Coronavirus News Update - March 13, 2020

covid 19 update 03 13 130x97As you have all seen in the media, efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus) are ongoing globally, including Canada and here in Manitoba. Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living (MHSAL) and public health officials are advising Manitobans of the first presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in the province.

As of 3:00 pm on March 13, 2020, the province announced that all kindergarten to Grade 12 classes will be closed for a period of three weeks, starting Monday, March 23 to April 10, with classes set to resume Monday, April 13.

As of March 13, 2020, there have been no reports of positive cases of COVID-19 in our region. According to Manitoba Health, the coronavirus (COVID-19) is almost exclusively spread by people who are showing symptoms, and that the majority of people who contract coronavirus (COVID-19) experience mild to moderate symptoms and recover. Prevention is used to protect the spread to vulnerable people and reduce the demands on the medical system for those that will require medical care.

We have a collective responsibility, at both home and school, to help prevent the spread of communicable illnesses. While youth, who are generally in good health, seem to be more resilient to the effects of the virus, they may become carriers who can transmit it to others either directly or indirectly.

As a school division, we will be increasing our cleaning/disinfecting protocols within schools, focusing on common “high touch” surfaces such as doorknobs, faucets, etc. We will also be increasing our cleaning/disinfecting protocols for our school bus fleet.

In addition, following the recommendation of Public Health to postpone non-critical large gatherings, all events taking place outside the regular school day will be postponed until further notice (i.e. extra-curricular activities, field trips and sporting events).

As additional precautionary steps, staff and students are encouraged to:
• Wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds;
• Cough/sneeze into your elbow;
• Not share food or drinks at school and;
• If you feel ill, stay home.

Currently, Manitoba Health is recommending no unnecessary travel and that families who choose to travel should do the following:
• that you self-monitor for symptoms and stay home if any symptoms occur;
• if you are returning from high risk areas, such as Italy, Hubei and Iran, stay home for 14 days and self-isolate during that time.

Any person concerned about their exposure to or risk of having COVID-19 should first call Health Links–Info Sante at 204-788-8200 or 1-888-315-9257 (toll-free) to ensure they receive medical advice appropriate to their specific health concerns.

Please take the time to read the attached “Fact Sheet for Parents”, which provides useful information about the virus, and how parents and community members can help prevent the spread.

Garden Valley School Division will continue to monitor the situation, in consultation with Public Health and Manitoba Education. We will make every effort to continue to provide a calm and nurturing environment for our students, with regular routines and learning. It is important that we as adults remain calm and are reassuring, especially with our younger students. Information and recommendations are changing rapidly, but we will keep you informed as the situation develops.

Todd Monster
Superintendent

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See also pdfLetter_to_Parents_re_covid-19.pdf

See also: pdfFact_Sheet_for_Parents-Mar_13_2020.pdf

See the Manitoba Government's Media Bulletin announcing the closing of Manitoba schools:
https://news.gov.mb.ca/news/index.html?item=46934&posted=2020-03-13

See also the government's announcement in the news media:
https://www.pembinavalleyonline.com/local/manitoba-suspending-school-classes-beginning-march-23
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/manitoba-schools-covid-19-update-1.5497122
https://winnipeg.ctvnews.ca/manitoba-is-closing-all-of-its-schools-due-to-covid-19-1.4852176

See the Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living website containing resources for Manitobans on the Coronavirus:
https://www.gov.mb.ca/health/coronavirus/index.html