COVID-19 Guidance for School Settings

Updated (on June 19th 2021) to reflect the move into Phase 4 as of June 20th 2021

There is no curfew and the below guidance must be followed.

COVID-19 is a disease caused by a novel coronavirus that can result in acute respiratory illness. The virus spreads when a sick person coughs or sneezes. It may also be possible for a person to get COVID-19 by touching contaminated surfaces and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes. Symptoms may include fever, cough, or shortness of breath. Children may have milder or asymptomatic infections of COVID-19, and the virus may still be transmitted to other people.

For more general information about COVID-19, visit https://www.gov.bm/coronavirus

Conduct screening to limit the introduction of infection to the facility

All staff/parents/caregivers should be aware of signs and symptoms of COVID-19, including:

  • fever (equal or greater than 38 degrees Celsius/100.4°F)
  • cough
  • muscle aches and tiredness
  • difficulty breathing
  • sore throat, headache, diarrhoea, loss of smell and taste.
  • Staff/children with any of the above signs and symptoms should stay home and not attend the facility for 14 days from symptom onset and no longer feeling unwell.

Temperature monitoring

  • Parents/guardians may be instructed to check their child’s temperature daily and staff may be instructed to check their own temperature daily, although this is no longer mandatory due to the small amount of COVID-19 cases presently in the community. However please note that if there is another increase in COVID-19 cases this may again become a mandatory requirement.
  • When in school temperature checks are required touchless thermometers (e.g. forehead/temporal artery thermometers) should be used in order to reduce the spread of infection. If the reading is above 38 degrees Celsius (100.4°F) staff must be told to seek medical advice and must not return to work until medically cleared. Children whose temperature exceeds 38 degrees Celsius (100.4°F) must also be told to seek medical advice and must not be allowed into the establishment until medically cleared.

Sanitizing Hands/Handwashing and Respiratory Etiquette:

Sanitizing Hands/Handwashing

Students and staff should practice proper hand hygiene by:

• Washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and drying them completely with paper hand towel.

• Washing their hands:

• Before transitioning to a new activity

• Before eating

• Before and after outdoor play

• After using the bathroom

• Before and after using a form of transportation (e.g., a minibus, public bus, or ferry)

  • Students under 6 years shuold wash their hands with soap and water and dry them completely with paper towel or use santizing wipes.
  • Students 6 years and older should wash their hands with soap and water and dry them completely with paper towel or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Administrators should monitor hand hygiene supplies to ensure adequate amounts of liquid soap, paper towel, hand sanitizer, tissues, and waste receptacles line with plastic bags.
  • Hand sanitizing stations should be established and maintained at all entrances and prominent places around the school, where their use can be monitored by staff.
  • ALL persons entering the school should wash their hands or use hand sanitizer.
  • Sign-in pens should not be shared, unless disinfected between uses.

Students and staff should practice proper respiratory etiquette by:

  • Coughing or sneezing into a tissue, then immediately throwing the tissue into the garbage and washing their hands.
  • Coughing into the sleeve, if a tissue is not available.
  • Avoiding touching their face, nose, and mouth (and face mask) with unwashed hands.

Physical Distancing protocols

  • Students and staff should continue to practice the 3 - 6 feet physical distancing recommendation when lining up for any reason, entering and exiting the building, in the classroom and staff room, and moving around the building.
  • In classrooms, schools should incorporate the 3 - 6 feet physical distancing guidelines by limiting class bubble sizes, if rooms are less than 20 feet by 25 feet in dimension.
  • Students should be seated at their desks or tables, facing in the same direction (e.g., all facing the front of the classroom).
  • Round or kidney-shaped tables cannot be used, as students will be seated facing one another and/or too close to one another.
  • If needed, schools should consider a staggered, school shift schedule to reduce class sizes and maintain physical distancing.
  • All pick-ups and drop offs should be conducted outside of the school building(s) and parents/guardians should not enter the building(s) for any reason.

Enhance environmental cleaning and disinfecting schedules

  • Practice proper hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette:
  • Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • If soap and water are not available use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer provided hands are not visibly soiled.
  • Provide additional hand sanitizer stations (e.g., wall mounted hand sanitizer dispensers) in supervised areas.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze into a tissue. Immediately throw the tissue in the garbage and wash your hands.
  • If you do not have a tissue, sneeze, or cough into your sleeve.
  • Avoid touching your face, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Administrators should monitor hand hygiene supplies to ensure adequate amounts of liquid soap, paper towel, hand sanitizer, tissues, and waste receptacles lined with plastic bags.

Enhance environmental cleaning and disinfecting schedules

  • Depending on Bermuda's Country Status, it may be necessary to intensify cleaning and sanitizing protocols, including the provision of adequate supplies to facilitate cleaning and sanitizing.
  • Depending on Bermuda's Country Status, it may be necessary to clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces and items in common areas (e.g., tables/desks, chairs, light switches, door handles/doorknobs, toys, indoor/outdoor play equipment, toilets, sinks and electronic devices) at least twice daily, when visibly dirty, and after contact with body fluids (e.g., saliva).  Otherwise, regular daily cleaning can be completed of all occupied rooms and bathrooms..
  • Schools must maintain strict trash management protocols, ensure use of covered waste receptacles, and supply of disposable gloves for handling.
  • Schools must ensure proper ventilation in the facility, open windows for increased air flow; or ensure that air-conditioning is enhanced to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 virus aerosols.  In addition, air-conditioners should be on a maintenance schedule, including the cleaning of filters, coils, blowers, and the frame.

Measures to reduce the risk of transmission during activities:

Schools should:

  • Practice physical distancing as best as possible to maintain a two metre (six feet) distance between staff and children.
  • Reinforce “no sharing” policies and procedures. This includes the current practice of not sharing food, water bottles or personal items and belongings.
  • Suspend activities that permit the mixing of children from different schools (e.g.. Interschool Sports).
  • Stagger mealtimes and recess to avoid congestion in the lunch bench area and outdoor play areas.
  • Assign a different Play Zone to each class bubble and rotate/stagger use of playgrounds and play spaces to prevent over-crowding.  Do not use community playgrounds.
  • Supervise and ensure that children practice hand hygiene frequently while using dedicated playgrounds and after using playground equipment.
  • Cancel field trips and other in-person large gatherings (e.g., Assemblies, Christmas Plays, School Leaving/Graduation Ceremonies), depending on Bermuda's Country Status
  • Cancel or modify activities where students are likely to be in close contact (e.g., plan activities that involve parallel play, instead of cooperative play).
  • Stagger arrival and/or dismissal times
  • Nonessential visitors are not permitted.
  • Halt extracurricular group activities such as Karate, Gymnastics, and Dance to reduce the exposure from privately contracted instructors who travel between facilities/schools.
  • Not allow vulnerable students/staff to return to school, depending on Bermuda's Country Status. If needed, every effort must be made to allow vulnerable students/employees to work from home.

Masks

  • Staff and students must wear masks at all times while indoors (including when walking through hallways, to the bathroom and, if easily accessible, when assembling due to bad weather or an evacuation e.g. fire drill), except when eating or drinking. However, periodic breaks from wearing masks are permitted, as long as a 6 ft distance is maintained between each person. - NOTE: This applies to immunised (having received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine plus 14 days from second dose) as well as  immuno-compromised/extremely clinically vulnerable staff and students.
  • Staff should lead by example with regards to proper mask wearing.
  • Staff may choose to wear a clear mask that will enable students to see their complete face, thereby facilitating communication. Or, a clear face shield can be worn along with a mask.
  • Staff and students are not required to wear masks while outdoors. However, a 6 ft distance must be maintained between each 15 person bubble. 
  • Although masks are not required while outdoors, persons with COVID-19 symptoms (e.g. students awaiting collection from camp) must wear a mask, even if outdoors.
  • Staff and students must wear masks while on all forms of public transportation, in mini buses/vans and while carpooling to and from camp.
  • Masks should not be placed on anyone:
    • who cannot tolerate a face covering due to a behavioral, developmental or medical health condition.
    • who has trouble breathing or is unconscious
    • incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the face covering without assistance
    • under age 2
  • Custodians must wear face masks at all times when on school premises.
  • Parents should wear face coverings when they enter the school premises and should not enter the school building for any reason.
  • Staff should work with students who cannot tolerate face coverings because of legitimate health reasons (e.g. health conditions, disability etc.) and create an environment that will combat stigma and bullying of these campers.
  • Staff should ensure that they as well as the students:
    • Wash their masks (if cloth masks) after every day of use and/or before being used again, or if visibly soiled."
    • Store masks in a space designated for each operator/child/teen that is separate from others when not being worn (e.g. in individually labelled containers, bags, personal lockers or cubbies)
    • Wear masks that are clearly identified with their names or initials to avoid confusion, swapping or losing them on the camp premises. Masks may also be labeled to indicate top/bottom and front/back.
    • Always wash or sanitize their hands before putting on a cloth face mask
    • Are aware that they should never share or swap masks
    • Do not touch their masks while wearing them and, if they do, they should wash their hands before and after with soap and water or sanitize their hands with a sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol.

References

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2020). Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019- ncov/community/organizations/cleaning-disinfection.html

 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2020). Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/guidance-for-schools.html

 

Government of Bermuda. Corona Virus (Covid-19). Retrieved from https://www.gov.bm/coronavirus-resources

 

 

 

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