Communicable Disease Prevention Plan
The Whytecliff Agile Learning Centre is dedicated to fostering the health and well-being of its students, staff, visitors, parents, and caregivers. This Communicable Disease Prevention Plan stands as a testament to that commitment. It aims to educate and inform our community, including students, parents, caregivers, and staff, about the operational and health & safety measures taken at Whytecliff to curtail the transmission of communicable diseases such as COVID-19.
According to WorkSafeBC, a communicable disease is an ailment resulting from an infectious agent or its toxic product that can be transmitted between individuals. This plan elucidates the consistent control measures employed to thwart the spread of such diseases within our school premises, during transportation, and external activities like field trips. It also highlights supplementary steps that could be introduced under the advisement of Public Health during heightened risk periods.
SOURCES OF INFORMATION
The chief reference for communicable disease planning at Whytecliff Agile Learning Centres is the Ministry of Education’s Provincial COVID-19 Communicable Disease Guidelines for K-12 Settings. The latest revision of these guidelines, dated September 13, 2023, is enriched with insights from the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC)/Public Health. It is in line with the province’s enduring strategy for COVID-19, emphasizing immunization, self-care, and targeted measures to shield those highly susceptible to severe infections. Whytecliff remains steadfast in crafting a supportive academic milieu, considering a trauma-informed perspective when orchestrating diverse school activities.
The Ministry of Education’s guidance emanates from the BCCDC’s Public Health Communicable Diseases Guidance for K-12 Schools. In cases of discrepancies between these pivotal documents, Whytecliff Agile Learning Centres will prioritize the directives from the Ministry of Education. This Plan has also integrated guidelines from WorkSafeBC (WSBC), particularly concerning staff-exclusive areas.
All educational institutions are mandated to abide by the standards, guidelines, and protocols set by the BCCDC and WSBC. This document will undergo periodic revisions to assimilate fresh information and directives from the Ministry of Education, Public Health, and WSBC. The onus of executing a communicable disease plan at each venue rests with the site principal, who will collaborate with the Executive Director for decisions. We urge our community, including students, staff, parents, and caregivers, to remain updated on information disseminated by the BCCDC.
Step 1: Understand the Risk
Preventing the transmission of communicable diseases like COVID-19 in the workplace is essential. Despite COVID-19’s prevalence in our population, K-12 settings account for a minority of the cases. Vaccination is a potent tool against many such diseases. The BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) advocates for all eligible students and staff to stay updated on recommended vaccines.
Step 2: Measures, Practices, and Policies to Reduce Risk
Personal Health Awareness
While Whytecliff isn’t mandated to monitor for symptoms, we encourage everyone to conduct personal health checks before attending. Electronic communications will remind students, parents, caregivers, and staff, with additional gentle reminders posted at entrances.
Before attending, ask yourself:
- Have I been instructed to isolate?
- Do I have symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat, etc.?
If “yes” to any, stay home until you’re well. Remember, symptoms like a cough can be disruptive, while others, like a runny nose, may not. If uncertain about a COVID-19 test, consult the self-assessment tool or call 8-1-1.
Those who believe they’ve been exposed should monitor for symptoms and contact Public Health with concerns. If unwell, stay home to prevent spread.
You can attend school if:
- Symptoms align with a pre-diagnosed condition (like seasonal allergies).
- You’ve recovered adequately to resume activities and aren’t required to self-isolate due to a positive COVID-19 test.
If Someone Falls Ill at School
- Masks will be provided to the ill person and those assisting.
- The individual will be isolated, and, if a student, their guardians will be contacted for pickup.
- Staff and custodians will disinfect areas the person frequented.
- Individuals should only return when symptoms have subsided.
Hand washing facilities equipped with soap and warm water can be found in all Whytecliff learning and working spaces. Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds frequently, especially after potential exposure. Use hand sanitizers when washing isn’t feasible, hand sanitizer stations are strategically placed at building entrances and other high-traffic areas. Staff ensure these facilities are well-maintained. Report malfunctioning dispensers.
The decision to wear a mask or face covering is a personal choice for everyone. People can choose to continue to wear a mask throughout the day or during specific activities. This choice will be supported and treated with respect. Masks will be provided and available to all students, staff and visitors on request.
At Whytecliff, staff and students are encouraged to respect others’ personal space (the distance from which a person feels comfortable being next to another person).
Cover mouth and nose, turn away from others, and wash hands regularly.
Cleaning and Disinfection:
- Surfaces that are frequently touched will be cleaned and disinfected at least once every 24 hours, and immediately if they are visibly soiled.
- Commonly touched surfaces include but are not limited to doorknobs, light switches, hand railings, water fountains, and toilet handles. Shared equipment and tools such as computer keyboards, sports equipment, music instruments, appliances like microwaves, and service counters like the library circulation desk are also frequently touched. The specific items requiring disinfection might vary daily based on their usage. (Refer to the Provincial COVID-19 Communicable Disease Guidelines for K-12 Settings, September 2023).
- Items such as toys or educational materials that might be challenging to clean regularly (like fabric-based items) or items that cannot be cleaned (like sand, foam, or playdough) are permissible for use, provided that hand hygiene protocols are strictly followed before and after handling. (As per the Provincial COVID-19 Communicable Disease Guidelines for K-12 Settings, September 2023).
Whytecliff complies with WorkSafeBC and Public Health directives. This includes increasing airflow, inspecting HVAC systems more frequently, and maximizing fresh air intake.
We advocate for staff and students to be vaccinated as per public health guidance. Employees can avail three hours of paid leave for COVID-19 vaccination.
Whytecliff normally welcomes visitors with an appropriate reason for visiting the school. Visitors should follow applicable communicable disease presentation measures, including staying at home when sick
Whytecliff will offer friendly health reminders to students utilizing our vehicle transportation services. Additionally, hand sanitizers and masks will be readily available in these vehicles.
Field Trips and Off-Site Activities
Whytecliff field trips and off-site activities will follow the more stringent communicable disease prevention plan between the school and required by the offsite facility or the field trip venue.
Step 3: Communication
Updates will be shared via Facebook, the website, email, and notices at the school. Staff can address any concerns to the Performance Management Committee.
RESPONDING TO ELEVATED RISK: ADDITIONAL MEASURES
In times of heightened risk, Whytecliff Agile Learning Centres may introduce additional safeguards as recommended by the BCCDC, Ministry of Health, Provincial Health Officer (PHO), Vancouver Coastal or Fraser Health Medical Health Officer (MHO), and the First Nations Health Authority.
During these periods, relevant health officials will relay the severity of risk and offer guidelines to mitigate it. It may be necessary to conduct more thorough assessments of our premises to pinpoint specific locations, activities, or procedures that might pose heightened threats to our staff. Some of the supplementary measures that could be deployed include:
- Intensifying our cleaning and disinfection procedures.
- Requiring masks to be worn.
- Implementing or enhancing social distancing rules.
- Establishing physical barriers where necessary.
- Setting limits on the number of people in a building.
- Placing restrictions on events and large gatherings.
- Encouraging or mandating remote work.
At Whytecliff Agile Learning Centers, we remain steadfast in our commitment to adhere to all guidelines, directives, and advice set forth by Public Health officials and the Ministry of Education.
A functional temporary closure of Whytecliff may occur due to a lack of staff to provide the required level of teaching, supervision, support, and/or custodial to ensure the health and safety of students. This would likely be due to a high number of staff or certain employees away who are required for a school to function, and the inability to temporarily replace them. Whytecliff will notify students, parents and caregivers as well as our Medical Health Officer and the Ministry of Education and Child Care ([email protected]) if we are considering or implementing a functional closure.
Step 4: Continuous Monitoring and Updates
Whytecliff will abide by standards from health authorities and update measures as needed.
- MOE, Provincial COVID-19 Communicable Disease Guidelines for K-12 Settings, September 2023.
- BC CDC, Public Health Communicable Disease Guidance for K-12 Schools, September 13, 2023.
- Public Health Communicable Disease Guidance K-12 Schools (bccdc.ca) BC CDC March 16, 2022
- About COVID-19 (bccdc.ca)CDC, February 25,
- CDC, Your Guide to Masks.