North Vancouver School District
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News Item

Novel coronavirus (COVID-19)

January 29, 2020

The following is information provided by the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education:


February 7, 2020

The Provincial Health Officer has written a letter to parents and guardians within the school system. Please read this letter here: Letter to Parents_Feb 7.pdf

Vancouver Coastal Health has also provided a letter for parents/guardians. Please read this letter here: nCoV Parents-Guardians Letter Feb 7 2020.pdf

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February 6, 2020

Today, in a joint statement, Provincial Health Officer (PHO) Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix announced two new presumptive cases of coronavirus in B.C. – they are adult visitors from the Hubei province. These cases are linked to the second case announced Feb. 4th by the Ministry of Health.

Please note provincial recommendations on travel related, self isolation:

  • The Provincial Health Officer is advising travellers who have been to Hubei province in the last 14 days to limit their contact with others for 14 days (self-isolation, stay at home) following arrival in Canada. 
  • The Provincial Health Officer is also advising that anyone who is concerned they may have been exposed to, or are experiencing symptoms of, the coronavirus should contact their primary care provider, local public health office or call 811. Translation services for 811 are available in more than 130 languages.

Useful Links

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February 4, 2020

Public Health Officer Bonnie Henry announced the second presumptive case of coronavirus in B.C. – a woman in her 50’s who lives in the Vancouver Coastal Health region. Please see media release HERE

Of particular interest to school districts, please note the following information in the linked release:

"Given the changing dynamics of the outbreak in China and globally, and recognizing we are in the midst of influenza season, we ask anyone here in B.C. who has been in Hubei province to consider staying home and keeping their children home until 14 days have passed from their last visit to Hubei. Monitor yourself and your children closely for symptoms, and if any symptoms arise, connect with your primary care provider, local public health office or call 811. This is an important way to reduce the possibility of transmission of illness to others."

Useful Links

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February 3, 2020

A joint statement has been released from the Ministry of Health and the Provincial Health Officer. Please see the statement HERE.

An important note within the above joint statement is that the phone number for the public to call has changed. Anyone who is concerned they may have been exposed to, or are experiencing symptoms of, the coronavirus should contact their primary care provider, local public health office or call 811. Translation services for 811 are available in more than 130 languages.

Useful Links

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January 31, 2020

The World Health Organization has declared the novel coronavirus a global health emergency; however, the B.C. Provincial Health Officer is advising that the risk is low within British Columbia and all necessary precautions are being taken to prevent the spread of infection. The Ministry of Health has advised and confirmed that individuals returning from affected regions do not need to be isolated at home or kept home from school.

The Ministry of Education is in regular communication with the Ministry of Health, the Provincial Health Officer and local health authorities to learn of public health decisions and to ensure students and employees are kept informed and safe. The Ministry of Education would ask that you do not make assumptions about the risk of students or staff based on their ethnicity or travel history.

 

Reducing the risk

The BC Centre for Disease Control recommends that to reduce the risk of exposure to novel coronavirus, individuals employ the same measures that are taken in relation to colds and flu:

  • Wash one's hands frequently for at least 20 seconds using soap and hot water (it is the single most effective way of reducing the spread of infection).
  • Practice other good hygiene habits: do not touch one's face/eyes/mouth with one's hands and cover one's mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing (ideally with a disposable tissue or the crease of the elbow).
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched workspace surfaces.
  • Maintain good general health (eat a balanced diet, get enough sleep, exercise in moderation).
  • Stay home if sick.
  • A new toll-free phone number (1-833-784-4397) has been established to answer questions from Canadians about the 2019 novel coronavirus. Service is available from 7 a.m. to midnight (Eastern Standard Time).

 

Useful Links


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January 30, 2020

The World Health Organization has declared the novel coronavirus a global health emergency; however, the B.C. Provincial Health Officer is advising that the risk is low within British Columbia and all necessary precautions are being taken to prevent the spread of infection. The Ministry of Health has advised and confirmed that individuals returning from affected regions do not need to be isolated at home or kept home from school.

 
We can assure you that we are in regular communication with the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health and our local health authority to make public health decisions, and to ensure students and employees are kept informed and safe. We will continue to be in close contact with public health officials and, with that in mind, would ask that you do not make assumptions about the risk of students or staff based on their ethnicity or travel history.
 
Please check out the HealthLinkBC website – there are some great questions and answers that you can direct your enquiries to: https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/health-feature/coronavirus
 
 
Advice for Students and Families Considering Travel:

Students and families considering travel to and from China are encouraged to consult the Novel Coronavirus in China Travel Health Notice on the Government of Canada Travel and Tourism page regularly, as recommendations may change over the course of your travel as new information becomes available.  No matter where students and families plan to travel, the Public Health Agency of Canada recommends that they consult Government of Canada Travel and Tourism page, as this is the Government of Canada’s official source of destination-specific travel information. This web page provides important advice to help travelers make informed decisions and travel safely while abroad.  Students and their families should always tell their health care providers about their travel history if they become ill after returning to Canada.

 
Advice on masks from Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry:
“The thing about masks is we know that they are very important in certain situations. If I'm sick, my wearing a mask keeps my droplets in. It does help prevent transmission to other people. That's why we ask somebody who's sick, who's going to an emergency department, for example, if you have a cough or respiratory symptoms, we ask you to put on a mask and clean your hands. Where it's not known is how effective wearing a mask in the community is when you are not sick yourself. The masks may give you a false sense of security. The most important thing that you can do in the community is to wash your hands regularly.”
 
Reducing the risk
The BC Centre for Disease Control recommends that to reduce the risk of exposure to novel coronavirus, employ the same measures that are taken in relation to colds and flu:
  • Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds using soap and hot water (it is the single most effective way of reducing infection spread).
  • Practice other good hygiene habits: do not touch your face/eyes/mouth with your hands, and cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough (ideally with a disposable tissue or the crease of your elbow).
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched workspace surfaces.
  • Maintain good general health (eat a balanced diet, get enough sleep, exercise in moderation).
  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • A new toll-free phone number (1-833-784-4397) has been established to answer questions from Canadians about the 2019 novel coronavirus. Service is available from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. until January 29 and from 7 a.m. to midnight starting January 30 (Eastern Standard Time).
Further information about novel coronavirus is available on the BC Centre for Disease Control website.


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January 29, 2020

B.C. Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, announced on January 28, 2020, that the first case of novel coronavirus has been confirmed in B.C. Further details from the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education are available here.

We understand our students, staff and parents/guardians may have questions about coronavirus.

We can assure you that we are in regular communication with the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health and our local health authority to make public health decisions, and to ensure students and employees are kept informed and safe. We will continue to be in close contact with public health officials and, with that in mind, would ask that you do not make assumptions about the risk of students or staff based on their ethnicity or travel history.

Fake news regarding coronavirus is starting to circulate on social media. We encourage students, staff and their families to refer to official sources such as the BC Centre for Disease Control for the latest information and updates: http://www.bccdc.ca/


Reducing the risk:

The BC Centre for Disease Control recommends that to reduce the risk of exposure to novel coronavirus, employ the same measures that are taken in relation to colds and flu:

  • Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds using soap and hot water (it is the single most effective way of reducing infection spread).
  • Practice other good hygiene habits: do not touch your face/eyes/mouth with your hands, and cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough (ideally with a disposable tissue or the crease of your elbow).
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched workspace surfaces.
  • Maintain good general health (eat a balanced diet, get enough sleep, exercise in moderation).
  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • A new toll-free phone number (1-833-784-4397) has been established to answer questions from Canadians about the 2019 novel coronavirus. Service is available from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. until January 29 and from 7 a.m. to midnight starting January 30 (Eastern Standard Time).

Further information about novel coronavirus is available on the BC Centre for Disease Control website.


Advice for students and families considering travel:

  • Students and families considering travel to and from China are encouraged to consult the Travel Health Notice (https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/advisories/pneumonia-china) for China on travel.gc.ca regularly, as recommendations may change over the course of your travel as new information becomes available.
  • No matter where students and families plan to travel, the Public Health Agency of Canada recommends that they consult travel.gc.ca, which is the Government of Canada's official source of destination-specific travel information. It provides important advice to help travellers make informed decisions and travel safely while abroad.
  • Students and their families should always tell their health care providers about their travel history if they become ill after returning to Canada.

Advice on masks from Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry:

"The thing about masks is we know that they are very important in certain situations. If I'm sick, my wearing a mask keeps my droplets in. It does help prevent transmission to other people. That's why we ask somebody who's sick, who's going to an emergency department, for example, if you have a cough or respiratory symptoms, we ask you to put on a mask and clean your hands.

"We also know that it's really important for health care workers to wear masks when they're assessing people because we're getting very close to people. We're doing things like sticking nasal pharyngeal swabs down their throat and that can make people cough. They need to wear masks and eye protection as well. We know they're very effective at that.

"Where it's not known is how effective wearing a mask in the community is when you are not sick yourself. The masks may give you a false sense of security. The most important thing that you can do in the community is to wash your hands regularly. The viruses like this need to be inhaled into your lungs - same with influenza and RSV that we're also seeing quite a lot of here in Vancouver, and also in China, I might add. The vast majority of the people that we're seeing who have come from China who have symptoms don't have this coronavirus. They have all of the other respiratory viruses that we see this time of year. Really important is to clean your hands regularly. If you're touching something and it has droplets on it with virus in it, as long as you clean your hands before you touch your face or your mouth, you're not going to be at risk of getting that virus in your body. It's not something that comes in through the skin. It needs to get into your mucous membranes and breathed into your lungs. That's really important - covering your mouth when you cough so you're not exposing other people. If you are sick yourself, stay away from others. Contact your health care provider ahead of time so you can be safely assessed."


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January 28, 2020

The following is information provided by the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education:

B.C. Provincial Health Officer Bonnie Henry has announced that the first case of novel coronavirus has been confirmed in B.C. Further details are available HERE.

The Ministry of Education will continue to work closely with the Ministry of Health, local health authorities and other levels of government to ensure students and school district employees are kept informed and safe. Local health authorities are closely monitoring the situation. There is ongoing monitoring throughout B.C., nationally and internationally.

All necessary precautions are being taken to prevent the spread of infection.

There is no need to restrict any activities for students or staff, or to cancel school events or field trips to public spaces or events.

The BC Centre for Disease Control recommends that to reduce the risk of exposure to novel coronavirus, employ the same measures that are taken in relation to colds and flu:

  • Wash your hands frequently (it is the single most effective way of reducing infection spread).
  • Practice other good hygiene habits: do not touch your face/eyes/mouth with your hands, and cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough (ideally with a disposable tissue or the crease of your elbow).
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched workspace surfaces.
  • Maintain good general health (eat a balanced diet, get enough sleep, exercise in moderation).
  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • Contact 8-1-1 (HealthLink BC) or your health care provider for questions about your personal health situation.

Further information about novel coronavirus are available on the BC Centre for Disease Control website.

Please note: School districts do not have the authority to make public health decisions. If steps are taken in relation to a public health concern, it is at the direction of the Ministry of Health and local health authorities. At this time, school districts have not been directed to take steps in relation to coronavirus. The North Vancouver School District is in regular communication with the Ministry of Education, Vancouver Coastal Health and school districts across the province.

Please visit the school district website for further updates.