Return to School Plan


Annunciation School

627 5thAvenue West

Prince Rupert, BC   V8J 1V1

Phone: 250-624-5873




COVID-19 Return to School Protocols: Stage 2


The purpose of this document is to:

  1. Set protocols and standards for the opening of Annunciation School for the 2020-2021 school year amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and
  2. Maintain a safe and healthy school environment by minimizing the risk of spreading COVID-19.


This document recognizes that:

  1. The current intent is to open schools in September in Stage 2, and
  2. Movement between the Stages 1 and 5 is possible within the 2020-2021 school year.


  1. Public Entry / Access to School
    1. Public entry to Annunciation School is limited to staff, students, and those individuals who are supporting activities that benefit student learning and well-being.  Parents and others are asked to call instead of visiting the school.
    2. All staff and approved visitors use the main entrance to the school.
    3. Students enter and exit through their assigned learning cohort doors, following the necessary signs and instructions regarding traffic flow in boot rooms and hallways.
    4. Staff are maintaining a 2 meter distance from the office counter when interacting with the public, including parents and students.  A glass window at the office counter provides further protection and the door will remain closed.
    5. Limited access signs are posted on the main external front door (see WorkSafe BC resources).
    6. Students and staff are to remain on site for the duration of their attendance each day.  Students and staff may not leave the school property (i.e. for lunch or appointments) and return the same day.  Please have your child arrive late or leave early when scheduling appointments during the school day.


  1. Drop Off and Pick Up
    1. Annunciation School recognizes that the high majority of our families have children in more than one learning cohort, which causes difficulty with staggered arrival times.  As such, students will immediately join their designated learning cohort line/play area upon their arrival until their learning cohort enters the school with their teacher.  Students will need to be dropped off as follows: Last name starting with A-L will be dropped off in the front of the school and those with M-Z will use Musgrave.  Those being dropped off in the front of the school, we ask that they follow the sidewalk to the entrance of the playground for safety reasons.  There will be a supervisor outside to assist in this. Those being dropped off on Musgrave will walk down the lane behind the church and school and go to their designated cohort area. This will be a kiss and go type of lane. No parking will be allowed to help with the flow of traffic.  Should you want to park, please use other areas. For safety reasons, please try to stop on the side of side closest to the school, so our students avoid crossing the street.
    2. If students arrive late, parents/guardians will ring the doorbell and a staff member will meet them at the main entrance doors, while maintaining 2 meters physical distancing.  Health checks are completed by parents/guardians before students enter the building.
    3. Students will exit the school at pick up time through their assigned door and wait in their learning cohort line or area for parent/guardian pick-up. Students will need to maintain social distancing from students that are not a part of their cohorts.


  1. Health Check for Students and Staff Entering School 
    1. Parents / caregivers are required to assess their child daily for symptoms of common cold, influenza, COVID-19 or other infectious respiratory disease before sending them to school (self-assessment tool:
    2. If a student develops symptoms while at home, parents / caregivers must keep their child at home until they have been assessed by a health care provider to exclude COVID-19 or other infectious diseases andtheir symptoms have resolved.
    3. Staff will assess themselves daily for symptoms of the common cold, influenza, or COVID-19 prior to entering the school (self-assessment tool:
    4. All students and staff who have travelled outside of Canada are required to self-isolate for 14 days.


  1. Students who Develop Symptoms while at School
    1. The symptomatic student is immediately separated from others and moved to a supervised area (sick room).
    2. The student’s parent / caregiver is contacted to pick up the student as soon as possible.  Parents / Caregivers are expected to pick up their child as soon as possible if notified they are ill. If parents are not available an additional contact will be required to pick up the child.
    3. Where possible, staff will maintain a distance of 2 meters from the ill student.  If not possible, staff may wear a mask and/or shield if tolerated, or use a tissue to cover their nose and mouth.
    4. Staff will provide the student with tissues to cover their coughs and sneezes.  All used tissues will be thrown away as soon as possible and hand hygiene will be practiced.
    5. Staff will avoid touching the student’s bodily fluids.  If they do, diligent hand hygiene will be practiced.
    6. After the student is picked up, staff will practice diligent hand hygiene.
    7. Staff will clean and disinfect the space where the student was separated (sick room) and any other areas used by the student.
    8. If a staff member or student are confirmed positive with COVID-19, public health will work with the school administration to determine the subsequent actions.  Students and staff exposed to confirmed cases of COVID-19 will follow the directions of public health.
    9. Schools are not permitted to provide notification to staff or student families if a staff member or student becomes ill at school, unless directed to do so by public health.


  1. Student Management: Hygiene
    1. Students will wash their hands (at a minimum):
      1. Upon arriving at school;
      2. Before eating and drinking;
      3. After using the toilet;
      4. After sneezing or coughing into hands or tissue;
      5. When hands are visibly dirty; and
      6. When moving between different learning environments (classrooms, indoor/outdoor, etc.).
    2. Staff are encouraged to assist younger students with hand hygiene as needed.
    3. If a sink is not available, 60% alcohol based hand sanitizer can be used.
    4. Food and drink will not be shared between students.
    5. All fruits and vegetables should be washed with soap and cold water before consuming.  This is expected to be done at home before the student arrives at school.
    6. Food items and containers will be kept in the student’s backpack, which only the student touches.  Students must be able to open their own food containers and packages.
    7. Annunciation water fountains are deactivated, though water bottle refill stations are available.  Students must bring their own water bottles for use during the day.
    8. Microwaves, fridges, stoves, and any other food preparation items are not available to students.
    9. Annunciation School will provide two face masks per student.  Cleaning and maintenance of the mask is the responsibility of the family.


  1. Student Management: Physical Distancing
    1. Parents / Caregivers will remain outside of the school to drop off their children.
    2. All staff and students refrain from close greetings, such as hugs or handshakes.
    3. Students are reminded to keep their hands to themselves.  Parents / Caregivers are asked to reiterate the same reminders with their child before arriving at school.
    4. Staff may consider the use of educational videos / online programs as part of learning so young students can sit independently and distanced from each other.
    5. Staff may consider providing work space outside when practical.  Contact sports, including tag games, are not permitted.
    6. Staff may incorporate more individual activities or activities that encourage more space between students and staff.
    7. Hallway movement will be limited.  Before a staff member leads a class through the hallway, they will check to be sure the hallway isn’t being used by another class.
    8. The use of hallways for individual or small group student work, as traditionally done, will not be permitted.
    9. The use of student bathrooms is limited to one student at a time, unless they are from the same learning cohort.  “Waiting circles” are on the floor outside the bathroom for students to use while they wait.  This will be taught as a routine the first week of school.
    10. There will be specified bathrooms and halls assigned to groups of cohorts.
    11. Students in grades 5-8 will be required to wear a mask in the common areas, they have a choice in their cohorts.


  1. School Structure / Organization:  Learning Cohorts
    1. Students are organized into learning cohorts of a maximum size of 60.  Learning Cohorts are:
      1. Kindergarten
      2. Grades 1 and 2
      3. Grades 3 and 4
      4. Grades 5 and 6
      5. Grades 7 and 8
    2. Learning cohorts have the option of learning together or collaborating on academic activities, preparing virtual assemblies, sharing recess breaks, etc.
    3. Individuals working with those not in their learning cohort, such as specialty teachers who work with many grades, will keep their 2 meters physical distance.
    4. Reasonable efforts are made to minimize the number of different staff members that interact with different learning cohorts throughout the day.  Staff that interact with multiple learning cohorts will maintain 2 meters physical distancing.
    5. Consideration is given to different classroom configurations to maintain distance and minimize physical contact between students.
    6. Recess and lunch breaks will occur within learning cohorts and cohorts will be separated into playground areas during outdoor recess breaks.


  1. Staff Management: Physical Distancing
    1. Occupancy limits for shared spaces (staff room, copy room) are established and posted.  See WorkSafe BC posters / resources.
    2. Staff are maintaining 2 meters physical distancing between other staff members and students outside of their learning cohort.
    3. Work processes and practices are modified to encourage physical distancing between staff and students, and between staff.
    4. Staff are avoiding close greetings, such as hugs and handshakes.
    5. Staff who meet in person are ensuring there is a 2 meter space between each staff member.
    6. The flow in public places is being managed by:
      1. moving through hallways on the right side (such as vehicles), and
      2. using the stairs as cohort system, cohorts are assigned to particular stairs.
    7. Annunciation School is not holding in-person assemblies, school Mass, and other school-wide events to avoid a large number of people gathered in one place at this time.


  1. Staff Management: Hygiene
    1. Staff are remaining on site and are not to leave during lunch or at break times, unless deemed necessary and approved by the principal.
    2. Hand-washing supplies are available at all times (soap, clean towels, paper towels, 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizer).
    3. Hand-washing signs are posted near all sinks.  All staff will wash their hands frequently to reduce the risk of transmission.
    4. Other hygiene practice signage is posted (see resources from WorkSafe BC).
    5. The BCCDC specifies that PPE (masks, gloves) are optional, beyond those used by staff as part of regular precautions for the hazards normally encountered in their regular course of work.
    6. Annunciation School will provide two masks for each staff member.


  1. Cleaning / Disinfecting During School Operation (On-Site Staff) (refer to separate document entitled COVID-19 Cleaning / Disinfecting Plan / Policy)
    1. Common, commercially-available detergents and disinfectant products are being used.
    2. Frequently touched surfaces are cleaned and disinfected at least twice a day, including (but not limited to) door knobs, light switches, toilet handles, tables, desks, chairs, stair railings, and shared office spaces.
    3. Garbage containers are emptied daily.
    4. Shared items where cross-contamination is possible (shared school supplies, coffee stations, water stations, etc) are limited, removed, or restricted from access.
    5. Staff are wiping down shared spaces (shared desks) at the end of their shift.
    6. Pillow cases and blankets are laundered after each use using the school facilities if they are not single-use items.


  1. Cleaning / Disinfecting After School Hours (Custodian) (refer to separate document entitled COVID-19 Cleaning / Disinfecting Plan / Policy)
    1. Annunciation School is cleaned and disinfected in accordance with the BC CDC’s Cleaning and Disinfecting for Public Settings (
    2. Cleaning practices are in line with the PHO’s COVID-19 Public Health Guidance for Childcare Settings (


  1. Communication (refer to separate document entitled COVID-19 Communication Plan / Policy)
    1. Essential health and safety information is communicated to staff in writing before returning to the workplace.
    2. Upon return to the workplace, a health and safety meeting is held to review workplace practices.
    3. Daily check-in meetings with staff are held to provide new information and review concerns.
    4. Parents and caregivers are provided a clear understanding that students must stay home if they are sick.
    5. Annunciation School is minimizing the number of non-essential people (parents, caregivers, contractors) entering the school.
    6. Annunciation School is keeping parents / caregivers informed about extra precautions occurring in the school setting.
    7. All information relating to COVID-19 is posted in the staffroom.


  1. Concerns about Unsafe Work
    1. Annunciation School Staff are to raise safety concerns in writing via email to the Principal.
    2. Staff have the right to refuse work if they believe it presents an undue hazard.  An undue hazard is an “unwarranted, inappropriate, excessive, or disproportionate” hazard.  For COVID-19, an “undue hazard” would be one where a worker’s job role places them at increased risk of exposure and adequate controls are not in place to protect them from that exposure.
    3. If the matter is not resolved, the worker and the supervisor / employer must contact WorkSafe BC (  A prevention officer will consult with workplace parties to determine whether there is an undue hazard and issue orders if necessary.
    4. Workers / employers with questions or concerns about workplace exposure to the COVID-19 virus can call WorkSafe BC’s Prevention Information Line at 1-888-621-SAFE to speak to a prevention officer to have questions answered.  If required, a prevention officer will be assigned to assess the health and safety risk at your workplace.



  1. Staff Mental Health Resources
    1. COVID-19 Psychological First Aid Service: Information and Signup(British Columbia Psychological Association) – Free virtual counselling provided by registered psychologists.
    2. COVID-19: Staying Well In Uncertain Times(Canadian Mental Health Association – B.C.) – Tips and information on how to reduce and manage anxiety in the workplace due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
    3. Managing COVID-19 Stress, Anxiety and Depression(Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions) – Tips and resources on things we can do as individuals and collectively to deal with stress and support one another during these challenging times.
    4. Mental Health and Psychosocial Considerations During COVID-19 Outbreak(World Health Organization) – These mental health considerations were developed by the WHO’s Department of Mental Health and Substance Use as messages targeting different groups to support for mental and psychosocial well-being during COVID-19 outbreak.
    5. Mental Health and COVID-19(Conference Board of Canada) – Videos on different aspects of mental health, including coping with anxiety, job loss, and dealing with isolation.
    6. Taking Care of Your Mental Health(COVID-19) (Public Health Agency of Canada) – Tips and resources for taking care of your mental health during the COVID-19 outbreak.


  1. References
    1. K-12 Education Restart Plan. Ministry of Education. July 29 2020.
    2. COVID-19 Public Health Guidance for K-12 School Settings.  Coronavirus COVID-19 BCCDC & BC Ministry of Health, July 29 2020.
    3. BC What to Expect in Stage 2.  July 29 2020.
    4. BC Information for School Districts and Independent Schools.  July 29 2020.
    5. Learning Groups for Students & Staff.  July 29 2020.
    6. Expectations for the K-12 Sector at Each Stage.  August 10, 2020.
    7. WorkSafe BC.  Education (K-12): Protocols for returning to operation.  August 11, 2020.
    8. BC Centre for Disease Control.  Child Care and Schools.  July 30, 2020.
    9. BC Government Self-Assessment Tool:
    10. British Columbia COVID-19 Dashboard.



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