SMUS COVID-19 Considerations

As we begin the new school year and welcome students, faculty and staff back to the campus, four areas of consideration have been highlighted below, all of which will be critical for community members to be aware of and to follow.

Daily Health Screening

As a condition of returning to SMUS in this ‘new normal’ during the COVID-19 pandemic we are expecting individuals to stay home if they are unwell. Each day, individuals (adult parent/guardian of younger children) must complete a self-assessment of their or their child’s wellness prior to attending school. In short, if an individual displays any new or changing symptoms that are not related to pre-existing conditions then they should NOT come to school. We encourage families to use BC’s COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool.

Process if we experience a confirmed case of COVID-19

With the spread of COVID-19 throughout the world from different sources, it is possible that someone in our community will test positive. If this were to occur, then please know that while we are concerned about our community, the process will be completely taken over by Island Health.

The focus of the Island Health team is to isolate individuals who may have been exposed (contact tracing) so that they lessen the potential impact to the larger community. Once this has been completed, they will send notification directly to our parent and staff community.

In this process, SMUS legally cannot communicate directly with parents, students, faculty and staff unless specifically authorized by public health officials. Also, while we recognize the potential use of social media and other communication tools by individuals who may be impacted, SMUS will not be permitted to disclose the name, class, or grade of any student or staff member who may have contracted the virus. Please know that official statements will be communicated as is permitted by health authorities.

Actions if someone becomes symptomatic at school

As SMUS faculty are not trained healthcare professionals, we are unable to distinguish between COVID-19 symptoms and those that are similar to colds, flu, or some allergies (download a PDF comparison chart). As such, if someone displays any of the identified COVID-19 symptoms, we have been directed by Island Health to:

  • Instruct the individual to put on their mask if they are in cohort
  • Isolate the individual
  • Inform the appropriate director
  • Individuals will be expected to leave campus as soon as possible:
    • A school director will contact the parent/guardian or emergency contact of a day student to arrange for immediate pick up.
    • A boarder will move through our established Health Centre triage process and will be isolated.
    • Faculty and staff members will be directed to promptly leave after informing their supervisor.
  • All individuals (and parents/guardians of younger children) are expected to connect with Island Health, HealthLink BC (8-1-1) or a healthcare professional (or use BC’s COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool, as appropriate).
  • Return to school for all individuals will depend upon evidence of a negative COVID-19 test or being cleared by a healthcare professional, or when they are symptom free.

Actions if you (or a member of your immediate family) are contacted by Island Health to be tested for COVID-19 or to self-isolate

  • Contact your school director to inform them, knowing that this information will be kept in utmost confidence.
  • If a student is unable to attend school, SMUS has planning in place to ensure that learning from home can continue. This will be a short-term measure, with every hope that students will return to school at the first opportunity.
  • If family members are unwell, the current direction from public health is that students and staff may come to school if they are symptom-free. In this circumstance, it is the school’s expectation that these individuals will be extra vigilant in their mask-wearing, and physically distancing until family members at home are symptom free.

Thank you to all members of the SMUS community for your commitment to student and staff health and well-being during these challenging times. Should you have clarifying questions about the above points, please contact your school director.

In the words of Dr. Bonnie Henry, BC’s Provincial Health Officer, “Be kind. Be calm. Be safe.”