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Health and Facility

HEALTH AND FACILITY

 

STUDENT SCREENING AND SELF-ASSESSMENT

  1. Prior to the start of the school year, the parent/guardian of each student will be required to acknowledge the following requirements:
  • Completing a daily self-assessment for their student(s) BEFORE leaving for school ( https://covid-19.ontario.ca/self-assessment/);
  • The student will stay home if they are sick or 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 orders issued by the Northwestern Health Unit.

    PHYSICAL DISTANCING MEASURES
  • Appropriate signage that promotes physical distancing will be posted in all schools;
  • Floor markings and visual cues shall be visible in the common learning spaces;
  • Furniture will be rearranged to ensure physical distancing is maintained where possible;
  • The use of separate entrances and exits will be determined at each school;
  • Limited use of indoor common spaces;
  • Approximately 50 students per cohort (Ex. 2 classes of 25 students could share a common outdoor break);
  • Promoting learning outside if the weather permits;
  • Staggering student/staff lunch/break times.

    LIBRARY / GYM / COMMON SPACES
  • Only one class may utilize the library/gym/common space at a time. Proper disinfecting will occur after each space is used;
  • A maximum of 30 minutes can be utilized by each class to visit one of these common areas;
  • Cleaning schedules and logs will demonstrate that common use areas are disinfected after each use;
  • All library books that are checked out will be returned to a specific bin and quarantined for 72 hours. After the 72 hours, books and resources will be sanitized and returned to their shelves;
  • If gym equipment is used, it must be sanitized before the next use.

    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 (discuss proper hand washing techniques and not touching face);
  • Covering mouths and nose when coughing or sneezing using a tissue, sleeve, or elbow.

    MASKS AND FACE COVERINGS
  • Students in Grades 4 to 8 will be required to wear non-medical or cloth masks indoors in school, including in hallways and during classes;
  • Cloth masks will be provided to students if a mask is not brought from home;
  • Outdoor times like recess will be used as opportunities to provide students with breaks from wearing masks within their cohorts;
  • Students in Kindergarten to Grade 3 will be encouraged, but not required to wear masks in indoor spaces. Grade 3/4 split classes will be required to wear masks;
  • 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.
  • Medical masks and eye protection (i.e. face shield) will be provided for all teachers and other staff of school boards. All school-based staff will be required to wear masks, with reasonable exceptions for medical conditions;
  • School-based staff who are regularly in close contact with students will be provided with all appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE);
  • Face shields are required when physical distancing with students or other staff members cannot be maintained.

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;
  • Spray bottles with disinfectant, gloves and wipes will be provided for staff to wipe down any surfaces, laptops/tablets/keyboards or other equipment;
  • If an employee or student develops COVID-like symptoms during the day, a caretaker will disinfect the high touch surfaces within that individual's space (desk or table, chair, cubby). If a case of COVID-19 is confirmed in that classroom, the space will be closed to thoroughly clean and disinfect the room, while awaiting direction from the Northwestern Health Unit.

WATER FOUNTAINS

  • All drinking fountain faucets will be disabled;
  • Water bottle filling stations will remain (if provided by school);
  • Water bottles can be filled in classroom sinks if available;
  • Water cooler stations will be utilized in some schools;
  • Proper disinfecting of these areas will be done frequently.

STUDENT COHORTING

  • 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;
  • Approximately 50 students could be cohorted together (eg. outside recess break);
  • Lunch/breaks will be with regular classroom cohorts;
  • Students could be cohorted with other classes for outdoor nutrition breaks. These "outdoor" cohorts could be approximately 50 students;
  • Parents should not request elementary class changes given the logistics of pre planning for cohort groupings to support student safety;
  • 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);
  • In most cases, 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;
  • There may be instances where French Language students or Native Language students move to a secondary classroom. Enhanced cleaning protocols will occur once that cohort moves back to their regular classroom.

STUDENT WITH POSSIBLE SYMPTOMS OF COVID -19 BEFORE COMING TO SCHOOL

The following individuals must stay at home and NOT access schools/sites:

  • Anyone who has symptoms compatible with COVID‑19, such as fever, cough, trouble breathing or loss of sense of smell without a stuffy nose. These individuals must consult the recommendations of the Northwestern Health Unit.
  • Anyone who has been told to self-isolate by the Northwestern Health Unit office.
  • Anyone who has been diagnosed with COVID‑19.
  • Anyone who has had close contact with a confirmed case of COVID‑19.
  • Anyone who has returned from travelling outside of Canada until their period of self-isolation is over.

    Parents/guardians of students must be informed that there is zero tolerance for children with any respiratory symptoms attending school (https://covid-19.ontario.ca/self-assessment/).

Please note - If a child tests positive for COVID-19, please immediately contact Northwestern Health Unit for further guidance.

If any of the above conditions apply, the student/parent/guardian must NOT enter the school or

Board facility. Parents/Guardians are to follow the school's procedure for notifying the school of absences.

Parents/Guardians must follow the direction outlined in the self-assessment document

which may be to call their family doctor or Telehealth (1-866-797-0000).    

EXHIBITING SYMPTOMS OF COVID-19 DURING WITHIN SCHOOL

Note: In the case where a student has a pre-existing condition (eg. asthma), the school should be made aware of the condition to ensure the student remains at school. It is imperative that parents self-assess their children to ensure they are not sending them with symptoms of COVID-19 that are not pre-existing to ensure everyone's health and wellbeing. Parents are encouraged to have this conversation with the school Principal.

Students With Possible Symptoms of COVID-19:

Since younger children may not always be able or willing to identify or disclose symptoms or how they are feeling, supervising staff should be closely monitoring for symptoms of COVID-19 throughout the day.

School staff should closely monitor their classrooms, and if any student is experiencing the symptoms above, they are to immediately contact their School Administrator and follow these steps:

  1. The symptomatic student should be removed from the classroom and/or common area, away from other students and brought to a predetermined isolation room/area within the school to limit further exposure or spread of the illness. The predetermined room should, where possible:

                                                         i.            be located close to the main office and an exit;

                                                       ii.            have a closed door with a window to observe the student; 

                                                      iii.            If possible, enhance ventilation within the room (ie. opening window);

                                                     iv.            Have a close-lidded garbage can and furniture that can be easily disinfected;

                                                       v.            Equipped with an "Isolation Kit" should include (but not limited to):

        • nitrile, vinyl, or synthetic gloves
        • face mask for staff member and student
        • face shield
        • box of tissues
        • hand sanitizer
        • disposable gowns/lab coat
        • board approved disinfectant wipes
  1. To help prevent transmission, the symptomatic student must practice strict respiratory etiquette (i.e. coughing and sneezing into your elbow or tissue) and hand hygiene practices at all times. While taking the symptomatic student to the isolation room, the student will be given a mask to cover the nose and mouth. If any tissues have been used, they must be disposed of in the designated garbage bin within the predetermined isolation space. 
  2. Once the symptomatic student is in the isolation room, provide a face cover to the student if it's tolerated.

                                                         i.            The staff with the symptomatic student should maintain a safe distance of 2m (6ft) from the symptomatic student at all times. If 2m (6ft) distance cannot be maintained between the staff and the symptomatic student:

        1. The staff member supervising the symptomatic student will wear appropriate protective equipment from the "Isolation Kit" including:
  • nitrile,  vinyl, or synthetic gloves
  • face mask
  • face shield or goggles
  • disposable gown/lab coats 
  1. Schools must notify parents/guardians as soon as possible if their child begins to experience symptoms of COVID-19 while at school.
  2. Immediate pickup must be arranged by the parents/guardian.  Parents/Guardians will be asked to avoid travel on public transit such as bus or taxis. School Administrators can assist with arranging transportation as appropriate.
      1. If no alternative is possible, it is recommended that the student sits on a seat by themselves (2m separation if possible) and wears a face covering.
  1. Relocate the rest of the students in the symptomatic student's classroom, temporarily to another contained area and avoid exposing the class to other students pending guidance from Northwestern Health Unit.
  2. Ensure all students in class with symptomatic students immediately wash their hands.
  3. Identify and record common areas the symptomatic student may have used prior to symptoms.
  4. Administrators are required to notify the Superintendent/Assistant to the Superintendent to start the internal notification process.
  5. If students are tested for COVID-19, those who test negative will be advised individually about returning to school settings by the Northwestern  Health Unit.

 

STAFF WEARING PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT

  • Employees will be required to wear medical face masks and will be provided with face shields.
  • Medical masks and eye protection (i.e. face shield) will be provided for all teachers and other staff of school boards. All school-based staff will be required to wear masks, with reasonable exceptions for medical conditions;
  • School-based staff who are regularly in close contact with students will be provided with all appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE);
  • Face shields are required when physical distancing with students or other staff members cannot be maintained.

CONTACT TRACING AND PUBLIC HEALTH

  • TNCDSB will report, on a daily basis, any suspected or confirmed cases within the school community to the Ministry through an online tool; no personal information will be collected by the Ministry;
  • To assist NWHU with monitoring trends in illness, TNCDSB will report symptoms of illness and clusters of illness to the Northwestern Health Unit.
  • Principals will communicate with the school community consistent with Ministry guidance and relevant privacy legislation;
  • The NWHU 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 the NWHU in the event of contact tracing related to a confirmed COVID-19 case in the school