What is the COVID-19 notification process for schools?
The Ministry of Education has informed the District of the COVID-19 Notification Process. The District will continue to follow the protocols as set out by Fraser Health to help keep our students and staff healthy and safe.
Here is what we can share with you now:
Public health will continue to prioritize schools for contact tracing. Public health will directly follow up with anyone identified as a COVID-19 case and determine if other students or staff were close contacts.
- Close contacts are followed up with directly because they may be at greater risk of infection. They will be directly informed by public health if they need to take action, like self-monitoring or self-isolating.
- People at school who are not close contacts are not at increased risk, so don’t need to take any additional actions beyond continuing to follow general public health recommendations.
- In line with practices for other community settings and workplaces, school notifications to the broader school community, such as letters or exposure notices on regional health authority websites, will be used when public health deems them necessary to support contact tracing or outbreak management.
- Public health continues to monitor transmission of COVID-19 across the province, with the latest data on COVID19 available from BCCDC.
Why is there no mask mandate for students in K-3?
As announced by the province, masks for students in K-3 are no longer required. The District will be encouraging students in K-3 to wear a mask. Mask wearing for these students continues to be a family/caregiver choice. Masks are only one layer of protection. As per public health, the best way to protect everyone is for people who are eligible to get vaccinated.
As announced by the province, masks will continue to be required for all K-12 staff, students in grades 4- 12, and visitors when indoors and on buses (with exceptions). See further information regarding bussing here.
Masks are not required for students, staff, and visitors when outdoors.
Why is there no vaccine mandate for students and staff?
As announced by the province, students, staff, and visitors are not required to be vaccinated but it is strongly recommended. The District is encouraging all students, staff, and visitors to get vaccinated before the start of the school year. As advised by public health, vaccines are the best way to keep everyone healthy and safe, especially those in the community who are not eligible to get vaccinated.
Walk-in vaccination clinics are available for anyone over the age of 12 years old. For more information on vaccine clinics in Fraser Health, read here: https://www.fraserhealth.ca/vax#.YSw77tNKibs
Why is there no vaccine passport required for students and staff?
As announced by the province, students, staff, and visitors are not required to show proof of vaccination. As per the province, schools are controlled environments with comprehensive health and safety measures already in place and attendance of students, staff, and visitors is taken daily. Half of K-12 students are under 12 years old, not eligible for vaccines, and therefore, the vaccine passport would not be applicable.
A vaccine passport could be applicable, when and if schools host an event (like a concert open to parents/public). Schools will share additional information with the community where and when appropriate.
Why are there no cohorts and physical distancing required?
As announced by the province, cohort and physical distancing is no longer required.
However, the District will be working with administration and school staff to develop creative ways to maximize space amongst students and staff in classes. Strategies may include using directional arrows and posters in hallways, spreading out desks and tables in a classroom, and encouraging everyone to respect others’ personal space. Taking classes outdoors will continue to be encouraged.
Will the District improve ventilation in schools?
The District upgraded HVAC systems with MERV 13 filters in all sites including portables prior to last year school year. These upgrades meet and exceed provincial ventilation requirements.
Will students be able to take online courses online if they feel unsafe? Will there be the Transition Support Model in September?
There continues to be a range of choices for students and their families in September. The District will not be offering the Transition Support Model for this school year. Students will be able to learn online through Distributed Learning programs offered at U-Connect (Elementary, Middle, Secondary) or Langley Education Centre (Secondary). Students also have the option of homeschooling. If you have questions about options for your child, please connect with your school administrator.
If a student enrolls in a Distributed Learning program or chooses homeschooling, will they be able to save their spot at their catchment school or choice school?
Due to significant increases in student enrolment K-12 in the Langley School District, if a student chooses to enroll in a Distributed Learning program or is homeschooled, the school will not be able to save a
student’s space at their catchment school or choice school. In the event a student leaves for the school year, they will have to re-enroll for their catchment or choice school and follow regular procedures regarding registration and timeline. If you have questions, please connect with your school administrator.
Why can’t the District implement its own guidelines?
The District takes direction from the Ministry of Education and the Provincial Health Office regarding public health matters. The District also follows regional and local health and safety measures developed by the Fraser Health Authority. Changes to any health and safety guidelines can only come from public health authorities. The District defers to health authorities on decision making as they base their advice on science and data collected by public health. The District trusts health experts and their work to help keep our students, staff, and community safe.
Why are the guidelines in schools different from other community settings (e.g., restaurants, stores, recreation centers)?
The District takes direction from the Ministry of Education and the Provincial Health Office. As per the province, all schools follow the health and safety outlines in the BCCDC’s Public Communicable Disease Guidance for K-12 Schools. Other sites within the Langley School District (non-education sites such as the school board office) follow WorkSafeBC guidelines which are different from school settings. Other community settings will have health and safety measures in place implemented by the province and/or regional/local authority.
Isn’t the District concerned about COVID-19 exposures in schools due to increasing case counts/Delta variant?
The District shares the community’s concern over COVID-19 cases. The District acknowledges that as long as there is COVID-19 in the community, there will be exposures in schools. The District understands the more eligible people are immunized; the less likely school exposures may lead to transmission. The District is confident the COVID-19 measures in place for the school year will help in protecting the health and safety of students, staff, and community members.
The Langley School District is sharing answers to some frequently asked questions regarding COVID-19 guidelines for the 2021-2022 school year. For more information on guidelines, you can review the Public Health Communicable Disease Guidance for K-12 Schools and K-12 Education Recovery Plan. If you have any questions, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org. For specific questions related to your child’s school, please contact your administrator.
September 3, 2021