Province clarifies safe attendance procedures in Safe Schools Plan

Gord Wyant/ Herald File Photo

After releasing their back to school plan on Tuesday, the provincial government clarified some of the rules around cleaning and disinfection with a press release on Monday afternoon. They explained that local administrative procedures have been developed for students exhibiting signs and symptoms consistent with COVID-19 under the plan.

“All schools must identify a designated isolation area for any student or staff presenting COVID-19 symptoms who are not able to immediately leave their school facility. If a student is exhibiting symptoms consistent with COVID-19 at school, the students’ teacher must notify the designated school official to accompany the student from the classroom to the school’s pre-identified isolation space,” the release said.

The release explained that physical distancing between the student who is exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 and the staff member should be maintained as much as feasible at all times.

“Staff must wear a medical mask and face shield during all interactions with the student to avoid contact. The student will also be provided with a medical mask, and requested to wear it if safe to do so. The student will be supervised at all times.”

Also in the rules the designated school official will call parents or caregivers immediately to pick up and remove the child from the school. The official will then call their local Public Health contact to provide notification of the student being removed from the school.

“Public Health will then conduct an initial assessment and provide direction to the school. Arrangements will be made for the student to be transported appropriately from school by the student’s parent or parents or an emergency contact. School staff will not transport the student home. Once the student has exited the school facility, staff must wash their hands adequately with soap and water and ensure high touch areas are cleaned and disinfected,” the release said.

The school’s isolation area must then be cleaned and disinfected by non-teaching staff. The designated school official will arrange for the timely cleaning and disinfection of the student’s classroom and, in particular, the student’s desk and surroundings desks as well as any other common touch items in the classroom and/or other school facilities to which the student would have had access that school day, such as washrooms.

In the case of teachers developing symptoms consistent with COVID-19 the teacher must inform the designated school official to provide alternative arrangements for in-class work, notify their local Public Health to conduct an initial assessment and provide direction to the school.

“Once the teacher has notified their designated school official, they should immediately leave the school facility, and the school cleaning and disinfection procedures will take place.”

If a case of COVID-19 is confirmed by the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) that school will be notified by SHA Public Health on what the next steps are.

“These may include self-isolation or self-monitoring, contact tracing, testing and appropriate communication,” the release said.

The school shall have record keeping of attendance and seating arrangements to support public health investigation and contact tracing.

School divisions will also have alternative learning opportunities in place for students who are unable to attend school for medical reasons.

“This will ensure students have continued delivery of education.

Self-monitoring practices are also being encouraged in schools as a preventative measure. Parents and caregivers are asked to monitor their children for any signs or symptoms of illness. If a student or staff member exhibit any symptoms, they are to remain home and self-isolate. For those who are unsure if they present symptoms or may need to be tested for COVID-19, they should refer to the Saskatchewan COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool,” the release said.