Wednesday, September 2, 2020
Safety Measures in Schools
We want to assure you that the health and well-being of our students and staff remains our top priority. We are in regular contact with our local health authority, the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU), and we continue to take their direction on all matters related to COVID-19. Please visit the COVID 19 Return to School page on the SMDHU website at www.simcoemuskokahealth.org for additional information.
The following health and safety measures will be implemented in our schools.
- Students from Grade 4 through 12 will be required to wear masks.
- Students from Kindergarten through Grade 3 will not be required to wear masks, although it is encouraged.
- Staff will be required to wear masks.
Enhanced Health and Safety Protocols:
- Hand sanitizer will be provided in each classroom for student and teacher use.
- Students will receive training on proper hand hygiene including instructions on hand washing and sanitizing.
- Cleaning and disinfecting of frequently touched surfaces and shared resources such as doorknobs, light switches, toilets, and faucet handles will occur at least twice a day.
- Buses will be sanitized twice daily with frequent cleaning of high-touch surfaces.
- Directional arrows and signage will be installed in schools to support physical distancing measures.
- Schools will have designated entry and exit doors and staggered entry and exit times.
- Plexiglass guards will be installed in school offices.
All students and staff will be expected to self-screen prior to attending school each day, using a self-assessment tool provided by the SMDHU. Students or staff with symptoms must stay home from school. To access the COVID-19 self-assessment tool, please visit https://covid-19.ontario.ca/self-assessment/.
No visitor access
Following the direction from our local health authority, the SMDHU, all SCDSB schools will be closed to parents/guardians and visitors. Parents/guardians may ring the doorbell at elementary schools to receive assistance. Parents/guardians will be asked to call the school's main office at secondary schools to receive assistance. School main office phone numbers will be posted on the doors of school buildings.
Instructions for when children become sick at school
Parents/guardians will be asked to provide multiple contacts who will be available to pick up their child(ren) in the event that they become ill while at school. Children who become ill while at school will not be able to travel on a bus home for the protection of the other riders.
Keep connected with our school and with the SCDSB
It's important to get accurate information about what's going on at your school and at the SCDSB. Here are some ways to do that:
- Subscribe to our school's website by visiting the 'What's New' section at http://hur.scdsb.on.ca. You can sign up to receive emails about school news updates and information during emergency situations. It is easy to subscribe – visit our website and click the 'Subscribe' link at the very top of the page. Provide your email and click 'Subscribe'; a message will be sent to your inbox with a link to click to confirm that you want to subscribe. You can unsubscribe at any time using the link at the bottom of each email.
- Sign up to receive SCDSB media releases by clicking the 'Subscribe' button at www.scdsb.on.ca.
- Follow the SCDSB on Twitter (@SCDSB_Schools), Facebook (facebook.com/SCDSB) and Instagram (instagram.com/scdsb).
For school bus transportation information, visit the Simcoe County Student Transportation Consortium's website at main.simcoecountyschoolbus.ca. Also, remember to bookmark the school bus information page at simcoecountyschoolbus.ca for bus delay and cancellation information on inclement weather days.
Procedures help keep our school safe
We have a number of procedures in place to keep our school safe. You can help your child understand and feel safe by:
- talking to them about the situations below;
- reminding them that emergencies are rare; and,
- telling them it's important to follow staff instructions in these situations.
Parents/guardians should talk about the following emergency drills with their children:
- Shelter in place is used when there is an environmental or weather-related situation, like a chemical spill outside the building, or a major storm. Activities continue inside the school. Students and staff are not allowed to leave the building. The ventilation system may be shut off temporarily.
- A hold and secure is used when there is a situation in the community, not related to the school, like a bank robbery nearby. Activities continue, but all exterior doors are locked. No one is allowed to enter or exit the school.
- A lockdown is used when there is a major incident or a threat of violence related to the school. Students and staff move to secure areas, away from doors and windows. Interior doors are locked, lights are shut off and blinds are drawn. Students and staff remain quiet. We practice lockdown drills at least two times per year. In the unlikely event of an actual lockdown situation, police ask that parents/guardians do not go to the school. Information will be communicated through the school board social media sites (www.facebook.com/SCDSB and www.twitter.com/SCDSB_Schools) and website (www.scdsb.on.ca), through local police and local media.
- All schools have evacuation plans in case of gas leaks, bomb threats or fire incidents that would require everyone to leave the school. We hold drills to practice our evacuation plan. In a real evacuation, students and staff may go to the evacuation site, depending on the situation. Parents/guardians will be informed about pick-up procedures by the school, school board and local media.
When parents/guardians are at school during a drill or emergency event, they must follow direction from school staff, police, fire and/or emergency personnel. Parents/guardians may not have immediate access to their children during drills or emergencies. They may need to wait until the situation is resolved and school staff and/or emergency personnel release students into parent/guardian care.
It's important for you to know we'll always take whatever precautions are necessary to keep our school and students safe.
Please note the following:
- Elementary school main doors are locked during the school day. Visitors must use the intercom system and wait for assistance. Staff may not be available to answer the door immediately, so please be patient.
- Staff must complete a criminal record check before having contact with students.
- We ask parents/guardians to contact us when their child will be absent from school as part of our Safe Arrival program. When we don't hear from a parent/guardian and a student is absent, we will call home to find out the reason for the absence.
- At least two staff members in every school are trained in first aid and CPR. All SCDSB schools have Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs).
Student dress code
Students are expected to respect the guidelines when dressing for school. Our school is a safe space. We work to be equitable and inclusive, and understand that students may choose to express themselves through their clothing choices. Student clothing cannot pose a safety concern or conceal identity. Exceptions are granted to students who wear head coverings or other garments/objects for the purposes of religious observance, medical or sensory needs, or other reasons protected by the Ontario Human Rights Code.
The SCDSB dress code is available in the student agenda and online at www.scdsb.on.ca/elementary/dress_code. If you have questions about the dress code, you can contact your school principal.
School bus 'Bus Tag' program helps students get to and from school safely
The Simcoe County Student Transportation Consortium's Bus Tag program supports safety for JK/SK and other school-identified students. The program helps match students to their assigned afternoon school bus and identifies that they must be met by a parent/guardian at their afternoon bus stop.
The program provides a colour coded bus tag with the assigned p.m. route number, to be attached to the student's backpack, and a colour-coded route card with route number in the windows of the school bus that the bus tag is matched to. The program can also provide tags for students who are walkers and/or who remain at an on-site childcare centre to make sure they don't get on a bus in error.
For more information, visit main.simcoecountyschoolbus.ca and click on the 'Safety' tab.