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Letter to Parents: COVID-19 and Spring Break

March 11, 2020

March 11, 2020

Dear parents/guardians,

We are writing to give you updated information on COVID-19 (novel coronavirus). With spring break right around the corner and many families possibly choosing to travel internationally, we know that there may be increased risk of the virus spreading.

We are closely monitoring the situation and rely exclusively on information and directives from the BC Provincial Health Officer and the Vancouver Island Health Authority on all health matters. As such, we are sharing this information from health officials for your consideration.

Families are advised to monitor the Government of Canada's travel health notices (www.travel.gc.ca/travelling/advisories) to inform their decision making regarding upcoming travel and to continue to monitor these travel health notices while travelling. As of March 10, Canada has active COVID-19 travel advisories for China, Hong Kong, Iran, Japan, Italy, Singapore, and South Korea. The Government of Canada is also recommending that Canadians avoid all cruise ship travel.

The BC Centre for Disease Control is advising that British Columbians should monitor their health while they are travelling and after they return. If you have any symptoms of a cold or influenza, even if they are mild, health officials are encouraging you to now stay away from others. If you have been to areas, particularly where there has been known transmission of COVID-19, call your health care provider, 8-1-1, or public health.

The BC Provincial Health Officer has stated that travelers should understand that the availability of health care services in some areas may be limited and that travel advisories and restrictions may be put in place or upgraded suddenly.

Please note that if your family travels to any location with a Level 2 or Level 3 travel advisory during spring break, you may be required to self-quarantine your child prior to them returning to school. At this time, provincial health is advising self-isolation for 14 days for people who have specifically been to China and Iran, but that may expand to include other countries, or change. Should a student need to isolate we will do our best to ensure that learning support materials can be provided to you and your family.

After careful consideration, we cancelled international school trips that were planned to Italy, Greece and England due to unknowns associated with this global health emergency, including the possible infection and quarantine of students and staff and the ability to ensure adequate supervision.

The health and safety of our students and staff is our top priority and we will continue to provide regular updates through the district website at www.sd72.bc.ca. As this is an evolving global situation, there will likely be changes throughout spring break and families are encouraged to check the website, especially prior to returning to school after spring break in case there are new measures from the provincial government and health officials.

Dr. Jeremy Morrow
Superintendent of Schools