Health & Facility
How We’re Returning to Healthy and Safe Facilities
Ensuring the safety of our students and staff is our top priority. A successful reopening of schools 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 Public Health, the 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 student will be required to acknowledge the following requirements:
Completing a daily self-assessment;
Staying home when feeling unwell;
Having a plan to pick-up their child(ren) promptly if they develop symptoms;
Seeking a COVID-19 test when exhibiting symptoms or, in the absence of a test, self-isolate for 14 days and be symptom-free for 24 hours prior to returning to school;
Complying with the orders provided by Public Health.
Students will not be able to come to school until the acknowledgement form is completed. This form will be available in multiple languages.
Daily screening should be done BEFORE leaving for school
Students should stay home if they are sick and follow the instructions in the COVID Checklist for Parent/Guardian.
Preventative Measures: Hand Hygiene
Hand sanitizer stations will be placed at all school designated entrances for student and staff use as they enter and exit the building
All classrooms/portables without a sink will have hand sanitizer supplied
Regular hand hygiene breaks will occur throughout the day for students (e.g., regular time intervals throughout day, before/after eating food, after using washroom, before/after outdoor play)
Partner in promotion of hand hygiene practices with your child(ren) outside of school
Preventative Measures: Physical Distancing
Partner in promotion of physical distancing practices 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
Repurposing larger common spaces (e.g., library, cafeteria) for larger classes
Promoting learning outside, if weather permits
Arranging student desks with as much distance as possible
Students facing the same direction (to support respiratory hygiene)
Purposeful planning of classroom learning activities
Wayfinding and signage for routes to and from classrooms and washrooms
Posting signage on walls and markings on floors
Promoting physical distancing for lines/queues
Staggering student/staff lunch/break times
Preventative Measures: Respiratory Hygiene
Partner in promotion of 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
Students in Grades 1 to 12 will be required to wear non-medical or cloth masks indoors in school, including in hallways and during classes.
Outdoor times like recess will be used as opportunities to provide students with breaks from wearing masks within their cohorts.
Students in Kindergarten will be encouraged but not required to wear masks in indoor spaces.
Students may be granted an exemption from wearing a non-medical mask for reasons related to a medical condition, mental health, sensory, breathing difficulties or other reasons deemed reasonable by the Principal. Principals will follow Board guidance on exemptions.
School-aged children and youth who are not able to remove their non-medical mask without assistance should not wear a non-medical mask due to safety concerns.
A non-medical mask is not a replacement for proven infection control methods such as hand hygiene, respiratory hygiene, physical distancing.
Parents are asked to encourage their child(ren) to practice wearing masks and learn what type of mask is most comfortable for them.
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 as per May/June messaging from the school to families
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, 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 6 times a year
Facility staff have had windows and screens repaired over the summer to support open windows, where safe to do so
Guidelines have been provided for the use of fans as per 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)
All drinking fountain faucets will be disabled.
Water bottle filling fixtures will remain and will be flushed daily as per Regulation 243/07.
Sinks that are designated for hand-washing only will remain as hand washing only fixtures and sign-posted accordingly.
The purpose of cohorting is to limit the mixing of students, so that if a child or employee develops infection, the number of exposures would be reduced
Elementary students will begin the year in full return and will be assigned to a single class cohort, as per regular class sizes
Lunch/breaks will be with cohorts together (e.g., lunch in classroom, outside together)
Parents should not request elementary class changes given the logistics of pre planning for cohort groupings to support student safety
Secondary students will begin the year in an adaptive model and will be assigned to Cohort A or Cohort B (attending face to face for 180 min 2 or 3 days per week)
To the extent possible within the cohort, students are to avoid prolonged close contact by maintaining physical distancing from other students and the educator(s)
All students will remain in the same classroom with their assigned cohort; staff will move to classrooms, with the exception of students who may be provided support services
Refer to Models of Instruction for School Day Structure
Student with Possible Symptoms of COVID -19 BEFORE coming to School
If your child exhibits symptoms and/or does not pass the self-assessment, they must:
Remain at home and follow the steps in COVID Checklist for Parent/Guardian
Report the absence with the reason “illness / COVID related” via SchoolMessenger or calling the school
Seek a COVID-19 test and follow the orders of Public Health; OR
In the absence of a COVID-19 test, self-isolate for 14 days and be symptom-free for 24 hours prior to returning to school
Alternatively, the parent/guardian may seek documentation from the primary health care provider that confirms the illness is not COVID-19 and the student may return to school when symptom-free
Close contacts living in the same home (e.g, siblings) of the ill child must:
Remain at home, even if they are in another school
Wait for the results of the COVID-19 test for the ill child and follow the orders of Public Health; OR
In the absence of a COVID-19 test for the ill child, self-isolate for 14 days even if symptom-free or, if symptoms develop, 14 days from the onset of symptoms and 24 hours symptom-free prior to returning to school
Alternatively, if documentation from a primary care provider confirms the illness is not COVID-19, close contacts may return to school
Student with Possible Symptoms of COVID -19 at School
A “What to do if you feel unwell at school” poster will be located in each classroom
Each school is required to designate a space for student isolation should they present with symptoms while at school
The school will notify the parent that the student is waiting in the Isolation Room and needs to be picked up immediately. Close contacts living in the same home as the ill child (e.g., siblings) must also be picked up for monitoring of symptoms
Parents should avoid travel on public transportation when leaving with the child(ren)
Parents must follow the same process regarding student COVID testing prior to returning to school as outlined in COVID Checklist for Parent/Guardian
Staff Wearing Personal Protective Equipment
Employees will be required to wear medical face masks and will be provided with eye protection (i.e., shields)
Employees whose regular job duties mean physical distancing is not possible (e.g., prolonged close contact less than 2 m for 15 minutes or more) will be required to wear additional Personal Protective Equipment (e.g., gloves, gowns, etc.)
Parents are asked to review the video of “What school will look like” with their children
Contact Tracing and Public Health
Public health officials will determine any additional steps required, including but not limited to the declaration of an outbreak and closure of classes and/or schools
The Board will communicate with the school community consistent with Ministry guidance and relevant privacy legislation
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