COVID-19 is a disease caused by a corona virus that is largely transmitted through respiratory droplets from infected persons when they cough or sneeze. The virus may also be transmitted when individuals touch their faces after touching surfaces contaminated with it. Since its discovery in China around the end of 2019, the disease has spread rapidly throughout the world; and it was declared a pandemic in March 2020 by the World Health Organization. Up to this point in time, millions of persons have been infected and hundreds of thousands have died worldwide. Owing to its highly infectious nature and its fatality, governments, organizations and individuals are working vigorously to stem the spread; and they have made recommendations and issued guidelines in this regard.
The St. Vincent Grammar School is conscious of its obligation to create and maintain a safe environment for all users of its facilities; and it is therefore adopting the protocols herein outlined in response to the coronavirus disease. All of the safety measures are based on the Ministry of Health Guidelines for the Safe Opening of Schools for the 2020/2021 Academic Year, as well as the recommendations of international health experts.
- Persons are advised to wear protective face covering such as face masks when they are in close proximity to others.
- Whenever possible, try to maintain a safe physical distance of at least 6 feet or 2 metres between you and other persons.
- Practise good respiratory hygiene: Cough or sneeze with your face pointing away from others, preferably in disposable tissue or napkin or into your elbow.
- Wash your hands with soap often for a minimum of twenty seconds.
- Clean and sanitize surfaces such as table tops and door knobs that are touched regularly. Whenever bleach is used for sanitization, dilute the bleach by adding 1 part bleach to 9 parts water. If an alcohol-based sanitizer is used, ensure that the alcohol content is at least seventy percent (70%).
- If you have been in contact or near to a person known to be afflicted with COVID-19, self-quarantine.
Cleaning and Sanitization
At the end of each day, cleaners will clean every room used by staff and students and sanitize every desk, table and chair. In addition, the rooms used by students attending adult evening classes will be cleaned and desks sanitized early in the morning, before the relevant rooms are used. In addition, all desks will be sanitized before the start of the afternoon session.
Toilets will be cleaned and sanitized at the end of each day, as well as immediately after the morning break and lunch period.
It will be the duty of the science teachers to ensure that chemicals are cleaned from counter tops in the laboratories before the regular cleaners enter to do routine cleaning and sanitization.
The clerical staff will provide the cleaners with the necessary cleaning materials and protective gears as needed.
Cleaning of the school yard will be ongoing throughout the day by the grounds man, who will ensure that garbage bins are situated at appropriate locations on the compound and are kept covered.
Cleaning and sanitization of computers in the IT lab will be done by students under the direction of the IT teachers, as well as by the IT technician. The clerical staff will clean and sanitize the computers in the general office.
Sanitizer dispensers will be located at the security booth and at various locations on the walls of the school building. Furthermore, students and staff are encouraged to bring along their personal sanitizers.
All persons accessing the school will be advised to wash hands upon entering the school facility. The availability of three water fountains against the school building and faucets at the wash basins in the toilets will facilitate this exercise. Moreover, a hand wash station will be positioned at the gate, especially for the convenience of visitors.
Soaps will be placed at each hand wash station and replenished as the need arises.
Every student and member of staff will be subjected to temperature checks on a daily basis. The temperature of students will be measured and recorded by their form teacher or by another member of staff chosen to do so by the Headmaster or Deputy Headmaster if the form teacher is absent from school. Such measurement will be made at the time that the attendance register is marked. Students arriving late will have their temperature taken at the general office by a member of the clerical staff, who will transmit the data to the students' form teachers subsequently. In addition, truant students will obtain a slip from the general office, providing evidence that their temperature was measured. Without such slips such students will be denied access to class. With respect to teachers and other workers at the school, their temperatures will be measured by members of staff chosen to do so on a rotational basis by the Headmaster or Deputy Headmaster.
Cases of Elevated Temperatures and Illness
Any student or staff member that displays a temperature of 37.8 degrees Celsius or higher or any other symptoms of COVID-19 will be placed in an isolated area or room designated as a sick bay, where he or she will await examination by a member of the health services, who will be contacted immediately. In the case of a student, the parents will also be contacted. The identities of other persons in close proximity to the sick person will be ascertained, and these persons will be asked to remain in a room pending the advice of a member of the health authorities.
Furthermore, students, teachers and all other workers at the school will be encouraged to remain at home if they feel sick and notify the medical officials in their health district.
Entry to and Exit from the School Compound
There will be one entry and exit point at the school, i.e. the main gate. At no point will loitering at this area be permitted. Persons dropping off or picking up students at the school will not be allowed to drive their vehicles through the gate onto the school compound. On their arrival, students and all other persons entering the facility will make use of a hand wash station or sanitizer dispenser near the gate before proceeding to their intended destination. Visitors will be required to first check with the security officer on duty to present their ID and provide information about the purpose of their visit. If entry is allowed, visitors will then go directly to the general office to make their request. They are urged to make an effort to minimize the length of time spent at the school. In light of this, any visitor bringing items to staff or students will be encouraged to leave them at the general office, where they will be subsequently retrieved by the relevant person.
Wearing of Face Masks
Students are expected to wear masks when travelling to and from school. When they get to school, they must keep the mask on until their temperature is checked. Although it is not mandatory for them to wear masks on the school grounds, they are advised to do so when congregating, especially in large groups. However, when students are present in the IT lab, they will be required to put on their face masks.
All visitors to the school will be required to wear face masks.
General assemblies on the school grounds are currently suspended. When necessary, students and staff will be addressed from the Headmaster’s office by utilization of the intercom system. In addition, to address the problem of possible congestion at the main gate, the dismissal of students for the morning and afternoon sessions will be staggered. Students of first and second forms will be dismissed for lunch at 11:50 a.m. while those in the upper forms will be dismissed at 11:55 a.m. Similarly, students of first and second forms will be released at 3:00 p.m. and those in the remaining classes, at 3:05 p.m. Moreover, the operator of the school’s tuck shop will be permitted to engage in vending at more than one location on the school premises.