Symbols and COVID-19/Coronavirus

Hi Symbols Parents,

With respect to the current COVID-19 situation, we remain reassured by Canadian health officials maintaining that the risk level in Canada is low, the fact that children do not seem to be as adversely affected by the virus as other higher-risk groups, and the fact that unlike schools or daycares, transmission in Symbols is lower-risk as all tutoring is 1-to-1 and interaction between children is very limited.

That said, the safety of our students, tutors, and parents is a fundamental priority of Symbols, and we are now instituting measures to limit the risk.

We are actively monitoring updates regarding the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), and following guidelines and recommendations from Vancouver Coastal Health Authority and the Office of the Provincial Health Officer (including this document they produced for schools and childcare).

In line with these recommendations, effective tomorrow, Symbols will:

  • Supply diluted bleach spray bottles (20ml of bleach to 1 L of water) and paper towels to every tutor, with instructions to disinfect desks between lessons.
  • Institute a policy of student handwashing at the beginning of each lesson.  The tutor will either accompany the student to the washroom or send them alone as appropriate, based on the student’s age and ability.
  • Instruct tutors to wash their hands upon arrival at the center, and as needed throughout their workday.
  • Supply a bottle of hand sanitizer to each tutor, for use only when handwashing is inconvenient or difficult due to washroom congestion or other factors (not only is handwashing said to be superior to hand sanitizer, but hand sanitizer is in short supply in stores; we were very lucky to be able to purchase a fairly large quantity this morning).
  • Ask that you not bring your child to Symbols if they are ill.
    • Symbols has a generous make-up lesson policy allowing you to miss several lessons each term and either reschedule them or receive a Specialized Work Package to work on at home.  Our policies can be found here.
  • Ask that tutors stay home if they are ill.

Some of the above measures will, unfortunately, cut into the 5 minute time between sessions that tutors typically spend speaking with parents.  Your co-operation and understanding are greatly appreciated with these hopefully-temporary measures we are taking for student, tutor and parent health.  If you do find yourself needing more information with regards to progress or lesson content beyond what is already provided in the emailed lesson summaries and bi-monthly progress reports, please reach out to us via Concierge and we will get in touch with you.

We hope all measures we are taking will be temporary and the current COVID-19 situation in Greater Vancouver does not significantly worsen.  However, if the situation does progress, we are prepared to take additional measures.  We have purchased surgical face masks and latex gloves that can be distributed to tutors if and when necessary (we are aware that face masks are not currently recommended, but we do now have a supply in case recommendations change).  We are also prepared to institute a policy of parents sending their children into the center alone, and not entering the center themselves, in order to limit contact between people and maintain a safe distance.  Hopefully these additional measures won’t become necessary.

As outlined by our local health authorities, the most effective way to prevent and control respiratory viruses is the consistent practise of good respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene. This includes:

  • Stay home if you feel unwell.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds, that’s about the same length it takes to sing Happy Birthday twice.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • When coughing or sneezing:
  • Cover your mouth and nose with your arm or tissues.
  • Immediately dispose of any tissues you have used into the garbage and wash your hands afterwards.

Please assist us in our efforts by observing these recommendations. In particular, please stay home if you feel unwell. If you experience respiratory symptoms or health concerns, call HealthLinkBC at 8-1-1.

Further recommendations and resources for individuals are available at:

Thank you!

Posted in

Rob Wahl