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R. L. Hyslop

Communications to expect after a confirmed case of COVID-19

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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 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

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.
  • School community messages will be done no later than 9:30 p.m. through School Messenger. If the letter is posted after 9:30 p.m. and all close contacts have been notified, a School Messenger notification will be engaged at 6:45 a.m. the next morning. This is to make families aware before the start of the next school day. This is a courtesy communication to ensure transparency with the school community to inform them about the confirmed case.
  • 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.
Updated on Tuesday, October 27, 2020.
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