COVID-19 Plans: After-School Courses

[UPDATED 3rd September 2020]

Before discussing our COVID-19 plans, it is important to recognise why such plans are in place.

Who Is At Risk?


We are very conscious of the health and well-being of your child. Pear Tree has been in operation since 2012, and we pride ourselves on the high levels of safety that we have always offered.

Without dismissing this, it is important to note, however, that children are not at serious health risk from COVID-19. In fact, the statistics for children are the lowest of any age bracket.

Those who are at serious risk of COVID-19 include:

  1. People aged 70+
  2. People with specific health conditions

What is the Purpose of COVID-19 Measures?


Social distancing and COVID-19 measures are to slow down the spread of COVID-19 to these people who are at risk.

It does not eliminate COVID-19. It delays the spread of the disease so that:

  1. Hospitals are not overwhelmed
  2. It buys time to create and test a potential vaccine (minimising deaths in the meantime)

The government decided that closing businesses and schools would help with this endeavour.

“The sacrifices [children] have made by not seeing your friends and by stopping going to school and other activities are your contributions to fighting the pandemic. By putting societies and economies on hold, we have reduced the ability of the virus to spread through our communities. These defensive measures have helped to limit some of the short-term impacts of the virus, and bought us time to translate what we have learned about the virus into solutions so that we can get back to a more familiar way of living.” WHO

What Measures Are We Taking?


  • What Health and Safety guidelines are we following?

    As part of the requirements, we adhere to the following Health and Safety guidelines:

  • Will class sizes be limited?

    Most of Pear Tree’s after-school programs have a maximum of 12 students per class.

    Please note, however, that based on our low-density classes (i.e. a maximum of 15 students per classroom) and maximum capacity for the school (50 people) are well within the restrictions and expectations of all the health and safety measures K-12 facilities are required to follow, specifically pertaining to the recommended “learning groups”.

  • What additional cleaning protocol will take place?

    In line with the Provincial COVID-19 Health & Safety Guidelines for K-12 Settings, we will be doing the following cleaning at Pear Tree, in addition to our normal, general cleaning and disinfecting of the premises once a day:

    • Frequently-touched shared surfaces will be cleaned and disinfected at least twice a day (e.g. door knobs, light switches, toilet handles, tables, desks, chairs, electronic devices, keyboards and toys)
    • Cleaning and disinfecting any surface that is visibly dirty
    • Using common, commercially-available detergents and disinfectant products and closely follow the instructions on the label
    • Emptying garbage containers daily
    • Cleaning washrooms at least twice a day keeping in line with the high touch surface area protocols

    The cleaning will only be done by members of staff, and not students. 

    Please note, there is no evidence that the COVID-19 virus is transmitted via textbooks, paper or other paper-based products. As such, there is no need to limit the distribution of books or paper based educational resources to students because of COVID-19. 

  • Do staff and students need to wear face masks?

    The Provincial COVID-19 Health & Safety Guidelines for K-12 Settings state:

    • Bonnie Henry and WHO considers non-medical masks the least effective method of protection for you/others.
    • “Cloth or homemade masks are not recommended, particularly for children.”
    • “Wearing a mask is a personal choice.”

    With this in mind, staff and students do not need to wear face masks.

  • What hygiene measures around handwashing are taking place?

    Students will be monitored when washing their hands. Students will dry their hands with disposable paper towels, and not use the hand dryer. Pear Tree staff will educate students on how frequently they should wash or sanitize their hands. This will include, at minimum, as per WorkSafeBC:

    • When they arrive at Pear Tree and before they go home
    • Before eating and drinking
    • After using the toilet
    • After sneezing or coughing into hands or tissue
    • Whenever hands are visibly dirty
    • When moving between different learning environments (i.e. returning from the park)

    These requirements will depend on the nature of the course that your child is attending.

  • How is the school going to assess students, staff and parents entering Pear Tree?

    Students

    • A member of staff will meet and greet students and parents at the entrance to Pear Tree (on second floor). 
    • Prior to entering our facilities and attending our courses, parents must complete a one-time online assessment document guided by the BC COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool questions to assess the general health of your child.

    Staff

  • What if a child or staff member is sick?

    As per the Provincial COVID-19 Health & Safety Guidelines for K-12 Settings Section 3:

    • Should children, youth and staff have common-cold, influenza, or COVID-19 like symptoms they must stay home, be assessed by their health care provider and tested for COVID-19. 
    • When someone is symptomatic, they should self-isolate and follow directions provided by their health care provider. 
    • Self-isolation is also advised for those who are considered a close contact of a confirmed case and are waiting to see if they develop COVID-19 illness.
  • What if a child or staff member becomes sick while at Pear Tree?

    As per Appendix B of the COVID-19 of the BC Center for Disease Control Public Health Guidance for K-12 Settings,

      • If a member of staff suspect a student is suffering from a communicable disease that endangers others at Pear Tree, they must report this to the director; the student may be excluded from the course until a certificate is received from their doctor permitting them to attend. 
      • Staff who are suffering from a communicable disease will be suspended from work until they can provide a certificate from their doctor permitting them to return to work.
      • Staff will immediately separate the symptomatic student from others in a supervised area.
      • Staff will contact the student’s parent or caregiver to pick them up as soon as possible.
      • Where possible, maintain a distance of 2 metres from the ill student. If not possible, staff may wear a mask if available and tolerated, or use a tissue to cover their nose and mouth.
      • We will provide the student with tissues to cover their coughs or sneezes. We will throw away used tissues as soon as possible and perform hand hygiene.
      • Staff will avoid touching the student’s body fluids (e.g., mucous, saliva). If we do, we will practice diligent hand hygiene.
      • Once the student is picked up, we will practice diligent hand hygiene.
      • Staff responsible for facility cleaning must clean and disinfect the space where the student was separated and any areas used by them (e.g., classroom, bathroom, any common areas in Pear Tree).
      • Pear Tree staff will contact 811 or the local public health unit to notify them of a potential case and seek further input.
    • Parents or caregivers must pick up their child as soon as possible if they are notified their child is ill.
  • If my child is sick, do I get a refund?

    If you child is sick, you will need to visit the doctor to diagnose if they are sick because of COVID-19 or if it is another illness.

    Full refunds are provided in the event that a doctor diagnoses your child with COVID-19 (doctor’s note must be emailed to us).

    If your child’s sickness is not COVID-19 related, they may either return to the current program or, if availability permits, they can attend a later course during the current year.

    No refund will be provided for non-COVID-19 related illnesses.

  • If I decide to cancel, do I get a refund?

    Given the information provided, any cancellation is subject to our normal Terms & Conditions.

    Please note that we cannot accommodate each family’s view on the risks of COVID. Government guidelines are provided for a purpose. They rely on research, professional expertise, and fairly consistent guidelines that organisations can follow.

    To accommodate the individual demands of specific parents (e.g. social distancing demands, face mask, specific time to be spent outdoors, etc.) is not possible.

    Ultimately, if you do not support our COVID policies (i.e. government guidelines), you shouldn’t register with us.

  • How are students and staff going to maintain social distancing?

    The BC Center for Disease Control recognizes that social distancing would be very challenging for elementary school-aged children.  

    • For younger children maintaining physical distance is less practical and the focus should be on minimizing physical contact instead.
      • Students will be organized at tables in a manner to distance students as best as possible
      • Students in younger classes will have markers on the carpet, to remind them where to sit to maintain social distancing
      • Additional options for working around the classroom will be stressed by teachers
    • Staff will try to maintain a social distance from each other whenever possible
    • Staff and students will be discouraged from congregating in common areas such as near cubbies or from touching each other
  • What additional expectations are there for drop off?
    • Please ensure that you have completed our online assessment form prior to the first class
    • Enter the building via the Stephens Street entrance (see photo + map below)
    • There will be markers along the floor to distance parents and children during drop off
    • Parents should wait outside in the line up with their children
    • A Pear Tree staff member will meet you at the entrance to our facility
    • We will ask you if you have completed the online assessment form for your child. If you haven’t, you will be asked to complete the online form (if you have a QR reader, we can provide a direct link to the form) or a paper version
    • Parents are not allowed inside of Pear Tree’s facility,unless permission granted.
    • Exit Pear Tree via the Stephens Street entrance

    Meeting point 5-6 Meeting point 5-6

  • What additional expectations are there for pick up?
    • Pick off time will be from 5.30pm
    • Enter the building via the Stephens Street entrance (see photo + map below)
    • There will be markers along the floor to distance parents during pick up
    • Parents should wait outside of Pear Tree in the line up
    • A Pear Tree representative will meet you at the entrance to our facility, and will bring your into Pear Tree as quickly as possible to avoid lengthy line ups
    • Parents are not allowed inside of Pear Tree’s facility, unless permission granted
    • Exit Pear Tree via the Stephens Street entrance
    • Please note: parents can give permission for their child (aged 10+) to leave without a parent meeting them

    Meeting point 5-6 Meeting point 5-6

  • What should my child bring to Pear Tree?

    Students should avoid bringing anything to Pear Tree if possible.

    However, backpacks are permitted.