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Safety Plan for COVID-19 Exposure Control

*Any updates made to sections of our SD48 Safety Plan for COVID-19 Exposure Control will lead with an asterisk and the text will be in green. The date of the amendment will be provided at the bottom of the section.


On March 17, 2020 the Provincial Health Officer (PHO) identified a pandemic risk to the province and declared a public health emergency and a provincial state of emergency related to the international spread of the Coronavirus-2019.

The Ministry of Education, in collaboration with the PHO, has directed school districts to “begin the new school year with the goal to maximize in-class instruction for all students” under Stage 2 of the K-12 Education Restart Plan by “implementing a comprehensive suite of COVID-19 safety measures” and maintaining these foundational principles:

  • Maintain a healthy and safe environment for all students, families and staff.
  • Provide the services needed to support the children of our essential workers (ESWs).
  • Support vulnerable students who may need special assistance.
  • Provide continuity of educational opportunity for all students.

Further details of these directions can be found here:

The health and wellbeing of our students, staff, and families is a top priority for School District No.48 (SD48). This SD48 Safety Plan for COVID-19 Exposure Control plan has been developed to ensure the health of our educational community through the evolving situation with COVID-19. This plan will be reviewed as new information becomes available and amended as needed, in accordance with provincial direction. Staff may wish to review this important information at WorkSafeBC COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions.

Each school/site is expected to meet as a School/Site Occupational Health and Safety Committee to write a site-specific plan fully aligned with School District 48’s COVID Exposure Plan. *The British Columbia Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) has developed a COVID-19 School Health & Safety Checklist that can support these safety plan reviews. Based on reviews of provincial school-based exposures, the following key areas should be reviewed before February 26, 2021:

  1. Prevent crowding at all times (e.g. start and end of day).
  2. Avoid close face-to-face contact whenever possible. 
  3. Assign staff to a specific cohort whenever possible. 
  4. Stagger break times whenever possible (e.g. recess/lunch/class transition).
  5. Ensure that the use of masks does not reduce or replace practicing physical distancing and other prevention measures, for both students and staff.
  6. Ensure prevention measures are in place in staff-only areas (e.g. lunch rooms). 
  7. Ensure physical activity and music class are delivered in line with the guidance in this document. 
All staff, students, parents/guardians, contracted services, and community members accessing our sites are expected to follow this safety plan and those specific to each school/site.
*Updated February 26, 2021

The following risk assessment information is based on the best evidence currently available from the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) (BCCDC COVID-19 Public Health Guidance for K-12 School Settings). This site will be updated as new information becomes available.

The virus that causes COVID-19 spreads in several ways, including through droplets when a person coughs or sneezes, and from touching a contaminated surface before touching the face. Higher risk situations require adequate protocols to address the risk. The risk of person-to-person transmission is increased the closer people are to one another, the amount of time people are near one another, and the number of people near one another. Physical distancing measures help mitigate this risk. The risk of surface transmission is increased when many people contact the same surface, and when those contacts happen in short intervals of time. Effective cleaning and hygiene practices help reduce the risk.

COVID-19 and Children

  • COVID-19 virus has a very low transmission rate in children (ages 0 to19).
    • In B.C., less than 1% of children tested have been COVID-19 positive.
  • Most children are not at high risk for COVID-19 transmission.
    • Children under 10 comprise a smaller proportion of the total confirmed child cases compared to children between the ages of 10 and 19.
  • Based on published literature to date, the majority of cases in children are the result of household transmission by droplet spread from a symptomatic adult family member with COVID-19. Even in family clusters, adults appear to be the primary drivers of transmission.
  • Children under one year of age, and those who are immunocompromised or have pre-existing pulmonary conditions are at a higher risk of more severe illness from COVID-19.
    • Children who are at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 can still receive in-person instruction. Parents and caregivers are encouraged to consult with their health-care provider to determine their child’s level of risk.
  • Children typically have much milder symptoms of COVID-19, if any. They often present with low-grade fever and a dry cough. Gastrointestinal symptoms are more common in children than with adults over the course of disease, while skin changes are less common in children than with adults.

COVID-19 and Adults

  • While COVID-19 impacts adults more than children, most adults infected with COVID-19 will have mild symptoms that do not require care outside of the home.
  • Some adults with specific health circumstances are at an increased risk for more severe outcomes, including individuals:
    • aged 65 and over;
    • with compromised immune systems; or,
    • with underlying medical conditions.

COVID-19 and Schools

  • There is limited evidence of confirmed transmission within school settings. This is partially due to wide-spread school closures worldwide at the onset of the pandemic to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
    • In documented cases, there was typically minimal spread beyond the index case though isolated outbreaks have been reported.
  • Children do not appear to be the primary drivers of COVID-19 spread in schools or in community settings.
  • Schools and childcare facility closures can have significant mental health and socioeconomic impacts on families and children, especially those most vulnerable. 
  • Prevention measures and mitigation strategies involving children must be commensurate with risk.

The PHO has provided the following Infection Prevention Framework for Infection Prevention and Exposure Measures for Communicable Disease. This SD48 Safety Plan and the Signal Hill Elementary Safety Plan for COVID-19 Exposure Control uses this framework to describe the safety planning expectations for everyone in the school district and for everyone at Signal Hill Elementary.


Public Health Measures include Orders from the PHO, improved testing, and contact tracing. Signal Hill Elementary is expected to follow the directions of the PHO, Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH), the Ministry of Education (MOE), BC Center for Disease Control, and WorkSafeBC for the BC K-12 Education sector.

The PHO oversees active testing of people with COVID-19 symptoms. Should a person working or learning in our school be identified by VCH as testing positive for COVID-19, the protocols within Board Policy 303: Communicable Diseases will be followed. If a staff or student is a confirmed case of COVID-19, public health will determine if they were at school during their infectious period, the period during which COVID-19 may be transmitted to other people. If public health determines that there was an exposure risk at school, they will notify the school administrator and work with them to provide further notification and recommended actions to exposed individuals or classrooms as required. 

The PHO has placed restrictions on public gatherings through the PHO Order for Mass Gathering Events which are distinct from those expectations established for in-class instruction in the K to 12 Education Sector. Information on Learning Group Cohorts established for in-class instruction can be found below under Administrative Measures. For all other gatherings at Signal Hill Elementary the PHO Order must be followed. For example, the Signal Hill PAC meetings will limit in person attendance at PAC meetings to fewer than 50 people. The remaining attendees will be advised to join the PAC meeting through the posted online methodology.

Stage 2 Physical Distancing and Minimizing Physical Contact 

To reduce the number of people that each student or staff member comes into contact with, thereby reducing the risk of transmission and ensuring quicker contact tracing by health authorities, the PHO has established clear guidelines under Stage 2 of the Return to School Plan. Students and staff from within the same Learning Group cohort should minimize physical contact with one another and all students and staff should maintain *2m of physical distancing from anyone outside of their Learning Group cohort. At Signal Hill:

    • we will have 9 Learning Cohorts where
      • each cohort will be comprised of a maximum of 2 classes;
      • each cohort will take their breaks together;
      • each cohort will attend additional learning activities together;
    • SHE is scheduled to have a staggered lunch.  Intermediate cohorts will be on the big playing field, circle area(s) with the trees,  and back lot with the basketball hoops. The primary cohorts will be on the playground(s) behind and to the side of the primary wing, the single basketball hoop area by the strong start portable and area by the gaga ball court. 
  • ingress and egress of staff to occur, as often as possible, via the accessible door at the main entrance to the building;
  • ingress and egress of students to occur only through their exterior classroom doors. Students will line up on the posted markers and follow the prompts of their teacher who will facilitate physical distancing and handwashing upon entering and exiting the building;
    • In the case of field trips, teachers must close their outside door when leaving the building. Upon return they may call the office to notify clerical, or alternatively, can send a student in the school to let the class in their classroom door.
  • signage is posted at entrances outlining expectations for entry, hand washing, and physical distancing expectations;
  • posters are used to address traffic flow throughout the school;
  • barriers or markers are installed in places where physical distance cannot regularly be maintained (e.g. front reception desk where visitors check in);
  • breaks, lunch, and class transition times are staggered to provide a greater amount of space for everyone;
  • where applicable, additional areas are provided for staff to take breaks, including outdoors;
  • transportation strategies are created that prevent crowding at pick-up and drop-off times:
    • Busses will be available for pick up at the dismissal bell
    • Buss drop off times will be as close to the morning start bell as possible
  • guidelines, as well as appropriate signage and communication plans, are created for the appropriate use of school property before and after school and during recesses/lunch breaks (for example, students interacting with students outside of their cohort should minimizing physical contact when outdoors and maintain a physical distance of 2 metres when indoors):
    • Office: Please phone the office if you have a question or inquiry. A window has been set up to the office when in-person visits are required.
      • Staff members and PAC executives, please come to the window to get your mail from clerical. 
    • Staff Room: Physical distancing requirements are still in place-staff room occupancy limit is 6 people at one time.
      • Pack in and pack out all food and dishware/utensils.
    • Mail Room: Staff may access their mailboxes via the staff room. Staff room occupancy limit is 6 and mail room occupancy limit is 2. Please adhere to occupancy limits in both rooms.
    • Photocopy Room: Photocopiers are now located in the Teacher Prep room in the Library.
      • Sanitize/wipe down the copier and counters touched before leaving. 
      • Physical distancing requirements are still in place-photocopy room occupancy limit is 2 people at one time.
    • Washrooms: only the multi-stall staff washroom, and primary hallway staff washroom will be used:
      • Staff are to use the washrooms one person at a time, wipe down handles and counters as you leave.
      • Please prop the door open as you leave. 
      • The universal washroom in the front of the building is now being used as a hand washing station. Please do not use the toilet in the universal washroom. 
      • Students will use the washrooms in the intermediate and primary wings respectively. Two students will be permitted to use the washroom at a time.
      • Designated markers in the hall will indicate where students can wait for washroom use.
    • Playground: Playground spaces are open. Playgrounds will not be cleaned or disinfected after use.  Teachers will facilitate student handwashing before and after use of the playground. Students can engage in non-contact play.
    • Classrooms/Workspaces: 
      • Students will enter and exit the classrooms through the outside doorway to the classroom and line up on designated markers.
      • Non-enrolling teachers, itinerant teachers, ISWs and EA’s will either be attached to a cohort or be required to physically distance if working outside their learning cohort. 

Stage 3 Physical Distancing and Minimizing Physical Contact 

  • Physical distancing for staff at all times; and
  • Physical distancing for elementary students when interacting outside of their learning groups. 
  • Refer to Stage 3 infographic posted June 2020.

Stage 2 Restricted Access to SD48 Sites 

Signal Hill Elementary remains closed to non-essential community use at this time. School staff are requested to reduce their use of the school building during the evening on school days and avoid working at the school site on the weekends. Anyone needing an exception made must gain approval from the school principal.

  • parents, caregivers, and other visitors remain outside of the school to drop off their children;
  • all inquiries or requests to schools are done through phone or email;
  • approved external visits to the school are prioritized to those adults supporting activities that are of benefit to student learning and wellbeing (e.g. teacher candidates, mental health clinicians, immunizers, meal program volunteers, etc.);
  • adult visitors who are approved to enter the school will follow signage that is in place to indicate how the visitor is to proceed and that the visitor is placed on the school contact list for that day, has completed the requirements of a daily health check, is wearing a non-medical mask (or provide one for them), and sanitizes their hands when they enter the building;
  • Signal Hill will maintain a list of the names, dates, and contact information for all visitors who are approved to enter the school. *The contact list will be held for a period of 30 days for the purposes of contact tracing. 
  • On December 17, 2020, WorkSafeBC revised its guidelines for the employee Daily Health Check. All employees are now required to inform their supervisor, using a site-based method, of their having performed the self-assessment on a daily basis:
    • at Signal Hill, all staff members are required to initial and check a document that they have preformed their self-assessment;
    • if staff have any of the symptoms or potential exposures listed on the health check, they are to not enter the building, or, if already entered, will leave the building; and,
    • the document will be located at the front office beside the daily health check poster.


Signal Hill Elementary is designated as “closed campuses” for students during the instructional day:

  • all families and students understand that students are to remain on school property during the instructional day, including breaks and lunch time; and,
  • if a student needs to leave school for an appointment, the student must sign out of the school and, upon return, sign back in and wash their hands before rejoining their Learning Group.
    • Students signing in and out of the school will use the front entrance.
    • Students who arrive late to school (arriving after 9:15am) will enter the school via the front entrance and sign in with the office.

StrongStart and child care programs will still be operational:

  • all participants follow the school site safety plan and the recommended preventative measures (e.g. stay home when sick, hand hygiene etc.);
  • maintain daily attendance records;
  • the capacity for occupancy is limited and that the number of families attending are able to physically distance; and,
  • the program is encouraged to increase outdoor activity.

Stage 3 Restricted Access to Signal Hill Elementary

The same restrictions to accessing school applies as under Stage 2 with some additional limits. For example, StrongStart programming will not be offered in person. Programming may be offered at an alternative location or online.

Stage 2 Community Use Groups at Signal Hill Elementary

Signal Hill Elementary is limiting Community User Groups at this time to those where the cleaning required for the user group does not impede with the custodial team’s ability to adequately clean the school for maximum in-class instruction at the site and to those user groups which are able to submit a Safety Plan outlining their approach to ensuring appropriate health and safety protocols are maintained. Safety Plans will be submitted to the Director of Operations for approval.

User Group Safety Plans must include:

  • daily health checks of individual user group members prior to entering the building;
  • washing hands before entering the building and frequently throughout;
  • notification that participants stay at home if they are feeling ill;
  • a list of the date, names, and contact information for any user group members who entered the school; 
  • maintaining a maximum of 50 people in alignment with the Gatherings and Events Order of the PHO. Additional information is available from the BCCDC for gatherings and events in community settings; 
  • members practicing diligent hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette; 
  • physical distancing among older youth and adults; 
  • limiting building access to only those areas required for the purpose of the activity; 
  • a process for identifying the used equipment to ensure proper disinfecting can take place by SD48 custodians; and,
  • community members’ ability to bring their own equipment, where appropriate.

Stage 3 Community Use Groups at Signal Hill Elementary 

There will not be non-essential community use of school facilities.

Stage 2 & 3 School Gatherings 

School gatherings during the instructional day should generally only occur within designated Learning Group cohorts *whenever possible, should be held outdoors. Physical Distancing *and mask use is required for in-person school gatherings.  *Examinations or assessments are not considered school gatherings, however, they are still required to be delivered in accordance with the health and safety guidelines in this document. SHE will have 9 Learning Cohorts in Stage 2. These gatherings should happen infrequently and typical assemblies and other school-wide events should be held virtually.

Staff Meetings involving staff from different Learning Groups should preferably occur through virtual means. Where a virtual alternative is not possible, staff meetings can happen in person if participants *are able to maintain physical distance and are required to wear a mask. 

Extracurricular activities, outside of the instructional day, including sports, arts, or special interest clubs are encouraged at Signal Hill Elementary. As always, a staff representative should be assigned to the group and ensure that physical distancing of *2m is being maintained between anyone from different Learning Group cohorts and reduced physical contact is being maintained by those within the same Learning Group cohort (stage two only).

Inter-school events including competitions, tournaments and festivals, may not occur at this time. Inter-school events will be reevaluated by the PHO in mid-fall 2020 and/or as new information becomes available.


*Emergency and Evacuation Drills
Schools must continue to practice emergency (e.g. fire, earthquake, lockdown) and evacuation drills, including the six required annual fire drills as per BC Fire Code and modify current drill procedures with the health and safety guidelines (e.g, providing additional muster spots to keep Learning Group Cohorts adequately separated and also maintaining enough space at each muster station to prevent overcrowding within each Learning Group Cohort). 

Principals must ensure that: 
  • staff is notified in advance of drills (e.g. no “surprise drills”), 
  • total evacuation drills are conducted involving all occupants in the school. Partial evacuations involving smaller groups of students does not comply with the Fire Code,
  • the school fire safety plan is updated on an annual basis (e.g. the plan takes into account the current pandemic protocols), and, 
  • the school fire safety plan is developed in cooperation with the local fire department and reviewed by SD48s Director of Operations - Ian Currie. 

Stage 2 & 3 Physical Spaces

Signal Hill Elementary has implemented and will continue to follow the Draft SD48 Room Readiness Policy for creating and maintaining open, spacious, flexible, and hygienic learning and working environments. For clarity, the Draft SD48 Room Readiness Policy was not created specifically as a COVID-19 exposure control measure. Rather, it is intended as an ongoing plan to support our collective social responsibility to a high standard of cleanliness and care at all times. When all staff and students tidy up after their own activities, remove unnecessary clutter, and maintain orderly spaces, it supports custodial staff to more easily clean high touch and other surfaces for important hygiene safety standards. Please note that input collected from staff and partners over time will inform the further development of the Draft SD48 Room Readiness Policy. 

Under the Draft SD48 Room Readiness Policy, including some additional measures for COVID-19 exposure control, staff are asked to:

  • eliminate all clutter, including the removal of rarely used materials currently being stored in the classroom or work space;
  • place school district resources in a central storage area rather than in classrooms or work spaces;
  • take all personal items home, including personal learning resources not currently being used by students;
  • ensure students take personal items home daily and that all elementary ‘coat/cloak rooms’ are empty at the end of each day;
  • make every effort, where deemed necessary, to store students’ items like indoor shoes or extra dry clothes inside closed cupboards;
  • reduce the number of high touch surfaces in all rooms; 
  • remove all materials from any remaining surface areas, including desks/countertops, sink areas, workstations, and staff rooms; and,
  • ensure that all classrooms/work spaces that are not in use are cleaned, closed, and locked.

School water fountains are disabled. Signage and training are in place to support everyone in using the water filling stations. Students and staff will need to bring their own personal water bottle to use at water filling stations. Compostable cups will be made available on site if needed.

Stage 2 Density Reduction 

People at Signal Hill are to maintain *2m of physical distancing and will not crowd, gather, or congregate with people from different Learning Groups, even if non-medical masks are being worn. In order to support this, efforts have been made to reduce density where possible, including:

  • SHE will have 9 Learning Cohorts 
  • SHE is scheduled to have a staggered lunch.  Intermediate cohorts will be on the big playing field, circle area(s) with the trees,  and back lot with the basketball hoops. The primary cohorts will be on the playground(s) behind and to the side of the primary wing, the single basketball hoop area by the strong start portable and area by the gaga ball court. 
  • establishing and posting occupancy limits for shared spaces, such as lunch rooms & washrooms;
  • providing, where applicable, additional areas for staff to take breaks, including outdoors;
  • if two or more Learning Groups share the same learning space, they are to enter and leave the space safely;
    • e.g. Learning Group A enters the space first and is seated on the far side of the room as indicated by signage; Learning Group B follows and is seated on the near side of the room as indicated by signage. Process reversed at dismissal.
  • outside spaces for student learning will be utilized as often as possible;
  • guidelines for school arrival and departure times and instructions to students and parents and guardians for specific entrances and exits to the building for the arrival and dismissal of students
    • Refer to Stage 2 of section 3.2 Environmental Measures above for specific guidelines
  • a specific plan for students to, where possible, remain in their Learning Group during lunch and break times will be implemented;
    • staggered schedules will be necessary to ensure that all Learning Groups have adequate space for breaks;

Stage 3 and 4 Density Reduction

In addition to the requirements of stages 3 and 4,  the Stage 3 Density targets of 50% for their schools and Stage 4 Density targets of 25% will be adhered to.

Children of Essential Services workers will be offered full-time in-class instruction during school hours:

  • children of Essential Service Workers (ESW’s) aged 5-12 are identified;
  • children of ESWs aged 5-12 are provided access to full-time in-class instruction; 
  • children of ESWs over 12 who are vulnerable or have a disability that precludes them from being at home alone will be offered full-time in class instruction; and,
  • density targets are maintained.

Vulnerable students who may need special assistance will be offered full-time in-class instruction. Examples of students who require additional support K-12 (children and youth in care, students at risk of not graduating, ‘at-risk’ students, students not yet meeting literacy expectations, students with an AIP, IEP, etc.).

  • all students with disabilities, diverse abilities, and children who require additional support will have access to full-time in-class instruction.

Stage 2 & 3 School Playgrounds

Signal Hill Elementary’s playgrounds will be opened. Note, community members using school district playgrounds do so at their own risk and that surfaces will not be disinfected. Playground Use School Signs are posted around each playground.

Stage 2 & 3 Cleaning and Disinfection

SD48 Pandemic Guide for Custodial Operations provides pandemic cleaning procedures required at our school in accordance with directions from the BCCDC’s Cleaning and Disinfectants for Public Settings. Regular cleaning and disinfecting are essential to preventing the transmission of COVID-19:

  • In collaboration with the Director of Operations and custodial staff, Signal Hill Elementary has developed a schedule for general cleaning and disinfecting at least once every 24 hours, including items that only a single student uses (e.g. desks and chairs):
    • Custodian shifts will start at 10:00am, 2:30pm and 4:00pm daily;
    • Day shift custodians will maintain the frequent cleaning of high touch surfaces during regular school hours;
    • The after school custodians will complete the general cleaning and disinfecting of the school, including the second disinfecting of high touch surfaces;
    • Custodians will be on-site daily to disinfect washrooms (except in the case of kindergarten washrooms);
    • cleaning and disinfecting high touch surfaces will occur at least twice every 24 hours (e.g. door handles, cupboard handles, handrails, grab handles, light switches, desk tops, counter tops, shared keyboards and devices, phones, washrooms and associated handles, etc.);
    • Staff will accommodate the sanitizing of the school by attempting to leave by 4:00pm so custodians can clean all active rooms thoroughly.
    • Each room will have a bottle of disinfectant, and paper towel supply.
  • *hand hygiene is practiced before and after use for commonly used equipment (e.g. PE/sports equipment) and the equipment is cleaned at least twice in 24hours, including at least once during regular school hours; 
  • only school district provided liquids (these will be commonly used and commercially available cleaners and detergents) and/or soap and water for cleaning surfaces are used;
  • items which cannot be easily cleaned are removed (e.g. plush toys);
  • any surface that is visibly dirty is cleaned and disinfected;
  • *frequently touched items that are not easily cleaned are limited. These items can continue to be used, if hand hygiene is practiced before and after use;
  • frequently touched items that are not easily cleaned are limited;
  • appliances (microwaves, refrigerators, coffee pots, photocopies etc.) can be shared but are considered high touch services;
  • paper hand towels are provided in the washrooms as hand dryers have been disabled;
  • garbage, recycling, and composting containers are emptied daily;
  • usual safety standards will be followed when cleaning up blood or bodily fluids (e.g. runny nose, vomit, urine) by wearing disposable gloves and washing hands before and after wearing gloves are followed;

There are no additional cleaning and disinfecting procedures beyond those that are normally implemented and those noted in this document which are required. This includes when different Learning Group cohorts use the same space (e.g. a classroom, gym, arts room, home economics or science lab, etc.) and when Learning Group cohorts are changed after a quarter, semester, or term.

*According to the provincial guidelines, there is no evidence that the COVID-19 virus is transmitted via textbooks, paper, or other paper-based products. There is no need to limit the distribution of books or paper based educational resources to students. Laminated or glossy paper based products (e.g. children books) and items with plastic covers can be contaminated; however, there is no need for these items to be cleaned and disinfected or quarantined for any period of time, or hand hygiene to be practiced before or after use.

Stage 2 & 3 Designated Space for Symptoms Management

Signal Hill Elementary has developed a plan to manage a situation where a student or staff member develops symptoms (BCCDC COVID-19 Daily Health Check) at school:

  • room 302 will be the supervised area with signage and protocols, away from others, to separate the symptomatic student or staff (should the staff member be unable to leave the site immediately);
  • there will be a primary supervisor and a  secondary supervisor assigned to symptoms management;
  • the supervisors will be trained on the safety protocols to support students and/or staff;
  • contact the student’s parent/guardian for pickup as soon as possible;
  • supervisors will maintains a *2m physical distance (stages 2-4) from the student, if possible and, if not possible, that the supervisor wears a mask to cover their nose and mouth;
  • masks will be available in this designated space;
  • support the student in using the mask;
  • used masks or tissues are disposed of as soon as possible;
  • students and staff will wash their hands when entering the space and when leaving it;
  • all staff, and especially the supervisor in this designated area, will avoid touching any student’s body fluids (e.g. mucous, saliva) and to wash their hands right away if this does occur;
  • the supervisor will wash their hands once the student has been picked up; and,
  • the space where the student or staff member was separated and any areas used by them are cleaned and disinfected promptly.

In all incidences of someone demonstrating symptoms of COVID-19, the principal must contact the Director of Instruction: Learning Services, who will coordinate communication with the local public health unit. Principals may also contact 8-1-1 or the local public health number for further guidance. Further to this, schools and school districts should notify their local medical health officer if staff and/or student absenteeism exceeds ten percent of regular attendance.

Stage 2 & 3 Ventilation and Air Exchange

SD48 will continue to maintain Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) rated filters in the air systems in our schools. SD48 will consult with a mechanical engineer to determine if airflow exchange meets the PHO requirements, at each site, prior to school opening. School building ventilation/air exchanges will be enhanced, if necessary, as a result of the mechanical engineer’s recommendations. *Good indoor air ventilation alone cannot protect people from exposure to COVID-19; however, it may reduce risk when used in addition to other preventive measures. The district has procured and installed MERV 13 filters in all of our schools. Where possible, open windows if weather permits and HVAC system function will not be negatively impacted. 


*Updated February 26, 2021

*Updated April 1, 2021

Administrative measures include the implementation of policies, procedures, and related training and education which reduce the risk of exposure. Examples of these include health and wellness policies, cohorts, modified schedules and supporting the ability of individuals to maintain physical distance.


Teaching and Learning

The Ministry of Education states that, “throughout all stages of the pandemic, school districts are expected to maintain the high educational standards set out in the K-12 legislative framework: the Policy for Student Success and Framework for Enhancing Student Learning.” Further, the ministry outlines that teachers will continue to work with their students to cover all required learning standards of the curriculum including an emphasis on the First Peoples Principles of Learning. The SD48 Pathways to Learning website provides evidence based and trauma informed direction for personalized learning. SD48 educators should continue to reference the research, strategies, and structures within Pathways to Learning to guide all decision making for student wellness and learning and school organization. Additionally, teachers are encouraged to plan for activities that allow for a transition between in-class and remote learning in the event of a transition between Stages. We will be providing a K-9 online (Distributed Learning) home education program as an alternative to homeschooling  for those children who cannot return to school at this time.


Stage 2 Field Trips

All international and overnight field trips are cancelled. When planning a local field trip, Signal Hill will ensure that:

  • existing policies and procedures as well as the COVID-19 health and safety guidelines are followed;
  • field trip locations provide supervisors with their COVID-19 operating plan, ensuring that it does not conflict with the school’s plan, and is shared with parents and administration;
  • parent volunteer drivers are not involved (not permitted in stages 2-4); and,
  • volunteers providing supervision are trained in and strictly adhere to physical distancing and all other health and safety guidelines *(including wearing masks).

Stage 3 and 4 Field Trips

No Field Trips shall occur in stages 3 and 4.


Mental Health Supports

It is expected that every school submit a plan to the district outlining how they will monitor and support each student’s mental health and well-being daily, including the incorporation of K to 12 Career and Life Education (CLE) curriculum critical to a sense of self, identity, personal planning, personalized student learning plans, etc. Evidence based approaches, such as First Peoples Principles of Learning to incorporate Indigenous Ways of Knowing, Being, and Doing, should be used to create time and space for the adult advocate and the student peers to connect with each other and check in on each other’s wellness. Local circle protocols are prevalent in SD48 classrooms and are an example of one way to incorporate this time and relevant topics into a daily routine. The SD48 Education Plan: Pathways to Learning has a drop down menu where student e-folios and The Four Blankets are described as our approach to student self assessment of their resilience and for teachers to scan and assess the prevalence of each child’s important layers (blankets) of connections and supports.

  • At Signal Hill, circle protocol will be a daily morning activity for check in with students:
    • Embedded in curriculum, school and classroom routines are the 6 Lil'wat Learning Principles;
    • Embedded in curriculum, school and classroom routines are the First Peoples Principles of Learning;
    • A strong sense of self, family, community, culture and language is weaved into our everyday way of being, learning and doing (Please refer to our School Learning Plan);
    • To support a positive school experience, public health encourages parents to explore the provincial Erase website for a list of mental health resources for parents, caregivers, students and staff that are focused on building safe, caring and resilient school communities. SD48 also encourages parents to connect with their classroom teacher if a child is feeling anxious. Given the links between mental and physical health, public health also encourages exploring ways to integrate greater opportunities for movement during the school day, including the promotion of active transportation to and from school, which also has infection prevention benefits.


Inclusion and Personalization

Principals and School Based Teams must plan for students who require more support in school to have full-time, in-class instruction available. The SD48 My Action Plan (MAP) includes space for each student to write their own Student Learning Plan and the supports from which they benefit. All students are to be supported in completing their MAP and in having time and space to walk through their plan with their CLE teacher. All necessary supports must be provided using inclusive approaches. Principals and School Based Teams must also provide an educational program for students who need to stay at home because they are immunocompromised. Children and youth in care are to have priority access to technology, child care, in-class instruction, and additional supports.

  • SHE School Based Team meets weekly to ensure students are supported.

Stage 2 Learning Group Cohorts

To achieve maximum in-class instruction for September, Signal Hill Elementary will organize students into diverse Learning Group cohorts (Learning Groups). This will reduce the number of people each student or staff member comes into contact with, thereby reducing the risk of transmission and ensuring quicker contact tracing by health authorities. Signal Hill will strive to minimize the number of different staff members that interact with groups of students throughout the day as much as possible while continuing to support learning and a positive, healthy and safe environment. There are no additional cleaning or disinfecting procedures required beyond those that are normally implemented when Learning Groups are reorganized or when different Learning Groups use the same space.


A Learning Group is a group of students and staff who remain together throughout the year and who primarily interact with each other. The groups are made in collaboration with classroom staff members, school based team, administration and the SHE  line director, to create specific cohorts of students and staff as Learning Groups of up to a maximum of 60 people.

  • SHE will have 9 Learning Cohorts
  • SHE is scheduled to have a staggered lunch.  Intermediate cohorts will be on the big playing field, circle area(s) with the trees,  and back lot with the basketball hoops. The primary cohorts will be on the playground(s) behind and to the side of the primary wing, the single basketball hoop area by the strong start portable and area by the gaga ball court. 
  • Please see the SD48 Learning Group cohort infographic for more detailed information regarding Learning Groups
  • Elementary Programs are organized by Learning Group cohorts of up to 60 students and staff as the primary learning environment where a teacher learning team and their students can interact more regularly.
  • Within a Learning Group, minimized physical contact and *avoiding prolonged face-to-face interactions is required;
  • Outside of a Learning Group, physical distancing of *2m remains the expectation for all students and staff even when wearing a mask;
  • Learning Groups are diverse in their composition, and established in a manner that reflects the principles of equity and inclusion, and does not result in segregated learning environments for students with disabilities/diverse abilities;
  • Learning Groups stay together throughout the day, including unstructured times such as lunch, breaks, classroom changes, etc;
  • students are supported within each Learning Group to minimize physical contact with each other *and to prevent crowding with each other (*2m physical distancing does not need to be maintained within a Learning Group);
  • students are supported with maintaining *2m physical distancing *and avoid face-to-face interactions from others outside of their Learning Group cohort during unstructured time such as break and lunch time. *Masks are not a replacement for physical distancing between students from different learning groups in the same learning space;
  • when students are singing, have them space out;
  • when having students participate in vigorous exercise, a plan is required, including having them space out or go outside
  • hand hygiene is practiced before and after use for commonly used equipment (e.g. PE/sports equipment) and the equipment is cleaned at least twice in 24 hours, including at least once during regular school hours;
  • the number of adults (staff and others) who interact with cohorts they are not a part of (to the extent possible while supporting learning and a positive, healthy, and safe environment) is minimized;
  • staff and other adults maintain *2m of physical distance from each other at all times, unless they are part of the same cohort. Masks are not a replacement for physical distancing between staff from different Learning Groups;
  • *current lists and contact information of all members of a cohort and others who work with that cohort (e.g. itinerant teachers, TOCs), are readily available; 
  • *consistent seating arrangement are encouraged where practical within Learning Groups;
  • a protocol is established for each Learning Group cohort to enter and exit their learning space for scheduled instructional time;
  • *itinerant staff and specialists should be assigned to a specific learning group wherever possible.

Stage 3 Learning Group Cohorts

Learning Group maximum cohort size for Elementary is up to 30 people with physical distancing of *2m for elementary school students and for all staff when working outside of their Learning Group.  SHE will have 18 Learning Cohorts.


*Physical and Health Education (PHE)/ Outdoor Programs/ Music Programs 
Schools are required to implement a PHE/Outdoors Program Plan and Music Program Plan into their local safety plan.
Signal Hill will ensure that school safety plans include the following:
  • *Staff are required to wear masks during PHE/outdoor program classes when indoors;
  • creation of space between students and staff;
  • encouragement of outdoor activities and programs;
  • do not involve prolonged physical contact (e.g. physical contact beyond a brief moment) or crowding (e.g. activities such as tag and touch football are low risk, whereas activities like wrestling or partner dancing should be avoided). Staff are encouraged to adapt activities when possible to reduce physical contact;
  • outdoor activities or alternatives are encouraged when physical contact cannot be avoided or be replaced with low-intensity exercise activities;  
  • shared equipment is cleaned and disinfected after each use; 
  • *for low intensity activities (e.g. yoga, walking), students are required to wear masks when they are indoors and when a barrier is not present.
  • *Masks can be temporarily removed while students in Grades 4 to 7 are engaging in an educational activity that cannot be performed while wearing a mask (e.g. playing a wind instrument) but must be worn while singing.
  • when students are singing or using a band instrument, have them space out;


Stage 2 & 3 Storage of Personal Items

Beyond the new Room Readiness Policy referenced in section 3.2, all staff and students are to refrain from the storage of personal items at school sites. Instead:

  • staff and students should pack in and pack out their personal items each day;
    • if space allows, students can leave their indoor shoes and a set of clothing in the classroom;
  • elementary Learning Groups are to scan each ‘coat/cloak room’ at the end of each day to ensure they are completely empty (unless space allows for the above bullet); and,
  • staff should not leave personal items in the classroom or in the staff/storage rooms.

Stage 2 Food Services

Food preparation as part of a learning program and the provision of food services for sale or as part of meal programs may continue: 

  • *for food contact surfaces, schools should ensure any sanitizers or disinfectants used are approved for use in food service applications and are appropriate for use against COVID-19;
  • if the usual food safe measures are implemented when food is prepared as part of learning and is consumed by the student(s) who prepared it;
  • *reminders that food and beverages are not to be shared; and,
  • if the usual food safe measures are implemented, and anyone preparing the food wears a mask and physically distances from others, for food which is prepared within or outside a school for consumption by people other than those that prepared it (including for sale). 
*Schools can continue to accept food donations to support learning and the delivery of meal programs, breakfast clubs and other food access initiatives. 

Stage 3 Food Services

Food services will be provided to vulnerable families, including those who receive regular nutritional support, as well as those with emerging needs. At Signal Hill, we will:

  • help families who receive regular nutritional support;
  • regularly assess which families have emerging needs for food support are provided a mechanism for requesting support;
  • plan for continuity of food support for students on days they are not in session; and
  • establish a plan for safe distribution of food (collaborate with existing food programs and community volunteers).

Homemade food items are not made available to other students at this time (e.g. birthday treats, bake sale items).


Stage 2 SD48 Transportation Safety Plan 

The SD48 Transportation Safety Plan follows the guidance from the PHO and BCCDC’s Cleaning and Disinfectants for Public Settings document.


SD48 will:

  • continue to provide school bus transportation according to Board Policy 701: Transportation of Students for eligible riders only - for clarity, there will not be courtesy ridership provided at this time;
  • encourage private (e.g. parents/guardians) vehicle use and car pools where possible to decrease ridership density and the likelihood of virus transmission;
  • provide heavy flexible plastic shields at the side and rear of the drivers’ seats to provide a barrier between the drivers and students, whenever possible;
  • provide every bus with a box of non-medical disposal mask and a bottle of hand sanitizer; 
  • establish new bussing schedules (pick up and drop off times) due to rider volume and/or staggered start and end times of each school;
  • communicate bussing schedule to parents; 
  • assign seating in the following priority order:
  1. students from the same household will share a seat; 
  2. students from the same Learning Group will share a seat;
  • if required, students from outside their Learning Group will share a seat; and,
  • maintain current passenger lists to share with public health when necessary. 

Bus drivers must:

  • clean their hands often, including before and after completing trips; 
  • clean and disinfect the high touch surface areas of the bus assigned to them at the start of their shift and between runs;
  • *open windows when the weather permits; 
  • *wear a non-medical mask on school buses, *except when driving a bus. Exceptions will be made for bus drivers who cannot wear masks for medical and/or disability-related reasons; and,
  • disinfect all internal surfaces of the bus after the final drop off for the day. 

Students must:

  • clean their hands before they leave home to take the bus, when they leave school prior to taking the bus, and when they get home; 
  • if possible, sit one student per seat only, if not living together;
  • *non-medical masks or face coverings are required for Grades 4 to 7 students. Kindergarten to Grade 3 students are encouraged to wear a non-medical mask or face covering on school buses but are not required to do so - mask wearing remains a personal or family/caregiver choice for these students, and their choices must be respected;
  • no student is required to wear a non-medical mask if they do not tolerate it;
  • remain seated at all times while on the bus and until given direction to stand and exit the bus;
  • enter according to their seating from back to front and exit from front to back; and, 
  • follow all other directions given by the bus driver, including possible new guidelines for school bus entry and exit.

Signal Hill Communication Strategies

In order to provide up to date information and clear direction to staff, students, parents, and the wider community, Signal Hill staff will:

  • post signage at entries, exits, and throughout traffic areas;
  • post the BCCDC hand washing poster at all handwashing stations;
  • provide parents with Returning to In-Class Instruction: A Prep Sheet for Families to assist with pre-teaching students about health and safety protocols;
  • send home reminders via email about all safety precautions;
  • maintain school website with all current information;
  • post school or site safety plans on their website; and, 
  • refer all media requests to the Office of the Superintendent.

Signal Hill Staff Training

  • OHS committees review the Site/School Safety Plan with all staff and ensure that all staff know how to follow the procedures;
  • staff meetings will include reminders of safe work procedures and personal measures, including signs and symptoms, hand washing, and cough/sneeze etiquette;
  • *newly hired staff and staff who change worksites;
  • information is provided to staff for how to report an exposure or symptoms of COVID-19; 
  • a shared plan for how to raise safety concerns to the site supervisor and Joint Health and Safety Committee;
  • keep records of instruction and training provided to workers regarding COVID-19, as well as reports of exposure and first aid records

Note: the Director of Operations will ensure that all custodians and bus drivers are trained in the district September 2020, COVID-19 Safety Plan.


Staff Support Plans

Signal Hill, in collaboration with SD48, will  support all staff through their personal experiences and exposure concerns within the evolving COVID-19 situation. Some situations may be able to be supported through minor adjustments, such as scheduling changes or site modifications. Other concerns will require further consideration. Principals, under the direction of the Director of Instruction: Human Resources will connect with any staff who indicate possible needs/barriers during this time in order to create a personalized plan. All support plans will be created under the guidance of the PHO and the Ministry of Education.


*Updated February 26, 2021

*Updated April 1, 2021

Personal measures are actions individuals can take to protect themselves and others. At Signal Hill, we will communicate the details of this safety plan with parents/guardians, teach students the personal measures they can take, train staff on the aspects of this safety plan, and notify visitors of all required personal measures expected at Signal Hill, such as maintaining physical distance/minimizing physical contact, washing hands frequently, coughing into elbows, sharing protocols, assessing their wellness each day, and staying home if sick.

Stay Home When Sick

All students and staff must assess their wellness each day before arriving on site: 

  • children and staff with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 or who have travelled outside Canada in the last 14 days or are identified as a close contact with a confirmed case or outbreak, should not come to school or work and follow directions from public health;
  • all students and staff must assess their wellness each day before arriving on site. Anyone with NEW symptoms of COVID-like illness that are not associated with a known chronic condition, such as allergies or asthma, should stay home and monitor their illness for 24 hours. Key symptoms to watch for are fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, loss of sense of smell or taste, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. While a runny nose and a sore throat are general symptoms associated with COVID-19, students and staff with these symptoms are not required to stay home. Staff and students (supported by parents as needed) are reminded to perform this Daily Health Check from the BCCDC to help determine if they should attend that day;
  • Symptoms of COVID-19 can be mild and are similar to other respiratory infections. Most people with these symptoms do not have COVID-19. 
  • For mild symptoms without fever, students and staff can monitor at home for 24 hours and return if symptoms improve.
  • If symptoms include fever OR if after 24 hours, mild symptoms remain unchanged or worsen, a health assessment is advised. The health assessment will determine whether a COVID-19 test is warranted. A doctor’s note is not required for a return to school.
  • staff and other adults entering the school must be are aware of their responsibility to assess themselves daily for symptoms of common cold, influenza, COVID-19 https://bc.thrive.health/covid19/en or other infectious respiratory disease prior to entering the school; 
  • staff that have any symptoms, must not enter the school;
  • parents and caregivers need to assess their children daily before sending them to school and that if their child has any symptoms, they must not go to school. 
  • *parents and students are made aware of their responsibility to complete a Daily Health Check; and,
  • *a procedure is implemented for students and staff who become sick while at school/work, including supervision is provided for younger children, and the requirement for appropriate PPE for staff. 

Note: Personal Measures will continually be addressed in School Newsletters, staff meetings, PAC meetings posted on the school website and taught to students.


*Students or staff may still attend school if a member of their household develops new symptoms of illness, provided the student/staff has no symptoms themselves. If the household member tests positive for COVID-19, public health will advise the asymptomatic student/staff on self-isolation and when they may return to school. Most illness experienced in B.C. is not COVID-19, even if the symptoms are similar.  

Follow Hand Hygiene

Rigorous hand washing with plain soap and water for at least 20 seconds is the most effective way to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Parents, caregivers and staff are to teach and reinforce these practices with students, assisting them as needed. All persons accessing district sites are to reference and follow the guidelines outlined in the BCCDC hand washing poster. At Signal Hill:

  • hand hygiene signage is posted;
  • opportunities for staff and students to practice hand hygiene is facilitated;
  • staff are trained and students are taught to wash hands:
    • before leaving home and on arrival at school/work site;
    • after using the washroom;
    • after breaks and outdoor activities;
    • before food preparation;
    • before eating any food;
    • after eating; and,
    • before leaving the school/work site.
  • signage directs people entering the building to a designated hand washing station;
  • hand sanitizer stations, *consisting of at least 60% alcohol, are set up at the school entrance (e.g. the placement of hand sanitizer dispensers);
  • refillable hand sanitizer pump bottles are supplied for all classrooms without sinks; and,
  • hand washing supplies are well maintained and inventory is monitored by the school custodian on a weekly basis. 

Use Respiratory Etiquette

  • all staff are trained and all students are taught appropriate respiratory etiquette
    • cough and sneeze into an elbow, sleeve, or a tissue. Used tissues must be thrown away, and hands washed immediately; and,
  • appropriate signage is posted.

Maintain Physical Distancing

Reducing the number of close, in-person interactions helps prevent the spread of COVID-19. *Physical distancing refers to a range of measures aimed at reducing close contact with others. When students *and staff are interacting within their Learning Group cohort they are *to avoid physical contact, minimizing close prolonged face-to-face interactions, and spreading out as much as possible with the space available. When students *and staff are interacting with others outside of their cohorts, practicing physical distancing should include avoiding physical contact and close, prolonged face-to-face interactions, spreading out as much as possible within the space available, and ensuring there are *2 meters of space available between people.
*When students and staff are interacting with others outside their cohorts and will be in the same space for transition purposes (e.g. changing between classes), and other measures are in place (e.g. marking on the floor, staggered transition times), there should be enough space to ensure no physical contact but 2 meter physical distancing is not required.  
  • SHE will have 9 Learning Cohorts in Stage 2 and 19 Learning Cohorts in Stage 3,
  • SHE is scheduled to have a staggered lunch. In Stage 2, intermediate cohorts will be on the big playing field, circle area(s) with the trees,  and back lot with the basketball hoops. The primary cohorts will be on the playground(s) behind and to the side of the primary wing, the single basketball hoop area by the strong start portable and area by the gaga ball court. 
  • classrooms will be set up to promote spacing between students where possible;
  • *staff are trained to follow the physical distance measures within their Learning Group and outside of their Learning Group;
  • *students are taught to follow the physical distance measures as described above when students are within their Learning Group cohorts and with from students outside their Learning Group cohorts during instructional time and outside of instructional time, including not gathering or crowding; and,
  • *seating arrangements when students directly face one another should be avoided where possible; and,  
  • staff travelling to work sites outside of their Learning Groups:
    • wear a mask, maintain physical distance in vehicles wherever possible, and consider separate vehicles; larger vehicles may be able to accommodate physical distancing by using a seat configuration that maximizes distance between people.


Avoid Sharing Food, Drink, and Personal Items

Food, drink, and personal items (e.g. devices, writing tools, manipulatives, toys, etc.) should not be shared. If the sharing of items is necessary, they should be sanitized after use and between different people using them.


*Staff Only Spaces

Principals must ensure that Physical Distancing is practiced within staff only spaces in schools,  regardless of whether or not masks are worn. 
*Updated February 26, 2021

*Although personal protective equipment (including masks) is the lowest level on the hierarchy of Infection Prevention and Exposure Control Measures, it can provide an additional layer of protection when more effective measures are not feasible. Non-medical masks and face coverings (referred to as “masks”)  have a role to play in preventing the spread of COVID-19. They provide some protection to the wearer and to those around them. Those wearing masks must still maintain physical distancing whenever possible. There must be no crowding or congregating of people, even if masks are worn. 


Gloves are not required beyond that which is used by staff as part of the regular precaution for hazards normally encountered in their regularly assigned duties. For example, supporting a student with a designated medical care plan or experiencing a health emergency may require staff to be exposed to bodily fluids and therefore require the use of gloves.

At Signal Hill, we will:

  • implement viable distancing strategies, such as reconfiguring a space, securing an alternate space, or providing transportable transparent physical barriers when staff must interact closely with people outside of their Learning Group and physical distance cannot be consistently maintained. 
  • ensure that staff have required protective equipment prior to school start up and then regularly check in with their staff regarding any additional reasonable needs or concerns regarding further protective equipment.

Non-Medical Masks

*Medical grade masks are not required within school settings for general use. SD48 will supply schools with reusable masks. Many people will have their own masks and prefer to wear those 

*All staff, *visitors and Grade 4 - 7 students are required to wear a mask on school busses and in school and - both within and outside of their Learning Groups, except when:
  • *they are unable to put on or remove a mask without the assistance of another person;
  • *if the mask is removed temporarily for the purposes of identifying the person wearing it;
  • *if the mask is removed temporarily to engage in an educational activity that cannot be performed while wearing a mask (e.g. playing a wind instrument, engaging in high-intensity physical activity, etc.);
  • *if a person is eating or drinking;
  • *while providing a service to a person with a disability or diverse ability where visual cues, facial expressions and/or lip reading/movements is important; and,
  • sitting in (or standing at) their seat or desk/workstation in a classroom or learning space;
  • there is a barrier in place; and, 
  • they are eating and drinking.

Staff, *adult visitors and Grade 4-7 students may not tolerate wearing masks (e.g. health or behavioural reasons) and will not be required to provide evidence from a health care provider.
*Students in Grades K to 3 are encouraged to wear a mask indoors in schools and on school buses, but are not required to do so - mask wearing remains a personal or family/caregiver choice for these students, and their choices must be respected.


At Signal Hill, reusable mask requests can be made by staff members for themselves or their students through the office. All remaining masks will be stored in the school office. The school will maintain a good supply for future needs. At Signal Hill, we will ensure that:

  • even if wearing masks, students and staff in different Learning Groups do not crowd in large groups or gather together;
  • *students *in Grades 4 - 7 and staff wear a mask *whenever they are indoors or on the school bus with exceptions as described above;
  • *all visitors must wear a mask when they are inside the school; 
  • *everyone treats each other with respect regardless of whether or not they are wearing a mask;
  • *staff utilize positive and inclusive approaches to engage students in the use of masks;
  • *no student should be prevented from attending or fully participating at school if they do not wear a mask;
  • students and staff are reminded to have a non-medical mask or face covering available at school so it is accessible; and,
  • non-medical masks are available in the front office.


More information about COVID-related mask use is available on the BC Centre for Disease Control website 


*Updated February 26, 2021

*Updated April 1, 2021