementary and Secondary School Campuses will provide a full-time, on-site education program for all students in grades K-12. Our preparations for reopening correlate with the directives of the Provincial Health Officer and the Stage 2 guidelines issued by the Ministry of Education. As new COVID-19 research directives evolve, JKCS is prepared to appropriately adapt protocols, procedures, and educational delivery platforms.
The efforts we are investing in our operational school procedures are informed by science, inspired by our faith, and based in the deep love we have for our students and their families. The practical challenges required the reshaping of specific teaching practises; however, delighting in the activities of teaching and learning will remain central to the priorities of your child’s Christian school experience at JKCS.
The Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health, in collaboration with the Provincial Health Officer and the BC Centre for Disease Control, collaborated to produce the Provincial COVID-19 Health and Safety Guidelines for K-12 education in British Columbia. This latest document was released on August 17, 2020 and the recommendations have informed the Safety and Planning Protocols at JKCS.
“School supports students in developing their potential and acquiring the knowledge, skills and abilities they need for lifelong success. In-person learning, as a part of a student’s education, provides the opportunity for peer engagement, which supports social and emotional development as well as overall wellness. It also provides many students access to programs and services that are integral to their overall health and well-being. Based on the current epidemiology of COVID-19 in B.C., the latest research, guidance from the Provincial Health Officer, and evidence that children are at a lower risk of developing and transmitting COVID-19, K-12 students can return to full-time, in-class instruction in accordance with current public health guidelines for schools.”
Students and staff at JKCS returned to school on September 8, 2020, within the Stage 2 directives of the Ministry of Education’s Restart Plan. The expectations of Stage 2 are included in the chart below and require that schools in BC offer full-time, in-class instruction for all students in grades K-12.
With regard to Learning Group sizes, JKCS is able to fully meet and often exceed the prescribed Stage 2 safety regulations. At the Elementary campus, our comprehensive planning outcomes are fundamentally supported by manageable class sizes. At the Secondary campus, robust and viable safety outcomes are supported by an abundance of classroom spaces relative to our current enrollment numbers.
Reducing the number of in-person, close interactions helps prevent the transmission of COVID-19 and is the foundational rationale for the establishment of Grade-based Learning Groups. At JKCS, we are able to develop learning group cohorts that are smaller in number than the limit prescribed by the Ministry of Education (MOE).
The MOE Learning Group limit for students in British Columbia is 60 in elementary school, 60 in middle school, and 120 in secondary school..
At JKCS, learning groups will be 25 students plus their classroom teacher(s) and educational assistants in grades K-6. Learning group numbers in grades 7-9 will be 50 or fewer, and in grades 10-12, considerably fewer than the MOE limit of 120.
- Specific grade-group entrances and exits to the building will be posted at both campuses.
- Signage and staff will direct the flow of people during transitions within the building.
- The health of students and staff will be closely monitored. Posters reminding staff and students of the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 infection will be clearly present at building and classroom entrances.
- Hand sanitizer will be available in all classrooms, common areas, and entrances.
- Rigorous surface and touch point sanitization and sterilization procedures will be in place when students from different learning groups are using common spaces, and before and after all lunches.
Drop - Off and Pick-Up Routines
Staggered start times will be implemented for all students at the elementary school. The Drop-off and pick-up schedules will be organized alphabetically according to the last name of each family group. This system enables all parents to drop off and then pick up all of their children at a scheduled time.
Students must not be dropped off before their families’ assigned drop off time and must be picked up promptly at assigned pickup times.
Students are not required to wear masks during drop off and pick up times as they are outdoors and largely within their cohorts. Staff and parents are required to wear masks during these times.
Secondary School Campus
There will not be staggered drop-off and pick-up times. However, there are grade-specific outdoor zones assigned to students. They will wait in these outdoor zones to be escorted into their classrooms by a supervising teacher. All students are required to wear a mask while they are waiting within this zone to be let into the school.
Break Times and Lunches
Outdoor break times will be staggered so that students can maintain social distance from other learning group members. Lunches will only be eaten with assigned learning groups, in their classroom, or outdoors when weather permits.
When eating indoors, students will be unmasked (to facilitate lunch, snacks, and drinking water) only in the presence of their core learning group. To facilitate this protocol, students will eat in their homerooms, or in isolated grade groups. All such times will be supervised.
Students in common areas will be monitored by staff. Coloured wristbands will be used to aid in identifying and maintaining established learning group interactions. Students will not be permitted to leave campus during their lunch or break times.
Personal Protective Equipment
In grades 5-12, students and staff will wear a non-medical mask at all times throughout the day except during lunch breaks, snack/water breaks, and when physical distancing can be maintained during outside activities. Protective face shields may be used as an additional measure when physical distancing cannot be maintained.
Elementary drop off and pick up: Outdoor mask required by staff and parents. Masks are not mandatory for students outdoors during drop off and pick up as they are in their cohort groups and are outdoors.
Secondary drop off and pick up: Students, staff and parents will wear protective face masks.
JKCS will meet or exceed the Ministry of Education requirements for environmental safety measures. The secondary school has a state-of-the-art air circulation system. Both elementary and secondary sites include HVAC units for filtration and a fan for circulation in each classroom. Additionally, HEPA filtration systems will be used strategically at both campuses, prioritizing classrooms containing students without masks in grades K-4, and in other strategic locations at both campuses.
Gatherings of staff and students will occur within their learning groups and will not exceed the maximum learning group sizes.
Physical distancing will be maintained if two learning groups gather, and staff and students will wear protective masks.
Staff meetings will be held in areas where physical distancing can be maintained. Staff will wear masks during indoor staff meetings.
Concerts, inter-school games, tournaments, and festivals will not occur at this time. Plans related to these kinds of events will develop under the directives of the MOE and Ministry of Health.
Students at the secondary campus will start the school year without the use of lockers. In grades 7-9, provisions will be made for storage of personal items within the learning group classrooms. Senior secondary school students will use backpacks to store and transport books and personal belongings.
Students will not be permitted to share food or beverages, including birthday treats, bake sale items, etc.
The schools will be cleaned and disinfected at intervals throughout the day and when student-groups transition between designated learning spaces. Frequently touched areas such as door knobs, handrails, desks, chairs, and IT room keyboards will be rotationally cleaned.
Washrooms will be thoroughly cleaned more than once a day.
Students and teachers will support custodial staff in the sanitization efforts of frequently touched surfaces, with training to ensure proper procedures are followed.
Students will frequently sanitize their hands, before eating, and after using multi-touch resources and materials.
Fabric-covered furniture has been removed from classrooms because it is not easily cleaned and disinfected.
Parents must ensure that they only send their children to school if they are healthy and free from symptoms of illness. Parents and caregivers must assess their child daily for symptoms of COVID-19, prior to making the decision about whether their child should be attending school.
All staff members are required to do a daily health assessment and to report the result of this assessment to the admin assistants in each campus office.
Students and staff with the following symptoms must stay home:
- Cough or worsening of chronic cough
- Shortness of breath
- Loss of sense of smell or taste
- Nausea and vomiting
The following symptoms have been removed from the daily checklist unless they are combined with other symptoms:
- Sore throat
- Runny/stuffy nose
- Loss of appetite
- Muscle aches
- Conjunctivitis (pink eye)
- Dizziness, confusion
- Abdominal pain
- Skin rash or discolouration of fingers and toes
The ministry says it's still important to seek medical assessment if children are exhibiting a combination of symptoms.
Students and staff who become sick during the day will be required to return home. Parents must be available throughout the day to pick up sick children.
Students and staff will wash or sanitize hands upon entry to the school, new rooms, before and after eating, and bathroom breaks.
Self-Isolation and Symptoms
If a student or staff member has a confirmed case of COVID-19 they must stay home and self isolate at the direction of Fraser Health. Fraser Health will inform the school when a student or staff member needs to self isolate.
For a list of COVID-19 symptoms, please visit the BC Centre for Disease Control website.
Any student, staff member or other person within the school who has COVID-19 symptoms should seek assessment by a health-care provider and self-isolate while they await test results.
Anyone who is unsure of whether they should self-isolate or be tested for COVID-19 should be directed to:
- Use the BC COVID-19 Self Assessment Tool
- Contact 8-1-1 or the local public health unit to seek further input; or
- Contact a family physician or nurse practitioner to be assessed for COVID-19 and other infectious respiratory diseases.
Asymptomatic students and staff may still attend school if a member of their household has cold, influenza, or COVID-19 like symptoms, if the symptomatic member of the household is seeking assessment by a healthcare provider.
Students and staff who experience seasonal allergies or other COVID-19-like symptoms which are related to an existing condition can continue to attend school when they are experiencing these symptoms as normal to their condition. If they experience any changes in symptoms, they should be assessed by a healthcare provider.
If a student of staff is confirmed to have COVID-19, public health officials will do an investigation to confirm if any staff or students have been in close contact with that person and need to self-isolate. The Public Health Authority will inform the school and lead-principal if there are close contacts of a confirmed case within a learning group or school, and if other staff and students’ families should be notified and required to self-isolate.
Bus service will continue uninterrupted with significant safety measures in place. These include, but are not limited to, the required use of face masks at all times, a 50% reduction of students on the bus, and limits of one student per seat with the exception of family members.
Bus drivers will wear masks and will clean and disinfection the seats and handrails between each run.
On field trips, where one student per seat is not possible, students riding the bus will wear face masks and will be seated with their learning group.
Students with Immune Suppression
The Provincial Health Officer and the BC Center for Disease Control have stated that most children who are immunocompromised can return to in-class instruction when safety measures are in place.
Protective self-isolation is only recommended for children who are severely immunocompromised, as determined by a healthcare professional. Parents seeking an alternative to in-class instruction will be required to obtain a doctor’s note indicating the need for accommodations due to health-related risks. Students with severe immune health challenges will be offered home support on a case by case basis that will enable them to engage at a minimum required level with the Ministry of Education’s developed curriculum.
Staff are engaged in detailed training and planning for implementing and sustaining on-site COVID-19 safe protocols, as detailed elsewhere in this document.
Implemented safety measures will be updated and revised regularly based on the most current guidance from the BC Ministry of Health.
In a COVID-19 context, safety protocols are life skills. Despite the addition of safety protocols, JKCS students will engage in a full range of learning activities that meet or exceed the Ministry of Education required curriculum standards.
If A Student or Staff Member Develops Symptoms at School
Table from the BC Centre for Disease Control: COVID-19 Public Health Guidelines for K-12 School Setting