COVID-19 (2019 Novel Coronavirus)

Operation of schools with public health measures for COVID-19

We have created this space for principals and administrators in schools, to help as you consider operating your schools with public health measures. Since the guidelines change routinely, it’s important to be aware of the most up to date guidance on school operations from the Ministry of Education. These resources are intended to support you and your teams to reduce or mitigate risks of transmission related to COVID-19.  As we finalize more resources we will add them to this page for your use. Please consider the following tips for implementation:

  1. Be practical – measures that have too many steps, are too complicated or too challenging to operationalize may not be sustainable and may not have much impact on disease transmission.
  2. Be kind – measures that aren’t implemented with kindness and caring intent will erode the social and emotional environment of your school.

Resources

Infection Control and Prevention in Schools

School Procedures

Resources to share with families

Teaching Resources

FAQs for School Administrators

What are the guidelines for using equipment?

As much as possible, equipment should be assigned to each cohort. If cohorts must share equipment, it should be cleaned in between use or quarantined for 48 hours between cohorts. Items that are difficult to clean (i.e. books) can still be used. Each class/cohort should have their own books that they are allowed to share, just not between cohorts. If books are shared between cohorts, they should be quarantined for 48 hours between cohorts.  Hand hygiene should be practiced regularly. Playground equipment should be used by one cohort at a time. Cleaning in between is not necessary however ensuring hand hygiene for children, before and after, is crucial.

What is your recommendation for storing masks during outside time?

It is very important that hand hygiene is performed before and after touching a mask. When children are outside the mask could be stored in a bag (disposable) or container (washable). Masks are to be worn in the hallways when not exiting the building but if a cohort is going right from their classroom to outside, they can leave the masks at their desks.

Can kindergarten children play together in the same small groups of 4 or 5 in their class? It is not physical distancing but will teachers be able to keep little ones apart constantly?

Think about FDK as similar to the child care setting. Trying to keep the kids apart could use up your whole day so worry about the things you can control like keeping sick children and staff out of the building, and practicing good hand hygiene frequently.

Staff are concerned about students eating in their own classes and spreading germs while “turning and talking.” Should we be discouraging the “turn and talk” as much as possible during lunch?

Discouraging social aspects of eating in class is not practical and may not be very kind. Focus on what you can control like keeping sick students and staff out of the building, and practising good hand hygiene frequently.

Is there a limit to how many cohort kids can be together in a bathroom?

Each space within the school should be assigned an occupancy limit. The number of students in the washroom should not exceed the occupancy limit. If that limit is being met, students from different cohorts can use the washroom at the same time if it cannot be avoided. Bathroom logs are not required.

Can we still have carpets in the classrooms? 

Carpets can remain in classrooms. We recommend each carpet be vacuumed after children have gone home for the day. (HEPA filter preferred)

How do we ensure students wear their masks?

Some students will struggle with mask wearing for different reasons. It is best to educate them on the benefits of wearing a mask and being kind and understanding if they cannot.

Can you explain the physical distancing rules, 1 metre versus 2 metres?

Much of the evidence around physical distance says that 1 metre of space between people will keep most germ spread from happening. Many areas around the world have adopted the 2-metre distance to add a buffer in between people. We know that in schools, students and staff will have trouble in many situations maintaining a 2-metre distance; however 1 metre is still very beneficial.