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 elementary student are required to:

    • Complete a daily self-assessment via COVID-19 school screening tool;

    • Keep child at home home when feeling unwell;

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

  • Daily screening should be done BEFORE leaving for school

  • Students should stay home if they are sick

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

  • Secondary students (Grade 9-12) learning in-person must show their daily “Go to School” pass on the Ontario School Screening Tool during morning attendance

  • Students with a COVID-19 symptom(s) must remain home until:

    • They receive a negative COVID-19 test result;

    • They receive an alternative diagnosis by a health care professional; or

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

  • Students must now self-isolate if any member of their household (including siblings) has symptoms of COVID-19. ​

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

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 without a sink 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

  • Students are expected not to gather before or after school and are advised to return home directly after school.

  • Car-pooling is discouraged unless all health and safety measures can be adhered to (e.g. masking).

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.

  • Students in Grades 1 to 12 will be required to wear non-medical or cloth masks outdoors when physical distancing cannot be maintained, such as nutrition breaks and arrival / departure times. Adults accompanying students on property during these times must also wear a mask.

  • Outdoor times will be scheduled 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 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 and an upgrade to MERV-13 filters

  • Facilities with natural ventilation only, have air purification units and/or portable air purifiers

  • 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 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)

Drinking Fountains

  • 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.

Student Cohorts

  • 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 Ontario School Screening Tool, they may not return until:

    • They receive a negative COVID-19 test result;

    • They receive an alternative diagnosis by a health care professional; or

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

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

  • Any students who live in the same household (e.g., siblings) must also stay home and self-isolate


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 that the student is waiting in the Isolation Room and needs to be picked up immediately

  • 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-19 Symptoms - Guidelines for Parents/Guardians

Staff Wearing Personal Protective Equipment

  • Employees will be required to wear medical face masks and will be provided with eye protection (e.g., face shield, goggles, etc.)

  • 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 of students returning to in person learning for the first time 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

  • The HDSB has a 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

How we’re returning to healthy and safe facilities.

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