What happens if there is a local school outbreak? Who does what? Who's on first? 

Firstly, the “Local Public Health Unit” (“LPHU”) may declare an outbreak if it determines two or more lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases in students/staff/visitors in a school with an epidemiological link within a 14-day period where at least one case could have reasonably acquired their infection in the school (including transportation and before and after school care).

Secondly, if so……..

The Health Unit will:

  • notify District School Board (DSB) COVID-19 Lead and school principal of outbreak declaration and request further information;  

  • determine which cohort(s) must isolate and indicates partial or full school dismissal;

  • communicate cohort isolation requirements and outbreak masures and enhanced cleaning requirements to the District School Board COVID-19 Lead and school principal;

  • post outbreak notice on website (included in cumulative total/dashboard);

  • conduct contact tracing of determined close contacts of positive case and provides guidance on testing and isolation; and

  • notify Dstrict School Board COVID-19 Lead and school principal when safe return to school is indicated.

The school should:

  • compile information needed in relation to staff/student cohort(s) and provides to LPHU, including:

• attendance records;

• class/cohort lists and seating charts;

• before/after school child care lists;

• transportation lists and seating charts;

• current contact info for students/staff;

• special assignments/programs/activities (e.g., Special Education); and

• records of essential visitors;

  • distribute parent communications as directed by District School Board and in collaboration with LPHU; and

  • implement any/all outbreak measures recommended by LPHU including:

• posting outbreak signage at entrance and affected areas;

• informing outside agencies that use the school of the outbreak;  

• only allowing essential visitors into the school;  

• further minimizing the movement of staff between cohorts;

• limiting student activities to their required cohorts and discontinuing extracurricular activities, as much as possible;  

• restricting all staff (including school, transportation, staff from home care agencies or others that provide medical services to those in school) from working in other schools; and

• for social settings outside of the school recommend to staff, students and their families, adherence to the social bubble (size based on current provincial recommendations).

The School Board should:

  • notify School Principal of outbreak; and  

  • considers communication linking to outbreak posting on school board website.

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