Health and Safety

As you may be aware, this morning, the Government of Ontario announced their plan to lift many of the COVID-19 health and safety measures in public spaces and schools. Hand washing and cleaning protocols will remain in place. In addition, we will continue to follow our current ventilation practices. 

For additional details on health and safety measures, please see the information below.


How to put on and take off a face mask.

For more information about how to use a face mask properly, visitwww.york.ca/covid19.


Please see this important joint message from York Region Public Health, YRDSB and YCDSB

York Region Public Health, along with York Region District School Board (YRDSB) and York Catholic District School Board (YCDSB) are strongly recommending all students, teachers, staff and visitors wear a mask in school when they return to school on Tuesday, April 19, 2022.

 

As outlined by the Government of Ontario, beginning March 21, 2022, students, staff members and school visitors will no longer be required to wear masks in school. Individuals who feel more comfortable or who are advised or required (e.g. travel) to wear a mask can continue to wear a mask and will be supported in doing so.

Individuals may be required to wear a mask in accordance with the COVID-19 School and Child-Care Screening Tool and federal travel requirements:

  • Household and non-household close contacts of a COVID-19 case or symptomatic individual (even if not required to isolate as per the requirements in the COVID-19 School and Child-Care Screening Tool) must self-monitor and wear a well-fitted mask for 10 days (from last exposure) in school and child care settings. This includes avoiding activities such as high-contact sports and playing wind instruments where masking and/or physical distancing cannot be maintained.
  • Under current federal travel requirements, individuals returning from international travel (even if exempt from quarantine) must wear a well-fitted mask at all times when in public spaces (including schools).

As some students and staff may choose to continue to wear masks or eye protection, the school will continue to provide masks.

Masks are required for staff performing an Aerosol Generating Medical Procedure or in the same room when it is being performed; and staff attending to symptomatic individuals. 

On a daily basis, parents/guardians of students under 18 and students over 18, staff members and visitors should review and adhere to the COVID-19 School and Child-Care Screening Too (please click on Check for Symptoms Daily), before entering the school daily.

Individuals who do not pass screening must not enter school or child care and follow the guidance provided in the screening tool.

Staff and students will not be required to complete the screening confirmation form each day. 

All visitors are required to continue electronic completion of the visitor log.

All staff and students who are experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19 as identified in the screening tool (not related to a COVID-19 vaccine), must not attend school or work and follow the guidance in the COVID-19 School and Child-Care Screening Tool. This may include seeking appropriate medical attention as required,and/or getting tested for COVID-19.

  • Every school will establish a designated isolation room. While in the Designated Isolation Room a two-metre physical distance must be maintained at all times.

  • Parents of caregivers must pick up their child as soon as possible if they are notified by the school that their child has become symptomatic at school.

To reduce crowding in the office, students and visitors are requested to wait in the hall to be called into the office. Floor decals placed in the hallway outside the office will provide appropriate waiting locations prior to entering the office.

  • Schools may reconfigure learning spaces to allow students to sit in groupings and/or circles, and to facilitate peer conversation and collaboration, both during class and lunch periods. 
  • Non-fabric furniture may be pulled from storage. 
  • Carpets should remain in storage for now.

View Correct handwashing procedure poster

View How to use hand sanitizer poster


  •  Students are to wash hands using soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer immediately before: leaving home, leaving the classroom, eating, touching one’s face, and leaving school. 
  • Students are to wash hands or use alcohol-based 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. No alcohol-based hand sanitizer can be brought in or used in schools or Board facilities including personal-size products.

  • Students are to wash their hands upon entering and exiting the washroom.

  • Cleaning and disinfection of high touch surfaces will continue to be done twice a day as per Public Health guidelines and COVID-19 Standard Operating Practice: Cleaning and Disinfection.
  • Cleaning and Disinfection of shared items is to continue to be done in accordance with the protocols outlined in COVID-19 Standard Operating Practice: Cleaning and Disinfection.  Examples of shared equipment: IT/chromebooks and carts, photocopiers, physical education equipment, and science apparatus, etc.

Students who have school learning equipment, such as textbooks from the 2020-2021 school year are asked to return them to the school as soon as possible.

For hot, humid weather relief in classrooms or portables, Board-approved fans may be used to provide air movement in the room. The guidelines below outline strategies for minimizing risk of infection transmission (COVID-19 and other organisms), minimizing turbulence, and reducing particle spread to minimize propelling infectious droplets: 

  • Fans cannot be used in Isolation Rooms or rooms with Aerosol Generating Medical procedures.

  • Where fans are used, the principal must ensure classroom staff understand the requirements for their safe use - as per Public Health Ontario guidance, portable fans, if used, must meet all of the following:

  • Only Board-approved fans may be used and must provide access to the blades for cleaning/disinfecting.

  • Fans are not to be used in rooms with Droplet and Contact Precautions (ie. in isolation rooms), or during aseptic procedures, sterile procedures, or aerosol-generating medical procedures.

  • Fans must be kept on low setting

  • Fans should always be placed on a clean surface.  Fans should never be placed at floor level.

  • Airflow should never be pointed or passed through any individual and must always be aimed upwards, toward the ceiling or wall, and not at face level.

  • Large industrial hall fans are not to be used at this time

  • During lunch periods, fans are to be turned off.

 

Cleaning and Disinfecting Requirements:

  • Fans must be capable of being cleaned and disinfected on a daily basis; otherwise, the unit cannot currently be used.
  • Caretakers will assess each fan to ensure they can be cleaned and disinfected.
  • Fans that cannot meet this criteria will be removed from use during COVID-19.

  • Water bottles will be required to be filled at designated drinking water sources (water fountain, water filling station or food prep area), rather than students and staff drinking directly from the mouthpiece of water fountains.

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

  • Field trips are currently on pause. 
  • More information will be provided in the near future.
  • Outdoor Education excursions to YRDSB sites continue to be offered. All Health and Safety protocols are followed and information is provided to students when visits to Outdoor Education Centres are planned.

  • Intra-murals and Inter-school Sports:  Elementary and secondary sports programs may remove expectations for vaccination for student athletes, coaches, referees, and spectators. 
  • Music:  Wind instruments, singing and music rooms can be fully used without distancing or masking.
    • Music instruments must be cleaned and disinfected between users as per the Protocols for Cleaning and Disinfecting Music Instruments.
    • Shared music stands will be cleaned and disinfected twice daily by the classroom teacher.
    • Shared furniture such as chairs will be cleaned and disinfected by caretaking twice daily.
  • Assemblies/Performances: Planning may move forward for in-person assemblies and performances.  Schools can plan and host in-person events (e.g., proms, graduation ceremonies, and assemblies). Schools are encouraged to “go slow” and may consider minimizing the size of gatherings to start e.g., per grade. 
  • Guest speakers/clinicians - Permitted following applicable Board policies.

Mask use is optional for students, staff and visitors in schools, school board offices and on student transportation except if directed by the screening tool. 

We encourage all families and students to use active modes to travel to and from school as often as possible (walk, cycle, and scooter). Schools may share additional information about their active school travel plan.

 

 

We encourage all families and students to use active modes to travel to and from school as often as possible (walk, cycle, and scooter). Schools may share additional information about their active school travel plan to ensure that students are dropped off and picked up according to these guidelines:

  • Walking or Biking to School

    • Maintain a physical distance of at least two metres (or six feet) away from other people, including crossing guards whenever possible. If physical distancing measures are difficult to maintain, wear a mask.

    • All students who live within walking distance are encouraged to walk or bike to and from school. Students in Grades 4 to 8 are especially encouraged to travel on foot or by bike rather than being driven to school.

  • Pick-up and Drop-off

    • If you choose to drive your child to school, park your car a few blocks away and walk the rest of the way to support safe physical distance for all. Follow all street signage and obey parking bylaws.

For more details, please see: Active School Travel Guidelines.

Assemblies/Performances: Planning may move forward for in-person assemblies and performances.  Schools can plan and host in-person events (e.g., proms, graduation ceremonies, and assemblies). Schools are encouraged to “go slow” and may consider minimizing the size of gatherings to start e.g., per grade.

Schools may proceed with arranging individual and class photos. 

School Council meetings:  Meetings will remain virtual at this time.  More information will be shared as we move through the next weeks and months.

Student Council meetings may proceed. 

Elementary and Secondary - Including Repertoire (AMR)

  • Wind instruments, singing and music rooms can be fully used without distancing or masking.
  • Music instruments must be cleaned and disinfected between users as per the SOP: Cleaning and Disinfecting Music Instruments.
  • Shared music stands will be cleaned and disinfected twice daily by the classroom teacher.
  • Shared furniture such as chairs will be cleaned and disinfected by caretaking twice daily.
  • Saliva build up from spit valves should be blown into a disposable absorbent cloth/cloth-like material, rather than onto the floor.
  • Cleaning log to be maintained for each shared instrument.      

  • Use of prayer rooms is allowed. 

 

Elementary

Students will no longer be required to remain in cohorts or to practice physical distancing. 

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 are to use hand sanitizer or, where practical, wash hands upon arrival in the classroom.

Student Pickup and Late Arrivals During School Hours 

  • Parents/guardians may sign-in and sign-out children as per past practices.

Dismissal

  • Students are expected to leave the school and school property after their last class or extra-curricul activity

Food programs may resume as per past practices; schools are reminded to follow safe food storage and handling guidelines.

  • Students are permitted to go home for lunch.  When students return they do not need to re-screen.  If students fall ill during lunch they are to remain home.
  • 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.
  • It is strongly recommended for students remaining at school for lunch to bring their lunch, including hot lunches. For safety reasons, lunch drop offs are not permitted.
  • Individual food delivery services (UberEats/Skip the Dishes) will not be accepted.

  • Until further notice, students are not able to volunteer in the main office, other classrooms, libraries, etc.  Further information will be provided when available.

  • This includes reading buddies, lunch monitors, Kindergarten helpers, bus helpers, library helpers, assisting caretakers with recycling, Grade 8 helpers, etc. 

 

Secondary

Until further notice, there will be no cafeteria food service provided in all secondary schools. 

  • Students under the supervision of staff must wipe down equipment with Board supplied disinfectant after use.
  • Ensure proper hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette protocols are followed.