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COVID-19 Cases, Outbreaks, and Closures

Information every family should know: This year, the Board, working under the direction and guidance of local Public Health units, has modified the COVID-19 case handling process. Families should be clear on the following processes and ensure that their family contact information, particularly email addresses, on file at the school are up-to-date. Email is the main form of communication for all COVID-19 Cases, school closures, and COVID-19-related communications.

Process changes from the 2020-21 school year as directed by the Ministry of Education and Public Health:

  • Email is the main form of communication.
  • The Board is requesting that all families check their email each evening (ideally at 6:00 p.m.) to see if their child has been connected to a COVID-19 case and needs to stay home the next day. Close contacts are identified by Public Health and can happen at any time, regardless of the class your child is in. Close contacts could be identified from cohorts on a bus, in a classroom, or through participation in an activity. Families should not expect notification after 6:00 p.m. daily.
  • Phone call communication to families will only occur if you are required to come to the school to pick up your child. Email is the main form of communication from both the Public Health Units and the school.

COVID-19 Case(s) at a School/Site

The following process will take place:

  • Regardless of student/staff vaccination status.
  • As a precaution and requires the individual checks their email at 6:00 pm for further Public Health Unit communication and direction.
  • Regardless of if a student was on a designated bus.
  • Regardless of the day of the week (the non-school day process is similar with the exception of sending students home. Instead, students MUST remain home until the Public Health Unit follows up (via email) with directions.)

COVID-19 Case/Close Contact Identified

  1. Public Health informs the school of an identified case(s) of COVID-19 and requests cohort and staff information (the names, email addresses, bus information, classroom, child care, site visitor sign-in/out sheets) via email.
  2. The school provides Public Health with the requested information (extracted from Power School – the electronic student and family information system) and waits for further direction.
  3. Public Health provides the school with direction pertaining to students and staff to immediately exclude (send home).
  4. Phone calls are made to all families who must come to the school to pick up their child/children.
  5. If the COVID-19 case is connected to an on-site child care services (including Before/After school care), the school provides curtesy notice to the Child Care Centre’s supervisor. Public Health provides official notice and details to the centre.
  6. The school will inform Public Health when all students have been picked up/all staff have been sent home.
  7. Public Health will email a directional communication to families in respect to self-isolation, testing, follow up, and return to school instructions. No individual is to return to school prior to emailed direction from Public Health. All individuals must adhere to the return date provided by Public Health.
  8. Public Health will contact trace and update the school as to which students and staff members may return and on what date (included in the determination, but not limited to, is physical proximity, length of exposure, vaccination status, PPE.)
  9. Students who remain home will be contacted by their educators to support the continuation of learning during the isolation period.
  10. The BHNCDSB COVID-19 Reporting | COVID-19 Cases by Location webpage will be updated.

COVID-19 Outbreak Declared by Public Health at a School/Site

An outbreak is defined as two or more lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases in students and/or staff in a school with an epidemiological link, within a specific period, where at least one case could have reasonably acquired their infection in the school.

If public health declares and outbreak at a school, the following process will take place:

  1. School administrator will email the outbreak declaration to staff.
  2. School administrator will email the outbreak declaration to parents/guardians. Families should ensure that their email address on file at the school is accurate.
  3. School administrator will provide a family/community communication via the school Twitter account.
  4. School administrator will provide a curtesy notice to the Child Care Centre’s supervisor (if applicable).
  5. The COVID-19 Reporting | COVID-19 Cases by Location webpage will be updated to indicate 'Outbreak Status'.

COVID-19 Closure Ordered by Public Health or the School Board

  • Public Health has the authority to close a school in order to safeguard students and staff.
  • The School Board has the authority to close a school due to student safety concerns as the result of challenges to supervision. 

If a school is ordered closed, the following process will take place:

  1. School administrator will email the immediate/upcoming school closure and re-opening date information to staff.
  2. School administrator will notify parents/guardians of the immediate/upcoming school closure and re-opening date via School Messenger phone call AND email. Families should ensure that their email address on file at the school is accurate.
  3. School administrator will notify the Child Care provider (if applicable) of the immediate/upcoming school closure and re-opening date via email. 
  4. School administrator will provide a family/community communication indicating that the school is/will be closed and a reminder to 'check the family email for details' via the school Twitter account.
  5. School administrator will update the school website with immediate/upcoming school closure and re-opening date with an Alert - Level Red. All individuals who subscribe to the school website will receive this alert via email.
  6. The COVID-19 Reporting | COVID-19 Cases by Location webpage will be updated to indicate ‘School Temporarily Closed’. Included will be the 'closed' and 're-opening' dates.