COVID-19 Response Resources for Student Education

 

The following resources are provided for guidance during the pandemic.

 Tabs

 Orders & Guidance

Provincial Guidance 

Provincial Health Officer (PHO)  - Orders

All the PHO Orders, Notice and Guidance can be found on the Office of the Provincial Health Officer page.  
Key documents for student education are:

Infection, Prevention and Control (IPC)

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Vaccination  


Up-to-date information on BC's COVID-19 immunizations is found here:

 Guidelines & Placement Requirements

Provincial guidelines 

In response to the pandemic, the Ministry of Health has published the following:

Student practice in BC is guided by 22 Practice Education Guidelines (PEG)s. These PEGs support the
safety of patients, staff, students and faculty.  All the exist​​ing PEGs​ continue to be applicable, with the following interim modifications to the pre-placement requirements during the COVID-19 outbreak.  ​

Immuniza​tion​

  • Existing Immunization Guideline​​ ​
  • Update:  TB Testing On April 24, 2020, BCCDC Provinc​ial TB Services communicated that student TB testing was deemed a deferred service during the pandemic. BCCDC noted the final decision to defer or continue TB testing appointments at the local level is under the jurisdiction of the regional Medical Health Officer (MHO). Post Secondary Institutions (PSIs) are to contact their local public health office regarding the availability of TB testing. The requirement for TB testing must be met, if the local TB testing services are available.  If the service is not available, PSIs are to contact their local Health Care Organization (HCO) to discuss any potential implications.
  • Update:  ​​TB Testing and mRNA Vaccines: ​According to ​​​Guidance from BCCDC for Pfizer  p 3, and Moderna​​, p 2:
    ​​"Due to the theoretical risk that mRNA vaccines may temporarily affect cell-mediated
    immunity, resulting in false-negative TST or IGRA test results, these tests should be
    administered and read before COVID-19 immunization or delayed for at least 4 weeks after
    immunization. COVID-19 immunization may take place at any time after all steps of
    tuberculin skin testing have been completed."
  • ​​For individuals who have not had TB testing and have received the mRNA vaccine, follow the guidance in BCCDC TB Screening DST for TB Assessment including health history, risk factors and physical assessment. 

Respiratory protection

  • Existing Respiratory Protection Guideline​

  • ​Update:  N95 Fit Testing PPE The Respiratory Protection PEG continues to apply during the COVID-19 pandemic i.e. HCOs Responsibility: Supply students and on site PSI educators with respiratory protection required for care of patients during their placement.
  • Additional Resources:  Personal Protec​tive Equipment (PPE) Allocation Framework​ guides the use of PPE in health settings​.  It is expected that PPE will be provided by the practice education placement setting. PSIs/students will not normally be asked to provide PPE for use in practice education settings.
  • Note: It is anticipated that not all students will require fit testing for an N95 respirator. Use of an N95 respirator and eye protection (i.e., goggles or face shield), gloves and gown is required for aerosol generating medical procedures for patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 or airborne diseases. 
  • For additional direction on N95 respirators including fit testing requirements refer to Ministry of Health Policy Communique May 19, 2020​ - Infection Prevention and Control for Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Orientation 

  • Existing On-site Faculty Orientation Guideline​ and Students Orientation Guideline 

  • Update:  CPR Certification Placements can proceed regardless of a student's CPR renewal status. PSIs/HCOs will work with students who need to obtain/renew their certification to ensure they work to their current skill level. PSIs ensure students proceed with obtaining certification as soon as CPR training resumes.
  • Update:  Provincial Violence Prevention Classroom (PVPC) Training High-risk areas that require PVPC training, along with their contact information, are noted in the Destination Profile in HSPnet. Classroom training may be available with physical distancing measures in place. Please connect with the destination contact in the high-risk areas to confirm training availability. All online PVP modules are an ongoing requirement.

​Additional requirements during COVID-19

Screening: PSIs should ensure students/ faculty are aware of current self-assessment requirements, and onsite pre-screening requirements of any single site facilities implicated in the Public Health Officer's (PHO's) Order. 
  • Students/ faculty should complete a self-assessment using the provincial self-assessment tool​ prior to each practice education shift to ensure they are asymptomatic.
  • Additionally, local sites may have additional requirements for self-assessment. PSIs and HCOs will need to determine the screening that applies to both students and faculty members. 
Point-of-Care-Risk Assessment​ (PCRA): The PCRA is a routine practice which should be conducted before every patient/client/resident (hereafter ‘patient’) interaction by a health-care worker (HCW) to assess the likelihood of exposing themselves and/or others to infectious agents. This assessment informs the selection of appropriate actions and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to minimize the risk of exposure. 

Illness Occurring During a Practice Education Shift: If students or faculty should become symptomatic with COVID-19, cold or influenza symptoms while on-site, they must leave the practice setting immediately and promptly seek COVID-19 testing and care. Students with cold, influenza or COVID-19-like symptoms are advised to seek COVID-19 testing and care. Should the student or faculty test positive for COVID-19, public health will direct appropriate contact notification including notification of patients, health-care workers, other students and faculty. ​ B.C. has expanded testing criteria to find new cases and prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the
community. Testing is recommended for anyone with cold, influenza or COVID-19-like symptoms, however mild.

Return to clinical:  For any students who experience COVID-19 symptoms, the following guidance for staff will also be used for students' returning to clinical placements:
Dress Code:  Students/faculty should plan to have a change of clothes and shoes to travel to and from the placement site and clothes to work in. They must wash placement clothes daily between shifts.

Physical Distancing: Where possible during practice education, education or work experience, students and faculty should follow physical distancing recommendations i.e. maintaining a distance of two metres between people. This includes adhering to distancing guidelines while on shift break, before and after a shift to decrease transmission risk. Students and on-site faculty are advised to wear appropriate PPE as per the PPE Framework.

Student Assignment: The HCO/PSI may adjust the care area or patient assignment to best match the learning objectives; promote patient/ staff/ student safety; and as appropriate to preserve PPE supplies.  
  • When appropriate, students may provide care to presumptive-positive patients or patients with confirmed COVID-19, when the required competencies, supervision and IPC practices are in place. 
Contact tracing:  In the event of a potential exposure, a contact tracing process is initiated and led by Public Health.  Any students, staff, and instructors who may be affected will be notified.

Local Policy/ Guidelines:  PSIs and HCOs should share any site/ program specific guidance related to the COVID-19 response prior to the start of the student practice education placement - health authority cont​acts​​

Provincial and organization requirements

Review the remainder of the pre-placement preparations:

 Planning & Coordination

​Principles

While Post Secondary Instutions (PSI) and Health Care Organizations (HCO) continue to work together to support student practice education, during the COVID-19 outbreak different approaches may be needed and are evolving.  To help facilitate that, the following Principles​ have been adopted.

Short-term decision making considerations

The decision-making process must comply with any direction given by the Public Health Officer (PHO) and/or Medical Health Officers (MHOs). In monitoring the status of COVID-19 in B.C., the PHO may provide specific Orders for the health and education sectors or general guidance to the public that also applies to student practice education settings. MHOs may provide additional Orders/guidance for their region of responsibility.​

Both PSIs and HCOs have a responsibility to ensure the safety of their people. As the circumstances of the pandemic evolve, either or both sectors may assess the care and learning environment and decide that practice education rotations need to be suspended, delayed or modified from the original request.  Communication between sectors is critical to minimize impact on both systems.

Any adjustment to the practice education preparation of students will have significant impacts on the future availability of the health system workforce. 

Longer term delays/suspensions of student practice education requirements

PSIs: PSIs considering cancelling a program cohort or practice education placement should work with Ministry of Advanced Education & Skills Training (AEST) and their HCO partners to explore alternatives before a final decision is made (Appendix 2: PSI Health Program Delay Process​).

HCOs: HCOs considering cancelling or significantly reducing placements should work with their senior leaders, Ministry of Health​, other HCOs and their PSI partners to explore alternatives to mitigate impacts on student progression before a final decision is made.

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