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Parents will have to screen children every morning before school: education department

With schools opening up in mere days, a bulletin explaining changes to the school year has been released by the Ministry of Education.

Delivery of programs remains unchanged – teachers will still issue report cards and grade students like any other school year. Schools will be encouraged to expand land based learning opportunities to help keep children further apart.

East Three School is opening its doors for the 2020 school year next week. Parents will need to screen their children for COVID-19 every morning and teachers will be required to wear face shields.
Eric Bowling/NNSL photo

Beaufort Delta Education council superintendent Frank Galway said schools would have designated entrances and exits and a floor plan is being provided to staff to monitor traffic throughout the buildings. He added the designated pathways are marked with signs for kids to follow.

"Teachers are required to wear face shields and be distancing themselves in the classroom two metres from the front of the first desk in the class," he added. "When two metres cannot be maintained we have environmental barriers in place and/or masks must be worn."

One area that will see dramatic changes is how parents get their kids to and from school. Parents will be required to screen their children every morning before dropping them off.

Galway said the NWT's Student Screening Tool is still in development, but a similarly named method used by Ontario Public Health presents a questionnaire that asks if the child has been outside of the country within the last 14 days or been in physical contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus within the last 14 days.

It then details a long list of symptoms, ranging from several types of coughs, shortness of breath, sore throat, nausea, headaches, lack of energy, sore muscles or even pink eye. Selecting any one of these, other than "no symptoms," results in a recommendation to keep the child at home and test them for Covid-19. If no symptoms is selected, a further question is asked if the child has had close contact with anyone who has shown those symptoms. If the answer is yes, then the child must self-isolate.

After the parents have put their children through the morning check-up, classrooms will also run the children through the same test in the morning and afternoon. Children will also be taught how to conduct the tests themselves and inform teachers if they are feeling ill.

Students who show major or minor symptoms will be taken to a safe isolation room where students can wait for their parents to pick them up and take them to get medically assessed.

"We are asking parents to screen their child prior to sending him/her to school," said Galway. "The screening tool is being developed by a committee from Education, Culture and Employment and the office of the Chief Public Health Officer. When a parent identifies a major symptom or two minor symptoms, it is important that the child not be sent to school. Teachers at school will also be screening students using the same screening tool in case the child develops symptoms during the day."

Schools will also be notifying parents when school is out and are asking parents to pick up their children from school as soon as they are notified.

Read the education bulletin here.

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