‘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’
Saskatchewan has released the procedures that schools must follow should a student or school staff show symptoms of COVID-19.
The province noted that all schools must identify a designated isolation area for any student or staff who show symptoms and are not able to leave the school facility immediately. If a student is exhibiting symptoms, the students’ teacher must notify the designated school official to accompany the student from the classroom to the isolation area.
“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,” said the government.
Staff must also wear a medical mask and face shield during all interactions with the student, and the student will also be provided with a medical mask, “and requested to wear it if safe to do so”. The student will also be supervised at all times.
A designated school official will call the student’s parents or caregivers immediately to pick up and remove their child from the school. They 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, and the student’s parent(s) or emergency contact will arrange transport of the student from school.
Once the student has exited the school facility, staff must wash their hands adequately with soap and water and clean and disinfect high touch areas.
Non-teaching staff will clean and disinfect the school’s isolation area, and 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.
If a teacher develops symptoms consistent with COVID-19, they must inform their designated school official to provide alternative arrangements for in-class instruction and notify their local Public Health contact 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 the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) confirms a COVID-19 case in the school, it will notify the said school and issue directions. These may include self-isolation or self-monitoring, contact tracing, testing and appropriate communication.
The school shall also have record keeping of attendance and seating arrangements to support public health investigation and contact tracing, and school divisions will have alternative learning opportunities in place for students who are unable to attend school for medical reasons.
The province also encourages self-monitoring in schools, and asks parents and caregivers to monitor their children and keep them at home and self-isolated if they present COVID-19 symptoms.
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 available here.
The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) also said that schools must implement safety measures as kids head back to school amid the COVID-19 pandemic. These include:
- Staggering the start and close of the school day
- Staggering mealtimes
- Moving classes to temporary spaces or outdoors
- Holding school in shifts, to reduce class size
In June, Saskatchewan announced that classes in pre-kindergarten to Grade 12 schools will resume in-classroom learning for the upcoming school year as early as Sept. 1, 2020.
The Alberta government will also be reopening schools in the fall, and it has placed orders for 1.7 million masks worth a total of $4.2 million which will be used in schools.