COVID-19 Plans: Summer Camps

[UPDATED 30th July 2020]

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

Current Situation


In line with the BC Ministry of Education and Premier John Horgan’s announcement on May 15th, Pear Tree submitted its plans to WorkSafe BC, FISA, and Ministry of Education to allow it to operate its K-7 educational services (incl. camps) – albeit in a slightly modified format.

Pear Tree – both as a summer camp provider and a school – has received confirmation that our COVID plans are approved: WorkSafe BC, Ministry of Education.

We are all in the stages of getting back to more familiar ways of living! Beginning June 1st, all K-7 BC schools transitioned to Stage 3 of BC’s Education Restart Plan. What is more, following the government’s announcement on 29th July, all elementary schools will return to full-time education in September!

  • It is safe to restart K-7 education. The number of COVID-19 cases and the impacts on BC’s health is decreasing.

  • K-7 education is a critical part of BC’s Restart Plan (i.e. it is essential to allow parents to return to work).
  • Re‐engaging now sets the stage for a full school restart in September 2020.

Pear Tree’s low-density classes (i.e. a maximum of 15 students per classroom) and maximum capacity for our summer camps (20-45 students depending on location) are well within the restrictions and expectations of all the health and safety measures K-7 organisations are required to follow.

We received confirmation that with a unique makeup such as ours, a hybrid between Stage 3 and Stage 2 of the Education Restart is acceptable. As such, all students (Kindergarten to Grade 7) will be allowed to be in class Monday-Friday for approximately 4.5 hours per day.

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 restart requirements, we are submitting this operating plan in addition to other supporting documents to the Ministry of Education, FISA and WorkSafeBC, showing that we adhere to the following Health and Safety guidelines:

  • Will class sizes be limited?

    Class sizes will be as follows based on space/density of each location:

    Kitsilano – 13-15 students maximum

    East Van – 15 students maximum

    Burnaby – 8-10 students maximum

  • 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.”
  • 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)
  • 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 pick-up point. 
    • Prior to entering our facilities, parents must complete an online assessment document guided by the BC COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool questions to assess the general health of the student.
    • All parents must sign the document each day acknowledging their child is in good health to attend our camps/courses.

    Staff

    • Staff will follow the same BC COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool and sign in each day, acknowledging they have completed the self-assessment and are confident they can be at school.
  • 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 / centre manager; the student may be excluded from the camps 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 return to the camps when they are able. 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 not directly next to or across from one another
      • 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
  • What days of the week and hours will students attend camp at Pear Tree?
    • All students can attend the camps Monday-Friday
    • At our Kitsilano location, pick-up and drop-off points will differ for each age group (see below)
    • Indoor classes will be from 9am – 12pm
    • Lunch will be from 12pm – 1pm
    • Outdoor time (both park time and additional class time) will be from 1pm – 3pm (or shortly before 3pm). Alternatively, we will split the outdoor time so that some is in the morning and some in the afternoon (especially on bad weather days).
    • Parents are asked to pick children up between 2.50pm and 3.10pm from the arrange pick-up point.
    • After-camp supervision will be at the park from 3pm – 4.30pm and indoors from 4.30pm – 5pm.
  • What additional expectations are there for drop off?

    Each of our 3 x locations is different.

    Based on your registrations, we will provide you with a link for drop off and pick up details specific to your centre (i.e. Kitsilano, East Vancouver, and Burnaby).

  • What additional expectations are there for pick up?

    Each of our 3 x locations is different.

    Based on your registrations, we will provide you with a link for drop off and pick up details specific to your centre (i.e. Kitsilano, East Vancouver, and Burnaby).

  • What should my child bring to Pear Tree?

    Students should only come to Pear Tree with:

    • A jacket
    • A sun hat / sunglasses
    • Indoor shoes (in addition to their outdoor shoes). Indoor shoes can be left at Pear Tree for the week.
    • A labelled water bottle
    • Their packed lunch (ideally in a brown paper bag) (if not part of our hot lunch program – in Kitsilano only)
    • Sunscreen should be applied before arriving
    • Staff can apply our own sun spray, but cannot physically apply the lotion for your child
  • Is the Pear Tree still offering the Hot Lunch Program?

    At our Kitsilano location, yes!

    Students registered for the hot lunch program will receive:

    • Morning snack
    • Hot lunch 
    • Afternoon snack

    Check out our 2020 menu: https://www.pear-tree.ca/healthy-hot-lunch-menu/

  • What precautions will there be around the meal times?
    • Students will refrain from sharing or contacting any food, drinks, utensils
    • Students must bring a labelled water bottle
  • Will there be additional or extended outdoor time?

    Yes. In line with recommendations of the BC Ministry of Education, we will have a hybrid of structured and unstructured time outdoors. 

    • We will be outdoors daily from 1pm – 3pm
    • Students will be organized into smaller groups when outdoors
  • Will there be field trips?

    Currently, we will only be able to go to scheduled field trips if those facilities are open, if it is within reasonable walking distance.

    At present, a lot of facilities remain closed, but that situation is changing constantly as organisation are either permitted to open or able to comply with government guidelines.

    Since the summer camps occur throughout July and August, we are monitoring the situation constantly.

    Where possible, we will seek alternatives for field trips.