The following are health and safety policies, procedures, and guidelines that have been updated for the start of the 2021-2022 school year based on the guidance for K-12 settings from April 8, 2022.

Based on the guidance from the BC Centre for Disease Control and experience to date with BC and other jurisdictions showing schools as low-risk sites for COVID-19 transmissions, even with increased risk of COVID-19 in some communities, K-12 students can participate in full-time, in-class instruction in accordance with current public health guidelines for schools.

The provincial health officer and the BCCDC have issued the following guidance regarding illness:

  • Parents and caregivers are responsible to assess their child daily using a daily health check with each of their child(ren) before sending them to school.
    • Children are expected to stay home if they are sick.
    • We request that the child/staff member who is ill or has symptoms of COVID-19 stay home until symptoms have improved.
    • If students or staff show new symptoms while at school, they will be asked to wear a mask, wait in a self-isolation space, and are expected to go home as soon as possible.
    • If the staff or student (or their parent) indicates that the symptoms are consistent with a previously diagnosed health condition and are not unusual for that individual, they may stay or return to school. In such cases, no assessment or note is required from a health care provider.
  • Students or staff may continue attending school if a member of their household develops symptoms of illness, provided the student/staff has no symptoms themselves.

The following resources provide guidance regarding specific symptoms of illness:

• Parents/caregivers and students can use the Daily Health Check and What To Do When Sick Tool.
• Staff and other adults can refer to the BCCDC’s When to get tested for COVID-19 and use the following link for a self-assessment: BC COVID-19 Support App — (thrive.health)
• Staff, students, and parents/caregivers can also use the BCCDC online Self-Assessment Tool, call 8-1-1, or their health care provider.

We will follow the guidance from Fraser Health regarding how and when ACS communicates with families regarding exposures, whether they be general notifications, self-monitoring notices, or exposure notices. At this time, we anticipate that COVID-19 notifications and contact tracing will be facilitated through Fraser Health.

  • Students, staff, or other adults must stay home if they are required to self-isolate.
  • Students, staff, or other adults should stay at home when sick or show symptoms of COVID-19, as this is one of the most important ways to reduce the introduction to and the spread of COVID-19 in schools. The following resources provide guidance regarding specific symptoms of illness:
  • When a student, staff, or other adult can return to school depends on the type of symptoms they experienced, if a COVID-19 test is recommended and the result of their test.
  • Students or staff may still attend school if a member of their household develops new symptoms of illness and/or has tested positive for COVID-19, provided the student/staff has no symptoms themselves. 

Rigorous hand washing with plain soap and water or using an effective hand sanitizer reduces the spread of illness. Effective hand washing procedures will be posted throughout the campuses.

Hand washing will be encouraged for staff and students at the following times:

  • When they arrive at school.
  • Before and after any breaks (e.g., recess, lunch).
  • Before and after eating and drinking
  • Before and after using an indoor learning space used by multiple classes with shared equipment.
  • After using the restroom
  • After sneezing or coughing into hands or tissue
  • Whenever hands are visibly dirty
  • When moving between different learning environments
  • Before going on the bus

  • At elementary, staff will teach proper hand hygiene and assist younger students as needed.
  • If a sink is not available, alcohol-based hand sanitizer will be available.
  • Hand washing supplies will always be available.
  • Hand hygiene stations will be set up at locations throughout the school as appropriate.

Classrooms can return to normal seating and learning configurations and activities. ACS is implementing strategies to help people respect each other’s personal space.

Strategies such as:

  • Avoiding close greetings (e.g., hugs, handshakes).
  • Create space between people as much as is practical to do
  • Taking students outside for learning activities when possible
  • Adapting group activities to minimize physical contact
  • Reducing the use of shared items
  • Using visual supports (signage, video models, etc) as reminders.
  • Create systems to manage the flow of foot traffic in the hallways
  • K-12 assemblies, student gatherings, and chapels can return to normal capacity.

The decision to wear a mask or face covering is a personal choice for staff, students, and visitors. A person’s choice will be supported and respected. ACS will continue to have non-medical masks available for anyone who may have forgotten their mask and would like to wear one, or who become ill at school.

Personal protective equipment (including masks) can provide an additional layer of protection. Non-medical masks and face coverings (masks) have a role to play in preventing the spread of COVID-19. They provide some protection to the wearer and to those around them.

ACS is grateful to welcome back visitors and volunteers to our campuses again. When visiting our campuses, please keep in mind:

  • Be familiar with ACS’ Communicable Diseases Health and Safety Policies
  • Sign in/sign out at the campus office
  • Complete a daily health check
  • Stay home/go home when sick or exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 or other communicable illness
  • Practice diligent hand hygiene
  • Wearing a mask is optional
  • Respect others’ personal space while on school grounds, including outside.

FREQUENCY:

General cleaning of the premises, and cleaning and disinfecting of frequently touched surfaces, will occur at least once in a 24-hour period.
All garbage and recycling containers will be emptied daily.

FREQUENTLY USED AREAS INCLUDE:

  • Items used by larger numbers of students and staff such as doorknobs, light switches, faucet handles, hand railings, toilet handles, tables, desks, chairs used by multiple people, and water fountains.
  • Water fountains will continue to be available, however students and staff will be encouraged to bring a personal water bottle that is not shared. Staff and students will be encouraged not to put their mouths on the surface of the water fountain.
  • Shared learning items and manipulatives and equipment (computer keyboards, tablets and/or mouses, glassware and testing equipment for science classes, kitchen equipment for culinary programs, sewing machines, and equipment for textiles programs,)
  • Appliances (microwaves, refrigerators, coffee pots, photocopiers, and laminators)
  • Frequently touched items like toys or manipulatives may not be able to be cleaned often (e.g. fabrics) or at all (e.g. sand, foam, playdough, etc.) but can be used, when hand hygiene is practiced before and after use.
  • Carpets and rugs (e.g. in kindergarten classes) can also be used.

BODILY FLUID PRECAUTIONS (RUNNY NOSE, BLOOD, VOMIT, STOOL, URINE):

  • Wear disposable gloves when cleaning up body fluids.
  • Wash hands before wearing and after removing disposable gloves.

Since our buses are not considered to be a controlled environment like our schools, ACS will adhere to the following for student transportation on school buses:

  • Buses will be cleaned and disinfected in accordance with most current BCCDC guidelines.
  • Practicing hand hygiene prior to entering the bus is expected.
  • Bus drivers, teachers, and students in kindergarten to grade 12 may choose to wear masks or face coverings when they are on the bus.

As of April 8, 2022, there are no capacity limits on school assemblies, gatherings, or events.

All music and physical education programs, sports, clubs, and extracurricular activities are allowed:

  • Shared equipment will be cleaned and disinfected before and after use
  • Ensure students clean their hands 
    • Before and after using shared equipment
    • Before and after outdoor play
  • Students will be asked not to share equipment that touches the mouth, like an instrument mouthpiece or mouthguard, unless cleaned and disinfected in between uses
  • Students will be encouraged to cover their mouths when coughing or sneezing

Field trips will be able to occur in alignment with applicable relevant local, regional, provincial, and federal public health recommendations and orders, including those for international travel. ACS is required ensure that volunteers providing supervision strictly adhere to the school and regional health and safety guidelines.

Regional Medical Health Officers continue to be able to place local public health orders requiring additional health and safety measures beyond the guidance in this document at their own discretion, based on their authority under provincial legislation. These measures may be put in place during times of increased community transmission of COVID-19, and within communities with low vaccination uptake, based on local epidemiology and in proportion to the risk.
Local public health orders may be placed for entire regions or communities, including but not limited to schools (unless schools are specifically exempted), or for specific settings or activities within a health authority region. For schools, the local Medical Health Officer may issue a recommendation to implement specific additional health and safety measures during times of elevated risk. Additional regional measures are likely to be similar to some of those in place during the 2020-21 school year, and may include: limits on gatherings and events, reconfiguring room arrangements or incorporating more activities that maximize space between people and reduce face-to-face contact, limiting visitors, and recommending increased mask use.

ACS will be prepared to adjust to these health orders and recommendations as seamlessly as possible. Teaching staff will continue to provide some level of online presence (through our myLearning classroom sites) in each of the classes, to allow for a relatively smooth transition, if required.

ACS understands the additional strain and stress that the pandemic has put us all under and is committed to providing mental health support for those who need it. Information regarding where to find mental health support will be provided by each of the campuses for both students and staff. In addition, staff members are encouraged to engage trauma-informed practices alongside physical health and safety measures.

To ensure that ACS remains a safe and controlled environment for all students and staff, ACS staff continues to receive orientation, updates, and relevant training on policy, procedures, and protocols specific to the COVID-19 Communicable Diseases Health and Safety Plan.
Students will receive necessary training from the staff throughout the year so they may thrive at school.