UPDATED JANUARY 20,
We have shared a
great deal of information recently about how our schools are working to support
the safety of our students and staff as we navigate and adjust to
We understand that some
families and students may feel anxious to be returning to school. Attending
school is important for learning and development. It provides a supportive
community and structured routine that allows children to thrive. Public Health
has worked closely with the Department of Education and Early Childhood
Development to develop a Return to School plan that supports a positive
environment for children to learn, while ensuring protective measures are in
place for the school community.
It is important to
note that you play an essential part in the effectiveness of these safety
measures. We have a shared responsibility to help reduce the risk of COVID-19,
by knowing what symptoms to look for and what to do if you spot them. Below you
can find a list of Frequently Asked Questions related to your child’s health,
returning to school, and COVID-19. These are subject to change as we learn more
about COVID-19. The most up-to-date information can always be found on
the GNB website.
Does my child need
to be screened for COVID-19 symptoms every day before school? What does that
responsible for reviewing the screening questions with their child(ren) prior to
leaving for school and only sending their child to school when they are well.
If a child has 1 or
more of these symptoms of COVID-19, families should keep the child home from
school and call 811 or their primary healthcare provider for advice:
Fever above 38 degrees Celsius
A new cough, or worsening chronic cough
A new onset of fatigue
A new onset of muscle pain
Loss of sense of taste
Loss of sense of smell
In children, purple markings on the fingers and toes
It is important to
talk to your children about these symptoms so they can be aware of them and
self-identify them to you or their teacher.
Will students have
their temperature checked at school or on the bus?
Students will not
be required to have their temperature taken prior to entering their school or
boarding the bus. Instead, parents/guardians are asked to check for signs of
fever, like flushed face or chills, and/or take their child’s temperature prior
to leaving for school as part of the screening process.
These symptoms seem
a lot like the common cold. Am I really supposed to keep my child home from
school every time they have these symptoms?
In the past we
might have thought it acceptable to attend school if a child had “just a cold”
or felt “a little sick”, however we are now working together during a global
pandemic. While we still believe that “Attendance Matters”, preventing the
spread of illness is critical.
If a child displays
1 or more symptoms of COVID-19, they must stay home and call 811 or your
primary healthcare provider should be contacted to determine whether COVID-19
testing is required and for advice.
Students will not
be penalized for staying home due to valid health concerns.
My child has
allergies or a constant runny nose. Do I have to keep them home?
Students who have
been identified by their primary healthcare provider as having asthma, seasonal
allergies or who suffer from chronic runny nose/nasal congestion are not
required to stay home based on these symptoms alone. Consider the list of
symptoms when determining if your child should stay home from school. Are their
symptoms different from what they usually experience? Do they have any other
symptoms? If yes or you are uncertain, call 811 or your primary healthcare
Will my child be
sent home from school if they have symptoms?
As in previous
years, if a student alerts their teacher to feeling unwell, the teacher will
notify a parent/guardian to pick up their child. The student will be supervised
in an area where physical distancing can be maintained and will wear a mask
while they wait to be picked up. If you get an urgent call regarding the health
of your child during the school day, you will be required to pick them up as
soon as possible, consistent with school practice. It is
important all families have a plan in place in case they need to pick-up their
child from school early. A sick child will not be sent home on the
bus. Educators are not medical experts. It is important that you speak to your
children about self-monitoring and what symptoms to be aware of so they can notify
you or their teacher if they feel unwell.
Can the school or
Public Health test my child for COVID-19 without my permission/parental
No, testing is at
the parent/guardian’s discretion. However, if a child is not tested, Public
Health may require that child to remain home and isolate for 14 days.
My child had 1 symptom
and stayed home. When can they return to school?
If a child has 1
symptoms of COVID-19, families are asked to contact 811 or their primary
healthcare provider to determine if COVID-19 testing is required. If COVID-19
testing is required, Public Health will inform you when isolation may be
lifted. If testing is not required, they can return once fever (with no
medications) and other symptoms have been resolved for 24 hours or if they have
been directed to do so by a health care professional.
My child has health
issues. Should they attend school at all this year?
If you have any
questions or concerns about your child’s health, you must consult with your
child’s primary healthcare provider.
If a student has a
medical condition and is recommended by a health professional not to attend
school in person this year, a learning plan will be provided by their assigned
teacher with educational support. If a student has an immunocompromised
household member who is required to stay home as recommended by a health
professional, and this condition prevents the student from attending school,
the student will be provided with a plan to continue learning at home. Families
will be required to provide medical documentation in these cases.
If your child has
received a recommendation from a health care provider to remain home from
school this year, please contact your child’s school.
I am nervous to
send my child back to school. Can I request the school provides them materials
to learn from home?
parent/guardian chooses not to send their child to school, the parent/guardian
is responsible for their child's learning. At this time, teachers at K-8 are
not required to provide home learning materials or meet on Teams with students
who remain at home. At high school, teachers will continue to post learning
materials on Teams, however, we encourage students to attend classes in person
on their designated days to receive direct instruction from their teachers.
Those who have been informed by Public Health that they must self-isolate will
receive learning materials and instruction from their teachers.
For those of you
who have chosen to keep your child home at this time, we have made available Family
and Student Resources on our website. This site provides families with
activities and ideas to support education at home and keep your child
engaged in learning. We encourage you to also check with your child’s
school as teachers may be posting homework and assignments on their Teams
site if they are currently using it for this purpose.
Does my child have
to wear a mask?
Every student is
expected to have two clean community masks with them every day. Masks must be
washed frequently and should be labeled with their name.
During the Red
phase, students from K-12 are required to wear a mask on the bus. Students K-8
must wear masks at all times in school unless eating or sitting quietly at
their desk. Students in grades 9-12 must wear a mask at all times in school
except when eating. This includes outside and during physical education class,
for all grades.
We recognize some
children will deal better with wearing a mask than others at first. Students
are more likely to be comfortable wearing a mask if they see members of their
family wearing one at appropriate times, too.
Does it matter what
mask my child brings to school?
When worn properly,
wearing a mask can reduce the spread of respiratory droplets.
Non-medical face masks, also known as
community masks, should:
be made of at least 2 layers of
tightly woven material fabric (such as cotton or linen)
be large enough to completely and
comfortably cover the nose and mouth without gaping
allow for easy breathing
fit securely to the head with ties or
be comfortable and not require
not cover the neck
not be made of plastic or other
What happens if
someone at my child’s schools is diagnosed with COVID-19?
If someone tests
positive for COVID-19, Public Health will work with the school to notify your
school community while maintaining confidentiality.
Public Health will:
Do contact tracing to determine which
individual(s) require self-isolation and possibly the need to be tested. This
could include a class, classes, the entire school and others.
Inform close contacts, who were
required to self-isolate, when their isolation is complete and able to return
If a positive case
of COVID-19 is confirmed at a school during the Red level, the school will be
closed to students for a minimum of three days to allow for contact tracing.
During this time teachers will be supporting students’ learning at home
How can I support
my child(ren) and their school community?
Families have an
important role to play in the safe attendance at school. Families can
positively impact their children and contribute to the health of their
modelling the behaviours needed to
limit the spread of COVID-19, such as hand washing, proper cough and sneeze
etiquette, physical distancing, mask wearing in public, and staying home when
monitoring children daily for
symptoms and calling 811 or your primary healthcare provider if symptoms are
talking to your children about
COVID-19 and what symptoms to be aware of.
Thank you for your
cooperation and patience as we work together towards the start of an exciting
and healthy new year!