September 2021

Health & Facility

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How We’re Maintaining Healthy and Safe Facilities

Ensuring the safety of our students and staff is our top priority. A successful September 2021 Plan must continue to limit the spread of COVID-19 in our community. All of these Guidelines and Procedures have been developed with guidance from Halton Region Public Health, the Ontario Ministry of Education, and HDSB staff with expertise in Health and Safety. Each staff member in our Board will be fully trained in all Health and Facility procedures prior to the start of the school year.


Student Screening and Self-Assessment

  • The parent/guardian of each elementary student is required to:

    • Complete a daily self-assessment using the COVID-19 school screening tool for each child;

    • Keep their child at home when feeling unwell;

    • Have a plan to pick-up their child(ren) promptly if symptoms develop during the day.

  • Daily screening should be done BEFORE leaving for school.

  • Students are required to show verification of daily screening from September 7 - 17, as directed by the Ministry of Education; schools will communicate this with students and families

  • Students should stay home if they are sick.

  • Report the absence with the reason “illness” via SchoolMessenger or call the school.

  • Using the screening tool, if your child has any symptom new, worsening, and not related to other known causes or conditions they must remain home until:

  1. They receive a negative COVID-19 test result or an alternative diagnosis by a health care professional AND symptoms have improved for at least 24 hours (if symptoms included nausea/vomiting/diarrhea, these symptoms should be resolved for at least 48 hours)
    OR

  2. It has been 10 days since the symptom occurred and they are feeling better.

  • When a member of the household has symptoms of COVID-19, asymptomatic students who are fully immunized (or were previously positive within the past 90 days and have since been cleared) may attend school. ​If these conditions have not been met, household members (e.g., siblings) must also self-isolate.

  • Students are to comply with any orders provided by Public Health.

  • At the beginning of the school year parents/guardians/students 18 years or older will be required to complete an electronic attestation for Screening and Self-Assessment.

Student with Possible Symptoms of COVID-19 BEFORE Coming to School

  1. They receive a negative COVID-19 test result or an alternative diagnosis by a health care professional AND symptoms have improved for at least 24 hours (if symptoms included nausea/vomiting/diarrhea, these symptoms should be resolved for at least 48 hours)
    OR

  2. It has been 10 days since the symptom occurred and they are feeling better.

  • Report the absence with the reason “illness” via SchoolMessenger or by calling the school.

  • Asymptomatic household members of symptomatic individuals should:

    • Stay/go home if NOT fully immunized, or if they were not previously positive within the past 90 days and have since been cleared.

OR

    • Go to school if fully immunized, or if they were previously positive within the past 90 days and have since been cleared.

Resources


Student with Possible Symptoms of COVID-19 at School

  • A “What to do if you feel unwell at school” poster is located in each classroom.

  • Each school has a designated space for student isolation should they present with symptoms while at school.

  • The school will notify the parent/guardian that the student is waiting in the Isolation Room and needs to be picked up immediately.

  • Any students living in the same household will also need to go home if NOT fully immunized, or if they were not previously positive within the past 90 days and have since been cleared.

  • Parents/guardians should avoid travel on public transportation when leaving with the child(ren)

  • Parents/guardians must follow the process regarding student COVID-19 testing prior to returning to school as outlined in COVID-19 Symptoms - Guidelines for Parents/Guardians.

Contact Tracing and Public Health

  • Public health officials will determine any additional steps required, including but not limited:

    • Contact tracing and the determination of individuals who are required to isolate

    • The declaration of an outbreak (two or more cases linked within the cohort)

    • School closure

  • Individuals who are fully immunized (or were previously positive within the past 90 days and have since been cleared) and asymptomatic will not be required to isolate after contact with a confirmed or probable case and will also not be required to isolate if they are in the same household as a symptomatic individual.

  • High-risk contacts (as determined by Public Health) of a case are to isolate for 10 days, unless they are fully immunized or if they were previously positive within the past 90 days and have since been cleared. Letters from Halton Region Public Health will be sent to families/students determined by contact tracing.

  • General communication regarding cases in a school will be posted at the HDSB COVID-19 Advisory webpage.

  • Public Health and the Ministry of Education will track confirmed COVID-19 cases throughout the Region and conduct thorough contact tracing for all confirmed cases.

  • The school/board will be contacted by Public Health in the event of contact tracing related to a confirmed COVID-19 case in the school.

Preventative Measures

Hand Hygiene

  • Hand sanitizer stations are placed at all school designated entrances for student and staff use as they enter and exit the building.

  • All classrooms/portables will have hand sanitizer supplied.

  • Regular hand hygiene breaks will occur throughout the day for students (e.g., regular time intervals throughout the day, before/after eating food, after using the washroom, before/after outdoor play).

  • Encourage effective hand hygiene practices with your child(ren) outside of school.

Physical Distancing

Practise and promote physical distancing with your child(ren) outside of school. School procedures will be developed to promote physical distancing, including:

  • Increase physical distance of chairs and tables/desks in all rooms.

  • Promoting learning outside, if weather permits.

  • Arranging student desks with as much distance as possible.

  • Limiting capacity and/or cohorting in large common spaces (e.g., library, cafeteria, gyms).

  • Students facing the same direction (to support respiratory hygiene).

  • Purposeful planning of classroom learning activities.

  • Wayfinding and signage on walls and floor for routes to and from classrooms and washrooms.

  • Promoting physical distancing for lines/queues inside and outside.

Respiratory Hygiene

Encourage respiratory hygiene practices with your child(ren) including:

  • Not touching the face, especially eyes, mouth and nose.

  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, sleeve or elbow.

  • Wash and/or sanitize hands after sneezing or blowing nose.

  • Tissues will be available; students may choose to bring a box of tissues for personal use.

Non-Medical Masks, Cloth Masks and Face Coverings

  • All students (Kindergarten - Grade 12) will be required to wear non-medical or cloth masks indoors in school, including in hallways and during classes.

  • Outdoor instructional time will be scheduled to provide students with breaks from wearing masks within their cohorts.

  • Where they can be worn safely based on the activity, masking will be encouraged for engaging in physical activity.

  • Masks may be temporarily removed indoors to consume food or drink, with a minimum distance of two metres maintained between cohorts and as much distancing as possible within a cohort.

  • A non-medical mask is not a replacement for proven infection control methods such as hand hygiene, respiratory hygiene, and physical distancing.

  • Parents/guardians are asked to encourage their child(ren) to practice wearing masks and learn what type of mask is most comfortable for them.

  • It is recommended that students have additional clean masks to use during the day.

  • Students are responsible for the safe use, cleanliness and disposal of their non-medical mask/cloth mask/face covering. Please reinforce these behaviours at home.

Plans of Care

  • All students with a prevalent medical condition (i.e., anaphylaxis, asthma, diabetes, epilepsy) are required to have their Plan of Care document reviewed annually. Given the current conditions, some students may be impacted more significantly and require changes to their Plan of Care.

  • In the context of COVID-19 and your child’s medical condition, consider contacting your Health Care Practitioner to discuss any additional risks your child may be facing.

  • Students with existing Plans of Care without changes are required to submit the Annual Review of Medical Information-No Changes Form.

Enhanced Cleaning Protocols

  • Cleaning and disinfection measures will ensure the physical spaces, equipment, and materials students and staff come into contact with remain safe.

  • Following Public Health advice regarding the type of cleaning and disinfectant products to use and daily sanitizing will be implemented for high touch areas (doorknobs, handles, light fixtures, etc.).

  • Restrooms will be monitored and cleaned more frequently throughout the day.

  • Additional cleaning protocols will be implemented for classroom furniture.

  • Spray bottles with disinfectant, gloves and paper towels will be provided for staff to wipe down any surfaces, laptops/tablets/keyboards or other equipment.

  • In the event that additional cleaning is required due to an employee or student developing COVID-like symptoms during the day or a confirmed case of COVID-19, the room/space will be closed temporarily to allow for a thorough cleaning and disinfecting of touch surfaces (additional resources may be brought in from other sites if required).

Environmental Conditions and Air Flow

  • All mechanical systems have been designed to meet the Ontario Building Code requirements and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) standards

  • Air circulated via mechanical ventilation systems is continuously replenished with fresh air

  • Maintenance and regular changing of filters in all Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems, including replacement of all system filters occurs six times a year and an upgrade to MERV-13 filters

  • In facilities with natural ventilation only, air purification units and/or portable air purifiers have been provided.

  • Facility staff have repaired windows and screens to support open windows, where safe to do so

  • Guidelines have been provided for the use of fans according to Public Health and Ministry guidance (i.e., Limit use during the day, Place on lowest setting, Adjust placement and positioning to direct airflow upwards away from surfaces and people).

Drinking Fountains

  • All drinking fountain faucets will be disabled.

  • Water bottle filling fixtures will remain and will be flushed daily according to Regulation 243/07.

  • Sinks that are designated for hand-washing only will remain as hand-washing-only fixtures and sign-posted accordingly.

Student Cohorts

  • The purpose of cohorting is to limit the mixing of students, so that if a student or employee develops infection, the number of exposures would be reduced.

  • Elementary students will be assigned to a single class cohort, with regular class sizes.

  • During Elementary nutrition breaks, cohorts will be maintained inside and outside.

  • Elementary class change requests will not be considered.

  • Secondary students will be part of two cohorts (morning class cohort and afternoon class cohort). Cafeterias will adhere to capacity limits and distancing.

  • To the extent possible within the cohort, students are to avoid prolonged close contact by maintaining physical distancing from other students and staff.

  • Large shared spaces (e.g., libraries) allow for multiple cohorts of students. Where multiple cohorts (e.g., Grade 3 class and Grade 5 class) are sharing a space, class cohorting will continue with a minimum of two metres between cohorts and distanced as much as possible within a cohort.

  • School assemblies or other student/school gatherings are permitted and will follow the relevant provincial requirements under the Reopening Ontario Act. This can include multiple cohorts in alignment with provincial capacity limits.

Staff Wearing Personal Protective Equipment

  • Employees will be required to wear medical face masks.

  • Employees will be required to wear additional Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in accordance with their job duties (e.g., prolonged close contact with a student).


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