Dear First Nations Schools,
On April 8th the Province announced that the Ministry of Education’s COVID-19 Communicable Disease Guidelines for K-12 Settings for public and non-First Nations independent schools have been updated to reflect changes to Provincial Health Officer orders and to further incorporate public health guidance from the BC Centre for Disease Control. The update to the Ministry of Education’s guidelines took effect on Saturday, April 16.
Key updates to the Guidelines include:
- Health Awareness: an updated approach to a Daily Health Check.
- Spaces being arranged to best meet learner needs and preferred educational approaches.
- A focus on personal practices (e.g., health awareness, masks and face coverings, etc.).
For clarity, as per provincial guidance, gatherings and events can return to 100% capacity.
Provincial Health Officer Updates
As announced in the April 5 news release, showing the BC Vaccine Card proof of vaccination to access events, services and businesses is no longer required by the Province. However, individual businesses and organizations can choose to continue to require the BC Vaccine Card on their premises. Schools should continue to contact venues as part of event or field trip planning to understand what requirements may be in place.
First Nations are under no obligation to change their current proof of vaccination policies based on this announcement.
What to do when Sick
According to the BCCDC guidance, the management of COVID-19 in the community is now more aligned with the management of other serious respiratory infections. Staff, students, or other persons in the school setting who are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 should stay home until they are well enough to participate in regular activities.
Staff, children, or other persons in the school setting who test positive for COVID-19 should follow the guidance on the BCCDC website as to how long they should self-isolate. As per BCCDC, they can return to school when they no longer need to self-isolate as long as symptoms have improved and they are well enough to participate in regular activities.
FNESC and FNSA fully respect the authority of individual First Nations to make decisions about the operation of First Nations schools in the best interests of their students, schools, and communities. This includes the authority to decide if and how to use these guidelines and guidance documents to inform planning, and if and when to reopen their schools for in-person learning.
FNESC and FNSA will be updating our resources for First Nations schools to reflect the new guidance.