Letter to VMS Families – September 23, 2020

Valley Manor Parents and Guardians,

We’d like to thank the VMS Family for your cooperation and understanding in regard to our announcement of an individual testing positive for COVID-19. We thought that we would walk you through the process we go through so that you understand our procedure. 

When Saskatchewan Health Authority determines that one of our student or staff population has tested positive for COVID-19, they contact the school as part of their investigation process for determining who may be identified as a close contact.  There are several different ways someone can be considered a close contact of a patient with COVID-19, one being having close prolonged contact (within two meters) or having shared personal items.  (See link for more information.)   

If the individual is a student, they would have already collected some information from the  parents, and based off of that information, may ask the school to provide additional information, such as classroom seating plans and contact information, to help with their investigation.  They will also ask for a bus seating plan, if applicable, and information regarding whether or not they attend any other school programs, such as the Before and After program.  From there they determine, in consultation with the ill student, who would be considered a close contact.  Those that are deemed to be a close contact are then contacted  and it is determined by Saskatchewan Health the next steps moving forward which may include testing or isolation.

Here at school we then begin our procedure for informing parents, via email, of the class affected and the school population as a whole.  The letter going home to the class states that there has been a positive case found in your child’s Grade __ classroom.  The rest of the school population gets one stating that there has been a positive case found in an individual attending the school.  We are directed by Saskatchewan Health that, in keeping with privacy laws, the names and/or classrooms of the student, staff, or siblings are not to be divulged to the general public.

Our facilities department, along with Administration, then determines the possible contact areas of the child/class/staff member within the school and a deep clean is completed.

We hope this clarifies for you the process that we have to follow in regard to not only keeping people safe, and informed, but also protecting people’s privacy.  We appreciate your understanding and cooperation in following all the Saskatchewan Health protocols and guidelines as we try to keep our school communities safe. 

Garth Harrison
Valley Manor Elementary