COVID-19 Safety Plan: March 2021 Update
As you know, British Columbia government officials have developed and implemented a “phased” system for opening up the province as we move through the COVID-19 pandemic. In response, Pivot Point published our “COVID 19 Go Forward Plan” where we defined our response to each phase, keeping in mind that we are an essential service and following the recommendations of the BCCDC, and WorkSafe BC. The goal has always been to do our part to flatten the curve and keep transmission rates low. Ensuring implementation and adherence to health and safety plans is important in keeping in-person learning available.
In September Pivot Point developed and implemented our “COVID 19 Safety Plan”. At that time the BC government described the risk of transmission as a direct function of two variables: the number of contacts (the number of people present at the same time) and the contact intensity (the type of contact ie. close or distant and the length of contact ie. brief or prolonged). These factors were rated as low, medium or high risks. Pivot Point services can fall into any of the aforementioned risk areas and levels, and can vary throughout the service term. Pivot Point has always left it up to individuals, their families and staff to make the best decisions for themselves with respect to the level of contact intensity they feel comfortable with. However we have also had the expectation that our staff and persons served are adhering to the provincial orders, as well as any other recommendations made by the government. As you all know, these orders can change weekly. As such we expect that everyone is paying attention to the release of reliable information as it comes out. The following is a summary of our current expectations:
- – Practice good hygiene, including:
- • Regular hand washing / hand sanitizing,
- • Avoiding touching your face with unwashed hands,
- • Practice good respiratory etiquette- cough and sneeze into your elbow or a tissue,
- • Refrain from sharing any food, drinks, utensils, etc.
- • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
- – Keep physical distancing (6 feet), as much as possible and where not possible, use a non-medical mask or face covering. The use of masks does not reduce or replace practicing physical distancing and other prevention measures. If the individual is not able to tolerate wearing a mask, staff will do so in order to limit risk, and/or should use a plexiglass barrier wherever possible.
- – Contact 8-1-1 or your doctor and stay at home following their advice when you have cold or flu symptoms, including:
- • Fever, chills, new or worsening cough, loss of sense of smell or taste, difficulty breathing, sore throat, extreme fatigue or tiredness, any new muscle or body aches, headaches, loss of appetite, nausea or vomiting and diarrhea.
- • Fatigue in children may look like poor eating, decreased activity or changes in behaviour.
- • If someone in your home is sick or not well it is recommended that you stay home.
- – If you are directed by your doctor or Public Health to self isolate you must do so and inform your Regional Manager.
- – If a COVID test is recommended, the person must stay home until they received their test results:
- • If the test is negative, they can return to sessions when symptoms improve and they feel well enough.
- • If the test is positive, they must follow direction from public health on when they can return to sessions.
- – Anyone who has arrived from outside of Canada must self isolate for 14 days and monitor for symptoms.
- – Pivot Point’s Covid waiver MUST be signed by staff and clients prior to in person sessions and can be found at https://pivotpoint.ca/covid-19-waiver/ for clients and in the Carewebs file cabinet for staff.
- – Daily screening/health checks are conducted on staff and persons served and recorded.
- – Gatherings or events, including social gatherings, must comply with the PHO Order for Gatherings and Events. At this time all in home gatherings are prohibited, a maximum of 10 persons gathering outdoors is allowed.
- – We have implemented policies and procedures for working online. Staff must follow our working alone and work from home policies, as well as our Online Services policies.
At Pivot Point sites (group settings), the above apply. In addition:
- – Visitors are limited at all Pivot Point sites. If we do have a pre approved visitor, they are asked to provide active confirmation (e.g. e-mail before entry, sign in at entry, sanitize hands a etc.) that they have no symptoms of illness and are not required to self-isolate before entering.
- • Pivot Point sites keep a list of the date, names and contact information for all visitors who enter.
- • All visitors must wear a mask when at the site.
- – Signage is posted at our centers which includes occupancy limits, protocols and effective hygiene practices.
- – We have locked / restricted access to non-essential rooms in our offices and centers.
- – Participants are asked to prevent crowding at all times (eg in rooms, at the door, etc); particularly at the start and end of day. If people are in the same space for an extended period of time (eg beyond 15 minutes) the space should be sufficiently large enough so that the 6 foot / 2 meter spacing can occur.
- – Avoid close face-to-face contact whenever possible.
- – Assign staff to specific students whenever possible.
- – Stagger break and transition times whenever possible.
- – Ensure physical activity is delivered in line with the guidance in this document.
- – Seek virtual alternatives wherever possible when a group is gathered (eg Lunch Bunch), including for extracurricular practices, and other activities.
- • If a virtual alternative is not possible, the size of the gatherings is minimized as much as possible.
- – Desks/tables are arranged to maximize space between students. Seating arrangements where students directly face one another are avoided and we use consistent seating arrangements where possible.
- – Each student has a caddy with their own materials (e.g. pencils, crayons, scissors, etc).
- – There is no evidence that the COVID-19 virus is transmitted via textbooks, paper or other paper-based products. Laminated or glossy paper-based products (e.g. children’s books or magazines) and items with plastic covers (e.g. DVDs) can be contaminated if handled by a person with COVID-19; however, the risk is low. There is reportedly no need for these items to be cleaned and disinfected or quarantined for any period of time, or for hand hygiene to be practiced before or after use.
- – Frequently-touched surfaces are cleaned and disinfected every 24 hours.
- • including door knobs, light switches, toilet handles, tables, desks and chairs, keyboards, sports equipment, manipulatives and toys used by multiple students.
- – At this time, there is no evidence that a building’s ventilation system, in good operating condition, would contribute to the spread of COVID-19. Good indoor ventilation alone cannot protect people from exposure to the virus; however, it may reduce risk when used in addition to other preventive measures.
- – Pivot Point is limiting the number of people in our sites by implementing work from home arrangements when needed (eg exposures, self isolating, etc).
Pivot Point staff promote personal preventative measures through the use of modelling, teaching and visual aids. These practices focus on positive and inclusive approaches.
Exposure: An exposure occurs when a person may have had contact with someone who has been potentially infected with COVID-19 and there is a risk of transmission to others. If there was a potential exposure at a site, public health will work with us to understand who may have been exposed, and to determine what actions should be taken, including identifying if other students or staff are sick (case finding) or have been exposed.
- – The health authority will notify by phone or letter everyone who they determine may have been exposed, including if any follow-up actions are recommended.
- – Those who public health determines are close contacts will be advised to self isolate.
- – Those who public health determines are not close contacts but may still have been exposed may be advised to self-monitor for symptoms.
To ensure personal privacy rights are maintained, public health will not disclose that a person served or staff member is a confirmed case of COVID-19 unless there is reason to believe they may have been infectious when they attended a Pivot Point site. Public health will only provide the personal information needed to support effective contact tracing. Pivot Point staff will not provide notifications to staff or students’ families about potential or confirmed COVID-19 cases unless we are directed to do so by the health authority.
Immunizations: We are now in the second phase (February to April 2021) of the roll out of COVID 19 immunizations in the province of British Columbia. During this phase some health authorities are making immunizations available to vulnerable populations, home support staff, and in April priority frontline workers (which includes child care and educational staff). At this time it is reported that COVID-19 vaccines have been tested and approved for use in people over the age of 16 (Pfizer) and 18 (Moderna and AstaZeneca). Most children are not eligible to receive the vaccine at this time. If you would like to be immunized, please contact your family doctor, local health authority or go online to register. Please remember that even if you have received the vaccine, you must follow provincial health orders and continue to do your part to protect others.
Pivot Point will not be tracking which staff or individuals served have been immunized as this is a personal choice which we are not able to monitor.
Pivot Point continues to keep abreast of current best practices for COVID 19 and share this information with staff and persons served. During this trying time, we also offer mental health supports for the well being of the individuals served, their families and our staff. Together, we can continue to take these actions to flatten the curve, while doing all that we can to improve our well-being and strengthen our relationships.
Stay Safe and Healthy
Pivot Point Directors