COVID-19 screening, breakdown and other back-to-school questions answered

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The plan released Monday by the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District, and guided by public health action, gives details on wearing masks, buses, after-school activities and more.Here, we take a look at several other issues addressed by NLESD CEO Tony Stack and the province’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Janice Fitzgerald.

What happens if a student tests positive for COVID-19?

Janice Fitzgerald: If we have a child who tests positive for COVID-19, there will be protocols in place for public health to follow up on contracts. Thus, all children identified as a close contact of this case will be informed, then these people will have to self-isolate and testing will also be recommended for these people. How this translates into each class is obviously not something you can make a general statement about. It will be a very contextualized thing. In most cases, if we have a child in a mixed class who tests positive, the children in that class will be tested and quarantined.

What are you doing to make sure schools are better ventilated?

Tony Stack: In short, the natural ventilation policy is very simply to open the windows and open them whenever possible. There are other settings on the HVAC, in our schools that have the HVAC, but many do not, which can be increased to allow more ventilation.

Terry Hall (Deputy Director of Education NLESD): Short and sweet, that’s exactly what you said. Opening the windows, before the start of lessons, during breaks, lunch, recess… and the door, allows fresh air to circulate. Even in times when there could be inclement weather we have had great success even opening a one inch window and leaving it there, so there are no interruptions to lessons and no weather. has proven to be very effective. And this policy has existed for a very, very long time because many of our school structures do not have mechanical ventilation…. In winter, this is not always possible. But even at certain times of the day … even a thumbs up has proven to be extremely effective. And in the absence of even being able to open a window, the simple act of opening the door allows air to come in and out, and to circulate so that it does not stagnate in the classroom itself. .

Will substitute teachers work in one school?

Tony Stack: We are looking for substitute teachers. We examine data from previous years on the use of substitute teachers. We are exploring options in this regard that will allow us to be flexible when it comes to substitute teachers. This is one of those things that will follow in the coming weeks, and we are in discussions with the Department of Education and the Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers’ Association on this matter.

Can you explain the daily COVID-19 testing checklist?

Tony Stack: In an ideal scenario, a parent would have it, put it on the fridge, and make sure you go through this checklist every day. Obviously, as we get into the routines, you’ll know what this checklist is. At first, it may be a good idea for parents to exercise with their children.

Janice Fitzgerald: At this point, one would expect parents to do this screening tool daily and staff as well, to ensure that they do not meet any of the tool’s criteria. If they don’t, it’s safe to come to school. … It’s in nobody’s best interest to go through this, through the form, and not talk about the risk factors that might exist. We all have a responsibility to keep our schools safe.

The questions were taken from Monday’s media availability and various reporters and news outlets, and like the responses, have been edited for clarity and length.

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