School District 43 is not planning to extend spring break past March 27, according to a letter to parents posted on the district website Friday.
But it's prepared for the possibility that could change given the rapidly evolving situation around the COVID-19 pandemic and measures being taken to prevent its spread.
In the letter, SD43 superintendent Patricia Gartland wrote: "We are closely monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic and are communicating regularly with health authorities and adhering to the recommendations of our Provincial Health Officer [PHO], Dr. Bonnie Henry, the Ministries of Health and Education and the Government of Canada."
She added: "The PHO advises that closing schools is not appropriate or advised at this time."
Gartland also noted that Dr. Henry advised against all non-essential travel outside Canada, including the United States, and said those who do travel outside the country should self-isolate for 14 days when they return — which means staying away from work or school.
"Currently there is no plan in place to extend spring break and the intention is to open schools on Monday, March 30," Gartland said. "Should this change for any reason, SD43 is prepared to notify families and assist public health authorities in response plans."
In the meantime, she said, custodial staff at public schools in Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody and Anmore are focusing on touch points, which she said is "standard practice for cold and flu season."
Gartland's letter also shared the following links:
• Information about COVID-19, including advice and guidance to schools, is regularly updated on the BC Centre for Disease Control site: http://www.bccdc.ca/Health-Info-Site/Documents/COVID19_schools_childcare_guidelines.pdf Please routinely check this site and its resources.
• All joint statements from Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Minister of Health Adrian Dix are posted here: https://news.gov.bc.ca/ministries/health
• The Provincial Pandemic Coordination plan: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/health/about-bc-s-health-care-system/office-of-the-provincial-health-officer/reports-publications/pandemic-provincial-coordination-plan.pdf
• KIDS and COVID-19 Q&A: http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/coronavirus-(novel)#For--schools--and--childcare
• CBC Kids along with the PHO produced a kid-centric Q and A video about COVID-19:https://www.cbc.ca/kidsnews/post/watch-coronavirus-facts-versus-fiction
• Ministry of Health response plans - https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/health/about-bc-s-health-care-system/office-of-the-provincial-health-officer/current-health-topics/pandemic-influenza
• Novel Coronavirus Q&A from HealthLinkBC: https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/health-feature/coronavirus
• BC Centre for Disease Control: http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/coronavirus-(novel)
• Government of Canada - Novel Coronavirus in China Travel Health Notice: https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/health-safety/travel-health-notices/210