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Health and Safety

 

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Safety Protocols
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Stude​nts
Permitted Visitors​
School Staff​
Screening and Arrival
Students​
Visitors​
Staff​
Student Movement in School
Entering Main Office
Placement of Student Desks/Tables
Hand Sanitizing
Washroom Use
Sanitizing of shared equipment
COVID-19 symptomatic students
Small Room Use
Libraries
Water Fountains
Fans
Lockers
Extracurriculars and Field Trips
School Assemblies
School Councils
Student Councils
Prayer Rooms
Emergency procedure drills (fire, lockdowns, hold-and-secure)
Fire Drills
Lockdowns
Hold and Secure​
Board Staff Working in Different Schools
Elementary
Kindergarten
Familie​s
Staff​
Area Rugs/Floor ​Sitting
Entrance and Dismissal
Entrance​
Late Arrival
Dismissal
Student Pickup during school hours
Breakfast Programs
Snack programs
Milk Program
Lunch Guidelines
Recess
Cubbies
Singing/Vocals
Student change of clothes
Student Classroom Volunteers
Secondary
Student Entrance and Dismissal
Entrance​
Late Arrival​
Dismissal​
Lunch
Gym Change Rooms
Guidance

Safety Protocols

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

How to put on and take off a face mask. For more information about how to use face coverings properly, visit www.york.ca/covid19.

Students

  • Parents/guardians will be expected to provide their child with a personal face covering to wear at school to reduce the spread of their own respiratory droplets to protect others.

  • In Grades 4 to 12, students will wear non-medical or cloth masks while in school.

  • In Kindergarten to Grade 3 non-medical or cloth masks are strongly encouraged for students. If a student does not have a face covering, they will be provided a non-medical mask by the school.

  • For students who are unable to wear a face covering, please speak with your teacher or school Principal.  

Permitted Visitors

  • Permitted visitors must wear a medical mask at all times.  If a visitor does not have a face covering, they will be provided one by the school.

  • Please see the visitors sections in screening and arrival. 

School Staff

  • All school staff will wear medical grade masks.

  • In Special Education Community classes, staff members will have masks and other PPE as appropriate, as physical distances cannot be maintained in many cases. 

Screening and Arrival

Students

  • Where possible, students must maintain a physical distance at all times, as they enter, move through and exit the building.

  • Students in Grades 4 to 12 will wear face coverings (non-medical masks) while in school. Students in Kindergarten to Grade 3 are strongly encouraged to wear masks while in school

  • Once students enter a school, it is recommended they remain at school to the end of the school day (elementary) or the end of their class schedule (secondary).

    • Exceptions will be granted for medical/family appointments supported by the Principal.

Visitors

  • Until further notice, visitor(s) are not to enter the school during hours of operation unless identified through a prearranged exception.

  • Please ensure your child brings their lunch and snacks required for their day at school. Lunch drop-offs will not be available, including access to lunch delivery services. 

  • It is expected that parents/guardians first contact the school by telephone if assistance is required.

  • As usual, all permitted visitors must confirm their arrival at the main office.

  • All visitors must be signed in and out. 

  • Before entry, visitors must review and adhere to the instructions on the COVID-19 Self-Assessment poster from York Region Public Health posted at exterior doors.

  • Any visitors experiencing COVID-19 symptoms are required to remain home (the use of a mask is not an acceptable alternative). 

  • All visitors must sanitize their hands and wear a face covering at all times and maintain a two-metre physical distance as they enter, move through and exit the building.

  • If visitors do not have a face covering they will be provided one by the school. For more information about how to use face coverings properly, see the fact sheet from York Region public health

  • Prearranged Exceptions:

    • When a parent/guardian needs to meet with the Principal in person, the meeting must be  scheduled in advance. 

    • Families registering a new student:

      • Where possible, only one parent/guardian, the student and a translator, if required.

      • Principal discretion is permitted in circumstances where additional family members need to be present.

      • By appointment only.

    • School authorized service providers, no appointment  required and where applicable

      • School (Lunch) Assistants 

      • Maintenance Staff, Service Providers such as HVAC, Fire Alarm, Elevator, Plumbing and Board retained  Contractors, etc.)

      • LHIN Nurses

      • YRP Youth Education Officers and School Resource Officers

      • Union/federation reps

      • Scheduled outside guest speakers and outside agencies will deliver curriculum virtually.​

    • Deliveries for essential school supplies and mail:

      • Until further notice, all deliveries may continue to be received by the school.

      • All delivery personnel must wear a face covering when entering the school.

      • Where possible, it is recommended that schools bulk order to limit deliveries to school.

      • Board couriers are expected to follow the Board’s courier protocol. 

    • Volunteers who manage breakfast and/or milk programs

      • Breakfast Program volunteers must have Food Handler Certification.

      • Volunteers handling food must wear a face covering (medical grade) and gloves at all times.

Staff

  • On a daily basis, before entry, staff are to review and adhere to the instructions on the COVID-19 Self-Assessment poster from York Region Public Health posted at all exterior doors.

  • Any staff experiencing COVID-19 symptoms shall remain home/not enter the school, pending results of a COVID-19 test which they shall do immediately and share the results with the Principal as soon as the results are known. (The use of a mask is not an acceptable alternative).  

  • When possible, staff are to maintain a physical distance as they enter, move through and exit the building.

Student Movement in School

Signage will be installed throughout the school to minimize close contact between students. 

  • Hallways

    • To minimize close contact between students, directional floor decals will be installed in all schools to manage movement of students.

    • All hallways to be divided into two-way paths for movement in schools.

  • Stairwells

    • All stairwells to be divided into two-way paths for movement in schools.

    • Directional floor decals for top/bottom of stairs, mid-landing if exists.

  • Elevators

    • If assistance is required by a student, maximum users in an elevator/lift are two.

    • Masks are to be worn at all times in elevator/lift.

    • Floor decals to be installed indicating recommended standing locations.  

  • Washrooms

    • Floor decals to be installed indicating recommended physical standing distance at sink(s), if possible.

  • Other locations to consider for one-way options or physical distancing wait spots:

    • Gym entry

    • Guidance office

    • Kindergarten rooms

    • Places where students are required to  line up including library (when open) and school bus loading zones

Entering Main Office

  • Each office reception counter or desk will be provided a plexiglass screen due to high volume of interactions required.

  • To reduce crowding in office, students and permitted visitors are requested to wait in the hall to be called into the office.

  • ‘Please wait’ floor decals to be placed near   the office reception counter to remind students and visitors where to stand.

  • Floor decals will be placed in the hallway outside the office to provide appropriate waiting locations prior to entering the office.

Placement of Student Desks/Tables

  • Classrooms will be decluttered and furniture removed where possible to minimize areas that are touchable and to maximize mobility.

  • Assign, where possible, designated seating and use visual aids to indicate that some furniture is “off limits.”

  • Students in Grades 4 to 12 will wear face coverings (non-medical masks) while in school. Students in Kindergarten to Grade 3 are strongly encouraged to wear masks while in school. 
  • Until further notice, all fabric cushions, pads and furniture with padding or fabric to be removed.
  • Porous items required in a Community Class (e.g. bean bag chair) will be designated to one student or be removed.

Hand Sanitizing

  • Students are to wash hands using soap and water or use hand sanitizer immediately before: leaving home, leaving the classroom, eating, touching one’s face, and leaving school. 

  • Students are to wash hands or use hand sanitizer immediately after: arriving at school/entering the classroom, finishing lunch, touching shared objects, using the bathroom, coughing, sneezing, and blowing one’s nose, and arriving at home.

  • A hand sanitizing station will be placed in the front lobby of the school and in classrooms. 

  • It is recommended that students not bring their own hand sanitizer to school for issues of quality, fragrance and management of potential hazards.

  • Correct handwashing procedure poster

  • How to use hand sanitizer poster

Washroom Use

  • Students in Grades 4 to 12 will wear face coverings (non-medical masks) while in school. Students in Kindergarten to Grade 3 are strongly encouraged to wear masks while in school. 

  • Students are to maintain  physical distance at all times within the washroom, where possible. 

  • Students are to wash their hands when they enter and exit the washroom.

  • Teachers are recommended to create a washroom schedule with clear washroom breaks (one in the morning and one in the afternoon).

  • Cohorts are to travel in groups to use designated washrooms. 

  • For unscheduled visits, 

    • Schools are to post the recommended number of users allowed per washroom based on the number of toilets/urinals in each washroom.

    • It is recommended that the number of students allowed in a washroom not exceed the existing number of toilets/urinals.

    • Students are to assess if the washroom has reached maximum usage as they enter based on posted signage. 

    • If maximum has been reached, students are to wait in hall in designated area

    • Floor decals spaced apart are to be placed outside washrooms for students to wait if the washroom is full.

    • Floor decals spaced apart are to be placed inside washrooms at areas such as sinks/hand washing areas.

    • It is recommended that students immediately leave the washroom as soon as they are finished.

Sanitizing of shared equipment

  • Cleaning and disinfection of high touch surfaces will be done twice a day as per Public Health guidelines and Standard Operation Procedure for Cleaning High Touch/High Contamination Areas.

  • Shared equipment will be cleaned before and after use. Examples of shared equipment: IT/chromebooks and carts, physical education equipment, and science apparatus, etc.

COVID-19 symptomatic students and staff

  • Students and staff must stay home if they: 

    • have any symptoms of respiratory illness, even if mild and contact York Region Public Health and your medical practitioner.

    • have been told to self-isolate by public health or a medical practitioner.

    • have been diagnosed with COVID-19.

    • have recently returned from travel that requires a period of self-isolation. 

  • Children or staff experiencing symptoms of respiratory illness, even if mild, should stay home. The use of a mask is not an acceptable measure to attend school for those who are symptomatic. 

  • In cases where a student develops symptoms of COVID-19, the school will contact the student’s parent or caregiver to pick up the child immediately and ask them to bring the child to the nearest COVID-19 Assessment Centre

  • In these cases, students will be isolated in a prearranged sick room until a parent/guardian can pick them up. 

  • Staff will be provided with a protocol, based on public health advice, on what to do if a student or staff member develops symptoms of COVID-19.

Return of School Learning Equipment

  • Students who have school learning resources, such as textbooks, from the 2019-2020 school year are asked to return them to the school as soon as possible.

Small Room Use

(Assessment, Reading Recovery, Psychologists, Social Workers and other Itinerant Staff)

  • It is expected that staff and students in small rooms are to work maintaining  physical distance between them.

  • Students in Grades 4 to 12 will wear face coverings (non-medical masks) while in school. Students in Kindergarten to Grade 3 are strongly encouraged to wear masks while in school. 

  • For more program details refer to Program Information and Curriculum

Libraries

  • Until further notice, libraries in both elementary and secondary schools are closed (including book exchange, classes and makerspace). 

  • Libraries will be open for teachers to access student resources.

Water Fountains

  • Students will be encouraged to fill water bottles at fill stations.

  • Water fountain knobs and push buttons are considered high touch surfaces and will be regularly cleaned and disinfected.

Fans

  • Until further notice, fans may not be used in classrooms, including personal fans. 

Lockers

  • Until further notice, the use of lockers located in hallways and change rooms is not allowed.

Extracurriculars and Field Trips

  • Until further notice, all extracurricular activities (e.g., dances, athletics, clubs) and field trips are cancelled. 

  • Until further notice, community walkabouts, including Community Class outings are cancelled.

School Assemblies

  • Until further notice, in-person school assemblies are cancelled.

School Councils

  • Until further notice, all school councils are to operate virtually.

Student Councils 

Prayer Rooms

  • Use of prayer rooms can continue, provided that physical distance can be maintained.

  • If physical distance cannot be maintained in an existing prayer room, an alternate location should be identified by the school.


Emergency procedure drills (fire, lockdowns, hold-and-secure)

School boards are required to hold six fire drills, two lockdown drills and one hold and secure drill annually so students become familiar with emergency preparedness procedures. 

Fire Drills

  • Students should exit the building in single-file lines while maintaining physical distancing.

  • Once outside, staff members ensure that students remain physically distanced and that classes are spaced out.

  • In scheduling fire drills, schools will take into consideration COVID-19 prevention measures (e.g., ensure all staff members in the building are aware of drills beforehand and can plan accordingly).

Lockdowns

  • In the event of an emergency lockdown, students and staff will follow lockdown procedures. 

  • In scheduling lockdown drills, schools will take into consideration COVID-19 prevention measures (e.g., ensure all staff members in the building are aware of drills beforehand and can plan accordingly). 

Hold and Secure

  • As per normal practice.

Board Staff Working in Different Schools

Some staff members are assigned to different schools and shift between schools to provide support as required.  It is recognized that these situations present unique challenges during COVID-19 public health measures. Specific guidance is being provided to Board staff who regularly visit or work in schools during this time:

  • Adhere to screening requirements prior to entering either school to which they are assigned.

  • Wear a mask. 

  • As much as possible, try to communicate electronically to avoid classroom visits.

  • Maintain physical distancing when in school/classrooms.

  • Plan visits in advance where possible and document the classrooms and spaces visited.

  • Schedule school visits in a way that minimizes the number of schools visited in a day.


  • Hold virtual meetings, but if an in-person meeting is required, use a designated meeting space where physical distancing is possible, and wear a mask.

  • Minimize the sharing of physical documents and materials as much as possible (use electronic documents wherever possible).

  • Follow any other protocols related to the specific work of their department. 

Elementary

Kindergarten  

Staff will be provided with detailed information and protocols on health and safety considerations for before and after-care programs and Kindergarten.  

Families

  • Parents/guardians are not to enter the school. Those who are dropping off and picking up Kindergarten students are encouraged to:

    • Maintain physical distance from other adults and children.

    • Wear face coverings. 

    • Remain outside the Kindergarten play area and leave immediately after dropping off or picking up their child.

    • Kindergarten students in Before Care are escorted by staff directly into their designated classrooms. 

    • Late drop off or early pick up, parents will be asked to call the school from the front door but will not be permitted into the school. Office staff will sign the student in or out and notify the classroom teacher. A staff member will be requested to escort the Kindergarten student either from or to class.


Staff

  • Kindergarten team members will receive and dismiss Kindergarten students from the Kindergarten play area. 

  • Staff are encouraged to release children to caregivers one at a time, maintaining distance from other cohorts. 

  • Staff are encouraged to conduct standard hand hygiene protocols before students enter the classroom and before they exit the classroom.

Area Rugs/Floor Sitting

  • Until further notice

    • All area rugs will be removed from classrooms. 

    • Students are not to sit on the floor. 

    • “Sit spots” foam pads are not permitted at this time.

    • The only exception is for community classes.

Entrance and Dismissal

Entrance

  • Schools to continue with past practice - entry to classrooms 15 minutes before the bell with supervision inside or enter the classroom after the bell with yard supervision prior.

  • Students in Grades 4 to 12 will wear face coverings (non-medical masks) while in school. Students in Kindergarten to Grade 3 are strongly encouraged to wear masks while in school. 

  • Where possible, maintain a minimum physical distance at all times upon entry and movement through the building.
  • Students are to use hand sanitizer or, where practical, wash hands upon arrival in the classroom.

  • Each school will identify a preferred school entry protocol for students to minimize congestion (e.g., having students line up outside before entering,  grouping students in the yard and designating specific entry doors, having only one class enter at a time, using an increased number of entry doors). Please follow the information and use decals identified in the student movement section. 

Late Arrival

  • When a student arrives late:

    • Parents/guardians are asked to ring the front door buzzer when they arrive at school. 

    • Parents/guardians must line up two-metres apart, wearing a face covering, outside the front door while they wait for office staff to respond.

    • Once the door is unlocked by the office, only the student is to enter the building and proceed to the office.

    • Parents/guardians are not to enter the building. 

    • Student to enter the main office as per the access protocol outlined above.

    • Students in Grades 4 to 12 will wear face coverings (non-medical masks) while in school. Students in Kindergarten to Grade 3 are strongly encouraged to wear masks while in school. 

    • School staff will complete the late arrival sign-in for students.

Dismissal

  • Students are expected to wear a face covering when they exit the school.

  • Each school will identify a preferred school exit protocol (e.g., bus students exit from only one door, identify specific exit doors for other students by grade, panel or geographic location, stagger release of students).

  • Students are required to leave school property as soon as possible after dismissal.

  • Bus students are asked to line up for buses as outlined by school, maintaining a physical distance from other students where possible.  

Student Pickup during school hours

  • Parents/guardians need to pre-arrange pickup with the office.

  • Office staff will record pickup in ‘In/Out’ binder. 

  • Parents/guardians must ring the front door buzzer when they arrive at school. 

  • Parents/guardians are not to enter the building. 

Breakfast Programs

  • Breakfast programs may continue to operate.

  • Breakfast Program volunteers must have Food Handler Certification and wear a mask at all times.

  • If it is not feasible for students to eat in their classroom due to supervision issues, the breakfast program must operate in a room where physical distance is maintained between students at all times.

  • All food items must be individually pre-packaged.

  • Students may not share food, utensils or drinks.

  • Students are to wash or sanitize hands before and after eating.

Snack programs

  • Snack programs may continue to operate.

  • All snacks must be nut-free and individually pre-packaged, such as cheese strings, granola bars, yogurt or individual bagged fruit/vegetables.

  • Students may not share food, utensils or drinks.

  • Students are to wash or sanitize hands before and after eating.

Milk Program

  • Milk programs may continue to operate. 

  • Milk can only be provided in prepackaged individual cartons.

  • School needs to schedule the distribution of milk by class.

  • Only one class can go to the milk fridge at one time.

  • Students designated to gather milk from the fridge must wear a face covering.

  • Students must wash hands or use hand sanitizer before and after getting milk.

Lunch Guidelines

  • Until further notice, all students are asked to remain at school for lunch and eat in designated areas (i.e., classroom).

  • All special lunch programs/food days (e.g., pizza, sub) will be cancelled.

  • All food delivery services (e.g., UberEats, Skip the Dishes) will not be accepted.

  • Students are to wash hands or use hand sanitizer before and after eating.

  • Students are to be reminded not to share food, utensils or drinks.

  • Students must bring their lunch and snacks, including hot lunches, for safety reasons; lunch drop offs will not be permitted.

Recess

  • Students are expected to remain in their cohorts during recess. 

  • Students are to wash hands or use hand sanitizer before and after recess.

  • Students in Grades 4 to 12 will wear face coverings (non-medical masks) while in school. Students in Kindergarten to Grade 3 are strongly encouraged to wear masks while in school. 

  • Until further notice, exterior school play structures are closed.

  • Maintain a physical distance while playing outside.

  • Where possible, Principals may consider dividing schools into two groups for the purpose of reducing the number of students on the yard for outdoor play. 

Cubbies

  • Cubbies and coat hook areas can continue to be used.

Singing/Vocals

For Health and Safety reasons and until further notice, teachers are not to encourage students to sing or do vocal music activities in classrooms. 

Student change of clothes

  • Students may continue to bring a spare set of clothes and gym shoes.

  • Clothes are to remain in backpack, student’s cubby or basket at school.

Student Classroom Volunteers

  • Until further notice, students are not able to volunteer. This includes in other classrooms, the library, office, or with blue box/recycling programs, etc.​


Secondary


Student Entrance and Dismissal

Entrance

  • The building will be opened 60 minutes before the first bell.

  • Classrooms will be locked until 15 minutes before the first bell.

  • Until further notice, the cafeteria and library are closed.

  • Students are encouraged not to arrive until 15 minutes before the bell and then move directly to their first period class.

  • Students are expected to wear a face covering as they arrive at school and access common areas.

  • Students may access the school atrium and hallways until classrooms open.

  • Students are expected to maintain a minimum physical distance at all times, as they enter and move through the building.

Late Arrival

  • Students are to proceed directly to the office.

  • Students will enter the main office as per the access protocol outlined above.

  • Office staff will record the late arrival.

  • Parents/guardians are not to enter the building.

Dismissal

  • Students are expected to leave the school and school property after their last  scheduled class is complete.

  • The building will be closed to students 30 minutes after the last bell.

  • Students are expected to wear a face covering when they exit the school.

  • Bus students are asked to immediately load buses as outlined by school, maintaining a physical distance from other students.

Lunch 

  • Until further notice, no food service will be provided on site.

Gym Change Rooms

  • Until further notice, no locker use is allowed in gym change rooms.

Guidance

  • Where possible, appointments should continue virtually.

  • Face-to-face meetings are by appointment only.

  • Physical distance maintained for face-to-face meetings; a larger alternate location may be required.

  • Students in Grades 4 to 12 will wear face coverings (non-medical masks) while in school.

  • Principal discretion is permitted in circumstances where additional family members must be present.​

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