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Parents and Students

Learn about the prevention measures in schools this year.
Last updated: April 25, 2022

Students, staff, and others can take preventive actions to reduce the risk of COVID-19 and other communicable diseases in K-12 school settings. Students can attend school safely when we work together to follow public health recommendations. 

  • Everyone eligible gets all recommended doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Schools implement and update communicable disease plans.
  • Students, staff and parents/caregivers follow school communicable disease plans. 
  • Regions provide additional guidance when there is greater risk in a community.

Together, these steps can help prevent the spread of communicable diseases like COVID-19 in schools. We all have a role to play in making our schools safer.

The current public health guidance for schools for the 2021/22 school year:

Preventing COVID-19 in Schools
Attending school in person is important for a student’s education and well-being. Every school in B.C. has a communicable disease plan that details what they must do to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Plans include multiple layers of protection.

What schools are doing

  • Ensuring ventilation systems are working effectively
  • Providing frequent opportunities for hand cleaning
  • Supporting the use of face-coverings or non-medical masks based on personal choice

Plans also support staff, students and their families to practice personal prevention measures that help keep schools low-risk like daily health checks, staying home when sick, and respecting each other's personal space.

Public health measures, such as vaccination, also help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in schools.

Frequently Asked Questions

Every school in B.C. must have a communicable disease plan to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

Plans include multiple layers of protection, such as: 
  • Ensuring ventilation systems are working effectively
  • Providing frequent opportunities for hand cleaning
  • Supporting use of face-coverings or non-medical masks based on personal choice

 
The public health guidance outlines the prevention measures that should always be in place across all B.C. public and independent schools this school year. However, there might be times when additional measures are needed in certain communities because there is increased local risk.
 
Regional medical health officers will issue recommendations for individual schools, a grouping of schools, a school district or for all schools within a health authority during times of elevated risk. This will most likely be during times of increased community spread of COVID-19 and within communities with low vaccination uptake.
 
Omicron is the most commonly detected variant of concern in B.C. It spreads more easily than other variants and we don’t yet know whether it causes less severe disease. So far it doesn’t appear to result in more severe illness in children. COVID-19 is a more mild illness for most children compared to adults. 
 
Two doses of COVID-19 vaccines appear to be less effective at preventing infection with the omicron variant, but it continues to provide good protection against severe disease if you do get sick. A booster dose appears to increase protection against infection with the omicron variant among those people who are eligible.
 
Vaccine coverage differs in different parts of the province. We continue to see higher risk in some communities, especially those with lower vaccination uptake. In these communities, local Medical Health Officers may recommend additional prevention measures for the whole community, as well as for schools.
 
The best way to prevent the omicron variant from impacting schools is for everyone eligible to get recommended doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.
 

Unvaccinated children aged 12 and older may need to quarantine following international travel. Learn more.

The decision to wear a non-medical mask or face covering should be based on personal choice.

Masks are still required in some situations like visiting healthcare facilities or on federally-regulated transportation like airplanes or trains.  
  • Masks may also be required for unvaccinated children under the age of 12 returning from international travel. Learn more about Government of Canada’s requirements for travellers.

All sports, clubs and extracurricular activities are allowed. Learn more about current health and safety measures in schools.

 
Attending School Safely
Students and families can also help prevent the spread of COVID-19 by practicing personal prevention measures.

Get vaccinated if you or your child are eligible


Children and people aged five and older living in B.C. are eligible to get immunized against COVID-19.

Regular health checks

Health Checks mean checking yourself or your child for COVID-19 symptoms. Students and parents or caregivers can use the BC Self-Assessment Tool or When to get tested page to determine if you need testing.

Stay home when sick

  • If you are sick or have symptoms of illness and are unable to fully participate in regular activities, you should stay home even if you are fully vaccinated.
  • Use the BC Self-Assessment Tool, or follow BCCDC testing guidance to know what to do if you are sick. 
  • If you get tested and your child has COVID-19, visit the BCCDC website for information on how to self-isolate, manage symptoms and let others know: What to do if you have COVID-19.
  • If your child does not need a test, they can stay home until they feel well enough to return to regular activities.
  • You can also call 8-1-1 or visit HealthLink BC for advice.  

Respect personal space

Personal space is the distance from which a person feels comfortable being next to another person. Students and staff should respect each others’ personal space at school.  

Clean hands

Clean your hands often. This means washing your hands with soap and water or using hand sanitizer. 

Masks

Masks may provide some protection to you, and to those around you. The decision to wear a non-medical mask or face covering should be based on personal choice.  

See the Masks page for more information on how to use a mask properly.

Frequently Asked Questions

Students and staff are encouraged to regularly do a health check before coming to school. Health Checks mean checking yourself or your child for COVID-19 symptoms.

Staying home when you are sick is one of the most effective ways to keep schools as low-risk for COVID-19. If you are sick or have symptoms of illness and are unable to fully participate in regular activities, you should stay home even if you are fully vaccinated.


The decision to wear a non-medical mask or face covering should be based on personal choice.
All sports, clubs and extracurricular activities are allowed. Learn more about current health and safety measures in schools.

COVID-19 Cases in Schools

When COVID-19 spreads in a community, there is a risk that it will be in schools in that community. Sometimes people have COVID-19 and don’t know it. Nobody means to bring COVID-19 into a school.

Students and staff with mild symptoms may not need a test. If symptoms are mild, they can stay home until they feel well enough to return to regular activities.

Students and staff who have tested positive should self-isolate and follow the instructions on what to do if you test positive

Notify Public Health through the completion of the online reporting form. The form asks about your health history and where you have been before you got sick with COVID-19. Completion of the form allows Public Health to monitor cases in schools. The information you provide is kept secure and is for public health assessment only. Public health may contact you to follow up. Your information is not shared with your school.  

Students and staff are not required to notify their school about a positive COVID-19 test. However, they are encouraged to notify their school if an absence is due to illness. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Your child can continue to attend school if someone in your household is sick, as long as they don’t have any symptoms of illness themselves. Everyone in the household should monitor for symptoms and stay home if they develop symptoms.

If your child is a contact of someone else who tests positive or feels unwell, like a classmate, they do not need to stay home unless they develop symptoms. If your child feels unwell, keep them home until they feel well enough to return to regular activities.
Let the school know your child will be absent and indicate that the absence is because of illness. This will help schools and public health monitor for COVID-19 in schools and communities.

If a student tests positive for COVID-19, they need to:
  1. Complete an online form to report your test result to public health
  2. Self-isolate and manage your symptoms
  3. Let your close contacts know

Let the school know your child will be absent and indicate that the absence is because of illness. This will help schools and public health monitor for COVID-19 in schools and communities.


If a student has mild symptoms and does not need a test, they should stay home until they feel well enough to return to regular activities. They can return to school once they are feeling better and no longer have a fever or symptoms.


They should also avoid non-essential visits to higher-risk settings, such as long-term care facilities, for another 10 days after the start of their illness.


 

Case and contact tracing are no longer measures that will help to contain the virus. Instead, parents will be asked to notify their school if their child is absent due to illness – they do not need to disclose if their absence is due to COVID 19. Schools will use absenteeism data to detect when there may be increased COVID-19 activity in the school and connect with public health for additional assessment and support as necessary.


 When a school meets an absenteeism threshold and engages their school medical health officer, schools will be sending home a letter to parents indicating public health engagement - and if further direction or measures from public health are required, families will be notified.


Families will also be reminded to keep their children home when sick and to do the daily health check prior to coming to school.











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