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Superintendent Scott Saywell and SD69 (Qualicum) Superintendent Keven Elder had the opportunity to ask Island Health MHO for Central Vancouver Island, Dr. Sandra Allison, questions they have been receiving from the community.

The video is 40 minutes long and can be watched in its entirety here:

If you want to listen to a specific question, below is the list of questions with a direct link to the response.

1:49 Are schools safe?

2:30 And is there something else that schools should be doing to keep students safe?

4:01 Why are schools different from other parts of society when it comes to group size, distancing and masks? Why is the general population being asked to reduce the size of their social bubble, but we are not doing the same in schools?

5:34 Is the mixing of cohorts showing itself to be a problem in transmitting the virus?

6:44 I receive many emails from parents about mandatory mask wearing. Why is the BCCDC not supportive of stricter mask policies in schools, as other provinces have done?

7:55 What is the difference between a school exposure, a cluster and an outbreak?

10:02 How is the exposure date determined?

10:20 Please describe the contact tracing process.

12:42 How accurate is the contact tracing given that it requires students to recall who they were in contact with, in some cases, a week ago?

14:05 If a student has to isolate, why don’t their siblings have to self-isolate as well?

16:55 If someone in my household is going for testing, do I need to self-isolate?

17:29 Why aren’t we told when someone in a school or worksite has COVID, whether there is contact tracing or not? Why do you not share which grade or cohort is affected?

19:31 Why are employees not able to return to work after a negative test result? Is Island Health directing the patients to self-isolate for 14 days regardless of a negative test result from COVID-19?

20:32 Why aren’t entire cohorts or classes, including the teacher, told to isolate during any exposure?

22:11 Why don’t we take student temperatures every morning before students come into a school?

23:07 What is the current thinking around which groups can get COVID-19 and transmit COVID at greater rates?

24:46 What do you say to parents who are keeping their children home today because there was an exposure in their child’s school?

26:20 At what point will a school be shut down? What are the factors that are contributing to entire school shutdowns in Fraser Health? When should we move to stage 3-4?

28:03 Is the health authority thinking about extending winter break for one or two weeks?

29:09 What are the expectations for the types of masks that staff and older students are required to wear?

29:32 Are face shields alone sufficient or should a mask be worn as well? And what about lower face half shields?

30:11 What are the rules for publicly reporting COVID cases connected to schools?

30:43 If there is a school exposure, will all students that rode the bus with the student be considered close contacts, or just students within a few rows, or since they are masked will none be close contacts?

32:21 Will people coming home for the holidays be required to quarantine? And will people who leave during vacation time be required to quarantine when they return?

34:59 What does the provincial order around non-essential travel to and from the lower mainland mean for the Island?

35:45 Why is the self-assessment check-list different for schools than for others?

36:44 How long does the virus last in the air? What is the aerosol nature of transmission?