Communications to expect after a confirmed case of COVID-19
HWDSB is committed to providing timely and transparent communication related to COVID-19 confirmed cases and outbreaks. Staff work closely with Hamilton Public Health Services (HPHS) in each case. Since the last update, staff have communicated several confirmed cases and common themes to standardize the Board’s communication response have emerged. There are several communication steps to support internal and external communications when public health notified staff about a confirmed case. This does not represent all the operational decisions that require communications in each case.
Case management communication
Update (March 19): Beginning Friday, March 19, Hamilton Public Health Services will share a letter to close contacts. The letter, shared electronically by the school where possible, will replace the call from HPHS.
January 2021 COVID-19 Update: School Messenger notifications will continue to be used to alert close contacts only and inform the school related to outbreak status. We will continue the practice started over the winter break to end the courtesy School Messenger notifications to school communities informing them about a positive case at a particular school. Parents, guardians and caregivers can continue to find information about confirmed cases via:
- School websites (elementary/secondary) viewed in the News section
- Subscription service to receive an email when information is posted on the school website
- HWDSB COVID-19 Dashboard
The following is a list of priority audiences that will receive outreach:
- Direct connection with close contact students/families and staff;
- A follow-up communication from HWDSB to inform families related to close contact’s remote learning situation, if the class is away for the 14-day period or if an individual close contact is not associated with a class cohort;
- Notification to childcare and before-and-after school program provider;
- Notification to transportation where necessary;
- Support for the Office Administrator at the school to help field family inquiries;
- Awareness to all-school staff members before a confirmed case is shared publicly;
- Communication with the broader school community, including updating the school website of a confirmed case and HWDSB’s COVID-19 Advisory Dashboard;
Parents/guardians can expect communications in a timely manner. To date, the following practices have been established:
- Students are asked to remain at the school and held back from dismissal should public health notify HWDSB about a confirmed case within this timeframe. This may include withholding students from riding a school bus.
- Families can expect a personal phone call home, or a School Messenger message home, should HWDSB notify them that their child could be a close contact. A personal phone call is always preferred; however, staff have had situations where either the volume of students to contact is more than one class or the time of response requires an urgent connection, such as after 8:00 p.m. Principals are also required to contact staff directly.
- More than one case in a school does not necessarily mean an outbreak. Direction is provided by Hamilton Public Health Services in declaring an outbreak at a specific school location.
- Private information or identifiers including grade, gender, teacher’s name, or other will not be shared.
- There will not be a post on social media from HWDSB accounts for cases that are made public.
- All public communication is approved by Hamilton Public Health Services.