Provincial and Demonstration Schools Branch Reopening Plan 2021-2022

 
Provincial and Demonstration
                 Schools Branch
                 Reopening Plan
                    2021-2022

Last Updated: September 10, 2021

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Provincial and Demonstration Schools Branch Reopening Plan
                                 2021-2022
Contents
Introduction .............................................................................................................................. 5
Guiding Principles ................................................................................................................... 5
Health and Safety ..................................................................................................................... 6
      Hierarchy of Controls (1 is highest level of control)............................................................... 7
      K-12 Service Delivery ...................................................................................................................... 7
      Protective strategies ....................................................................................................................... 8
      Screening ........................................................................................................................................... 8
      Masks and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) .................................................................. 9
      Hand Hygiene and Respiratory Etiquette ................................................................................ 11
      Physical Distancing and Congregating.................................................................................... 12
      Cleaning and Disinfection Standards and Protocols ........................................................... 14
      Ventilation ........................................................................................................................................ 15
      Contact Tracing .............................................................................................................................. 15
      Vaccination ...................................................................................................................................... 16
Remote learning ......................................................................................................................16
Schools ....................................................................................................................................22
   Provincial Schools ............................................................................................................................. 22
   Demonstration Schools .................................................................................................................... 22
   Cohorts ................................................................................................................................................. 23
   Attendance ........................................................................................................................................... 23
   Recess and Breaks Outdoors ......................................................................................................... 23
   Inclement Weather Days .................................................................................................................. 23
   Shared Materials................................................................................................................................. 23
   Shared Spaces .................................................................................................................................... 24
   Cafeteria Use and Lunch Protocols .............................................................................................. 24
   Food programs ................................................................................................................................... 24
   Assemblies .......................................................................................................................................... 25
   Academic and extra-curricular activities ..................................................................................... 25
      Music ................................................................................................................................................. 25
      Health and Physical Education and Sports............................................................................. 25
      Culinary Classes ............................................................................................................................ 26

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Field trips ......................................................................................................................................... 26
      Clubs ................................................................................................................................................. 26
   Specific Academic Programs and Requirements ...................................................................... 27
      EQAO ................................................................................................................................................. 27
      Literacy and Community Involvement Graduation Requirements.................................... 27
      Cooperative Education and Apprenticeship ........................................................................... 27
      Technological education .............................................................................................................. 28
      School Council and Other Parent Meetings............................................................................ 28
   Student Transportation .................................................................................................................... 28
   Fleet Vehicles ...................................................................................................................................... 30
   Student Supports ............................................................................................................................... 31
   Mental Health....................................................................................................................................... 32
   Clinical Services ................................................................................................................................. 32
   Interpreting Services ......................................................................................................................... 32
   Resource Services ............................................................................................................................. 33
   Community Use of Schools............................................................................................................. 34
   Emergency Procedures .................................................................................................................... 34
Student Lodgings ...................................................................................................................34
   Common Areas ................................................................................................................................... 35
   Kitchen and Appliances ................................................................................................................... 35
   Family Visits/Visitors: ....................................................................................................................... 35
   Masks .................................................................................................................................................... 36
   Meals ..................................................................................................................................................... 36
   Student Lodging ................................................................................................................................. 36
      Room Setup ..................................................................................................................................... 37
      Bathrooms ....................................................................................................................................... 37
   Community Outings and Extracurricular Activities .................................................................. 37
   Communication with Parents/Guardians ..................................................................................... 38
   Emergency Contact ........................................................................................................................... 38
Management of COVID-19 in Schools and Student Lodgings .............................................38
   Case definitions.................................................................................................................................. 39
   Local Public Health Units (PHU) .................................................................................................... 39
   Management of Ill or Symptomatic Individuals in the School or Student Lodging Setting
   ................................................................................................................................................................ 40
      If a Student Becomes Ill During the School Day or on School Premises ....................... 40

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Pick-up and Transportation of Ill Individuals from PDSB Sites ......................................... 42
   Isolation Rooms ............................................................................................................................. 42
   Supervision of Isolated Students .............................................................................................. 42
   Management of Individuals Exposed to COVID-19 Outside of a School Setting .......... 43
   Management of a Confirmed Diagnosis of COVID-19 in the School Community ......... 44
   Return to school ............................................................................................................................. 44
Communicating with the School Community ............................................................................. 45
Reporting COVID-19 Absences in Schools ................................................................................. 46
Records Management ....................................................................................................................... 46
   Working with the Local Public Health Unit .............................................................................. 46
Outbreak Management ..................................................................................................................... 47
   Definition of an Outbreak in Schools........................................................................................ 47
   Definition of an Outbreak in Student Lodging ....................................................................... 47
   Declaration of an Outbreak in a School or Student Lodging ............................................. 48

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Introduction
The Provincial and Demonstration Schools Branch (PDSB) serves a community of
diverse needs. The top priorities for our community are their health, safety, and well-
being while they are learning and working. These priorities are the foundation upon
which we have collaborated to prepare for the reopening of our schools, administrative
buildings, and student lodgings for the 2021-2022 school year.

We look forward to a gradual return to regular operations based on the guidance from
our public health partners. As we continue to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic, PDSB is
committed to resuming these activities for students when it is as safe as possible to do
so. PDSB will continue to communicate necessary information in a timely manner to all
families, students, and staff. As we move forward in this constantly shifting landscape,
we will continue to carefully consider the details of this plan and consult and adapt our
plan as necessary, based on advice from public health experts and with ongoing
collaboration amongst our stakeholders and external supports.

In the event of a conflict between the guidance/requirements contained in this document
and advice from public health experts (including medical officers of health or their
designates i.e. local public health units), the advice of public health experts/officials will
prevail.

Guiding Principles
When gathering in person, there is risk of exposure and falling ill and that risk cannot be
eliminated. However, we can do what we know works to reduce the risk. We recognize
that learning will be different this year and our focus is to reduce the risk of virus
transmission while providing the highest possible quality of education for our students.
This plan presents a range of control strategies for risk reduction. It also focuses on a
foundation of health, safety, high quality teaching and learning, and well-being, and it is
based on the following guiding principles:

1. Prioritize health and safety - To reduce the risk of exposure, our decisions and
   work will be cautious and measured to maximize health and safety, understanding
   that our shared goal is health and safety through risk and harm reduction by taking
   every reasonable precaution to protect our staff and students. PDSB will follow
   Public Health, Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education guidance.
2. Provide quality education - address student specific needs and ensure quality
   programming to keep the focus on advancing student achievement and learning
   while reducing risk and providing structure and support to build positive mental
   health and well-being.
3. Layer strategies - recognizing that no one control strategy alone can limit the
   transmission of disease, multiple public health measures will be implemented

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simultaneously to minimize the risk of COVID-19 and to support healthy and safer
     environments for students and staff.
4.   Share responsibilities - Keeping everyone safe is a shared responsibility.
     Everyone is a valued contributor and every individual effort helps. Everyone has a
     critical role to play and it is a full team approach that is needed. Continued
     collaboration and open, trusting, communication between all staff and managers,
     stakeholders, students, and parents/guardians is key.
5.   Limit transmission chains – Cohorted classes will stay together as much as
     possible.
6.   Be nimble and flexible - knowledge about COVID-19 is dynamic and our collective
     understanding will change and so approaches may change.
7.   Ensure equity - plans need to address equity needs of our students and staff to
     ensure we support the health and well-being of students and staff. We will work on
     developing COVID-19 management strategies that do not adversely impact or
     exacerbate accessibility issues and tailoring COVID 19 policies in a manner that
     does not exacerbate a disproportionate burden of the pandemic on the sub-
     communities represented in our school community.
8.   Support positive working/learning culture – demonstrating optimism and
     resilience as we work together to support positive mental health, well-being, and a
     positive learning and working environment are foundational to our resilience and
     everyone’s personal health.

Health and Safety
PDSB is implementing a layered approach using various protective factors within the
hierarchy of controls. Adaptations to school operations, such as schedules and class
time, may be required as part of our enhanced health and safety protocols throughout
the day and at transition times. In our school and student lodging scheduling and
procedures, we are prioritizing physical distancing such that we endeavour to avoid,
wherever possible, lines and congested areas of people. All staff, students, and visitors
are asked to follow physical distancing measures in place in all PDSB schools and
student lodgings. The PDSB has also deployed stand alone HEPA filtration units in
targeted congregated office, school and lodging areas. PDSB also encourages the
opening of windows when appropriate and working/learning outside when possible. As
such, students are asked to come to school ready to learn outside (i.e., appropriate
hats, sunscreen, etc.)

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Hierarchy of Controls (1 is highest level of control)
Source: https://www.ontario.ca/page/develop-your-covid-19-workplace-safety-plan

The levels in the hierarchy of controls, in order from most effective to least effective,
are:
   1. Elimination:
      Physically remove the hazard – Example: close sites and stay home
   2. Substitution:
      Replace a hazardous substance with something less hazardous (for example,
      replace one chemical with another). For an infectious disease such as COVID-
      19, substitution is not an option.
   3. Engineering Control
          • make physical changes to separate workers from the hazard or support
              physical distancing, disinfecting and hygiene. Example: install plexiglass
              barriers
   4. Administrative and Work Practice Controls
      Make changes to the ways people work and interact, using policies, procedures,
      training and signage. For example, you could:
          • create policies to limit the number of people in a space at one time
          • stagger work shifts and breaks
          • establish new cleaning and disinfection protocols
          • provide education and training on proper hand washing technique
   5. PPE
      This is equipment and clothing worn by a worker to minimize exposure to
      hazards and prevent illnesses and infection. PPE is used to protect the wearer
      and can include such things as surgical/procedure masks and eye protection.

In general, more intense, more frequent, and/or longer duration exposures have a
higher risk. There are three components of exposure: intensity, frequency, and duration.
In the case of COVID-19, we can reduce the risk of illness through interventions that
reduce any or all of these three characteristics:
    • Intensity of exposure may be minimized by maximizing physical distancing
       following appropriate hand hygiene practices, observing respiratory etiquette
       (i.e., cover nose/mouth when coughing or sneezing) and wearing masks for
       source control.
    • Frequency of exposure may be minimized by reducing how often someone is in
       close contact with individuals who may be infectious.
    • Duration of exposure may be minimized by spending less overall time,
       particularly indoors, in close contact with others.

K-12 Service Delivery

This plan outlines the PDSB guidance to the PDSB schools and student lodging and the
safety measures that will be in place for September 2021 for PDSB’s Kindergarten to
Grade 12+ students both at school and in student lodgings. As the status of COVID-19

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changes in the region or province, PDSB may adapt these guidelines as per ministry
and public health guidance. These decisions are made by the Ministry of Education
based on a number of factors to reduce risk (i.e., the risk of exposure/community
transmission).

Protective strategies
Schools and student lodgings will employ multiple strategies and a layering of controls
to support healthier and safer environments for students and staff as detailed below.
There is not one specific measure that will prevent transmission from occurring in
schools and student lodgings, but rather there are multiple structural and individual
elements that contribute to making schools and student lodging healthier spaces and
reduce the risk of infection to in-person attendees.

Each of the control measures listed below provides some benefit in reducing spread.
However, it is the combination and consistent application of these layered controls as a
bundle that is most effective for reducing disease spread in schools and student
lodgings.

Screening

All staff and students must self-screen every day before attending school. Staff,
parents/guardians and students can use the COVID-19 school and child care screening
tool ( https://covid-19.ontario.ca/school-screening/ ) to perform daily screening of
themselves or their children before arriving at school.

All staff and students must follow the direction provided in the screening tool, including
not attending school if they receive that result. Students and staff should also follow
other guidance provided in the screening tool, which may include seeking appropriate
medical attention and/or getting tested for COVID-19.

If an individual tests positive for COVID-19, they must not attend any PDSB site and
follow the instructions of their local public health unit.

On-site screening
The Ministry of Education may direct schools to perform daily on-site confirmation of
self-screening, such as during a period of potential higher transmission (for example,
after a holiday period). Schools are expected to have a process in place to implement
on-site confirmation of self-screening of individuals prior to or upon their arrival at school
or student lodging, if directed to do so.

If the Ministry of Education directs schools to perform daily on-site confirmation of self-
screening, students, staff, and visitors will need to provide daily confirmation or proof
that they have self-screened, in a form deemed appropriate and accessible by the
school (for example, a paper copy of screener, mobile application indicating a “pass”)
prior to or upon their arrival at school. The principal or manager and those designated

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will be responsible for ensuring all students, staff, and visitors have completed and
passed their daily COVID-19 self-screen.

As directed by the Ministry of Education, PDSB schools will be implementing daily-on
site confirmation of self-screening for all elementary and secondary students, staff and
visitors for at least the first two weeks of the school year. PDSB may implement
confirmation of on-site screening processes during other periods of the year. Staff,
parents/guardians will be notified in advance when there is a change in the screening
process.

Any staff, student, or visitor that does not pass the on-site screening procedures will be
asked to leave the PDSB premises (i.e., return home) and self-isolate until they meet
the criteria for return.

Masks and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Student Masks

Students in grades 1 to 12 are required to wear properly fitted non-medical or cloth
masks indoors in school and student lodgings, including in hallways, during classes and
in common areas of student lodging, as well as on school vehicles.

Where they can be worn safely based on the activity, masking is encouraged for
engaging in physical activity (read health and physical education).

Masks may be temporarily removed indoors to consume food or drink, with a minimum
distance of two metres maintained between cohorts and as much distancing as possible
within a cohort (read cafeteria use and lunch protocols).

Students are not required to wear masks outdoors, but distancing should be
encouraged between cohorts as much as possible.

Students in kindergarten are encouraged but not required to wear non-medical or cloth
masks in indoor spaces, as well as on school.

For guidance on non-medical masks and face coverings, parents/guardians and
students should refer to Public Health Ontario’s When and How to Wear a Mask.

Students are expected to bring their own masks to wear on student transportation and
at school. Non-medical 3-ply masks will also be made available for students if needed.

NOTE: Requirements for masking for passengers on planes flying within Canada are
set by the Government of Canada (Transport Canada). Parents/Guardians of students
who are transported by air are strongly encouraged to become familiar with Transport
Canada’s masking requirements and any documentation that may be required to seek
an exemption. Please see: https://tc.canada.ca/en/initiatives/covid-19-measures-

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updates-guidance-issued-transport-canada/covid-19-information-travellers-within-
canada for more information.

Exceptions
Students with sensory or breathing difficulties may be exempted by the school principal,
guided by the PDSB Masking policy.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
PDSB will continue to provide staff with required PPE, including medical masks
(surgical/procedural), eye protection and other PPE based on their specific role/job
functions (for example, gloves, gowns) and in accordance with the PDSB Direct Care
policy.

Medical masks (surgical/procedural) are required to be worn by staff and visitors
indoors in school and student lodgings including in hallways, during classes, in common
areas of student lodgings as well as on school vehicles. Staff are not required to wear
medical masks outdoors when two metres of distance is maintained from others. Staff
must maintain at least two metres distance when consuming food/drinks.

Principals/Superintendents and managers will review reasonable requests from staff for
exceptions based on medical conditions in accordance with the OPS Disability
Accommodation Policy.

Personal protective equipment (PPE) including both medical masks
(surgical/procedural) and eye protection (for example, face shield or goggles and some,
but not all, safety glasses) is required for education staff working in close contact
with individuals who are not wearing masks both indoors and outdoors, as per
occupational health and safety requirements.

Eye protection is not required for education staff working with students who wear
masks. Eye protection for school bus drivers should not interfere with the safe
operation of vehicles and is intended to protect drivers during close contact with
students, such as during boarding and exiting.

Where staff are required to perform an Aerosol Generating Medical Procedure (AGMP)
or required to be in the same room when an AGMP is being performed, N95 respirators
(fit tested) will be provided. Staff requiring N95s will be fit tested and training will be
provided on how to use these respirators.

Where necessary and desired by users, such as in leading classes with students who
are Deaf or Hard of Hearing, masks with clear sections may be appropriate. Clear
medical grade face masks will be ordered for our staff to use in our schools for the Deaf.
Training will be provided to workers on the appropriate wear, care, and cleaning of PPE
(for example, surgical/procedure mask, eye protection such as face shield).

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School-provided PPE will be centrally ordered for staff. PPE will be based on the
individual roles within PDSB. PPE stock will be managed by Student Health Services
(SHS) and requests for additional PPE should go to SHS through the appropriate
manager or principal. Staff will be expected to care for and maintain PPE provided. PPE
is only provided for PDSB purposes. PDSB-provided PPE must not be used outside of
the PDSB school or work setting.

Visitors
Any visitors to a PDSB site are required to self-screen and to wear a medical mask
(surgical/procedural) while on the premises. A medical mask will be provided by PDSB if
needed.

In addition to the requirement for visitors to perform daily self-screening, PDSB sites are
expected to have a process in place to confirm the daily self-screening of all visitors
prior to or upon their arrival at the site each day.

At the advice of the local public health unit, PDSB sites may be asked to restrict visitor
access.

Hand Hygiene and Respiratory Etiquette

Appropriate hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette are among the most important
protective strategies. Schools and student lodgings will train students on appropriate
hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette, including the use of alcohol-based hand rub
(ABHR), and reinforce its use.

This can involve providing reminders to staff and students to cough/sneeze into their
elbow or a tissue and put the tissue in the garbage can in the area where they are
working and to wash their hands immediately or use hand sanitizer, promoting hand
hygiene when using shared equipment and scheduling breaks to allow students to wash
their hands at appropriate times during the day. Hands should also be washed/sanitized
after blowing one’s nose.

Hand hygiene should be conducted by anyone entering the school or student lodging
and incorporated into the daily schedule at regular intervals during the day, above and
beyond what is usually recommended (for example, before eating food, after using the
washroom).

Staff and students will be provided with targeted, age-appropriate education in proper
hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette. Age-appropriate posters or signage should be
placed around the school and student lodgings.

   •   Soap and water are preferred as the most effective method and least likely to
       cause harm if accidentally ingested.
   •   ABHR can be used by children. It is most effective when hands are not visibly
       soiled.

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•   For any dirt, blood, body fluids (urine/feces), it is preferred that hands be washed
       with soap and water.
   •   Safe placement of the ABHR to avoid consumption is important, especially for
       young children.
   •   Support or modifications should be provided to allow students with special needs
       to regularly perform hand hygiene as independently as possible.
   •   Tissues and lined, no-touch waste baskets (for example, foot pedal-operated,
       hand sensor, open basket) are to be provided.

Staff and students will have the supplies they need to conduct appropriate hand hygiene
and respiratory etiquette and these supplies should be easily accessible.

ABHR with a minimum 60% alcohol concentration (60-90% recommended in community
settings) will be available throughout the school and student lodgings (including ideally
at the entry point to each classroom) and/or plain liquid soap in dispensers, sinks and
paper towels in dispensers.

Refer to Public Health Ontario's How to Wash Your Hands (PDF ) fact sheet and Cover
Your Cough (PDF).

Refer to Health Canada's Hard-surface disinfectants and hand sanitizers (COVID-19):
List of hand sanitizers authorized by Health Canada, including which sanitizers may be
appropriate for different groups of staff and students.

Physical Distancing and Congregating

As much distancing as possible between students, between students and staff and
between staff members should always be promoted. Physical distancing measures are
to be layered with other public health measures such as screening, hand hygiene,
cohorting, enhanced cleaning and masking.

Schools and student lodgings are encouraged to remove unnecessary furniture and
place desks with as much distancing as possible, and to allow teachers as much
teaching space as possible. Desks should face forward rather than in circles or
groupings.

Periods of student movement should be staggered, if possible, to limit student
congregation in the hallways.

Congregation of teachers/staff should be limited to minimize potential for adult-to-adult
transmission.

Where possible, special consideration for physical distancing should be given to
classrooms with fixed equipment (for example, science labs or technological education
classrooms).

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Access to Schools, Student Lodgings, and Administrative Buildings
All persons accessing PDSB schools, student lodging, and/or administrative buildings
are required to follow PDSB’s health and safety protocols upon entry and while present
in the buildings.

Visitors and volunteers are permitted to access PDSB sites with the approval/pre-
approval of the appropriate principal or manager. All visitors to the school or student
lodgings must be approved by the principal or student lodging manager.

Wherever possible, all exterior doors will remain locked. Wherever possible, only the
main entry is to be used by visitors; all other exterior doors will be used for student and
staff use or for emergencies only. Alternative entries must have signs placed on the
doors directing visitors to the main entry. At the advice of the local public health unit,
schools and student lodgings may be asked to restrict visitor access.

Mail and deliveries should be contactless, where possible.

Prior to opening mail, staff should ensure that they:
   •   Wear non-allergenic latex gloves when handling mail.
   •   Visually inspect all mail before opening.
   •   Use discretion and speak to their manager about next steps when they come
       across mail or packages which they are not sure about.

A table should be set up just inside the main entry for the rare case that a
parent/guardian needs to drop off something for their child so that they can place it on
the table and leave.

Sign In/Out Procedures
Each school and student lodging must have a visitor log and store the visitor log
information in a location that a manager/principal can access for reference for at least
30 days to facilitate contact tracing if required.

All visitors, contractors, maintenance, central staff, itinerant staff, Occasional
Teachers/Part-time Teachers, and anyone that is not a daily staff member or student of
the school/student lodging must, in all cases, check in at reception to sign in and out.
This is for contact tracing purposes in the case of an outbreak or other direction from
public health officials to provide such information.

All visitors must be screened using the COVID-19 school and child care screening tool,
prior to entry to a PDSB site. Any visitor that does not pass the on-site screening
procedures will be asked to leave the PDSB premises/return home and self-isolate until
they meet the criteria for return.

Swipe card access is not sufficient for sign in/out purposes. The same procedures will
be in effect for all administrative and other PDSB buildings. Sign in/out must include,
date, time, name, location/s in the building they are accessing, confirmation of

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completed screening and reason. Accurate recording of locations accessed in the
building each day support contact tracing and any necessary notifications of close
contacts. All staff are to sign in each day.

All persons who access the building and who are not regular staff and students of that
building, must have permission, in advance, from their supervisor.

Each sign in/out location should be equipped with pens and hand sanitizer.

Arrival/Departure Procedures
Each Principal and/or manager may need to alter/enhance entry/exit from the building to
include physical distancing protocols. This may include beginning arrival/dismissal
procedures earlier or scheduling/staggering order to assist with physical distancing.
Avoiding lines and congestion at these times is a priority.

Students are to enter and leave the school always by their designated door, including
on inclement weather days (i.e., rain). They are to get on their bus and go directly to
their assigned seats. Students may not change bus seats. New seating assignments
can only be made by the manager. Managers will keep dated copies of all bus seating
plans for the purpose of contact tracing.

Staff and/or parents/guardians and students should avoid congregating and socializing
in groups to adhere to physical distancing.

Student pick up will take place outside. Parents/guardians should wait on the yard or
near their parked car. They will not be allowed to enter the school to pick up their child.

Clear communication with parents as to the time of pickup will be necessary.

Principals should set up separate entrances and exits for different groups of students
when possible. Schools should use well-marked lines on the floor to encourage physical
distancing and indicate direction of travel.

As staff enter the building they are required to sign in at the worksite in the log. This log
will be used for contact tracing purposes in the case of an outbreak or other direction
from public health officials to provide such information. Accurate recording of locations
accessed each day supports effective contact tracing and notification.

Cleaning and Disinfection Standards and Protocols

Cleaning Protocols
Refer to Public Health Ontario's Environmental Cleaning fact sheet (PDF).

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Refer to Health Canada's Hard-surface disinfectants and hand sanitizers (COVID-19)
for approved products.

Cleaning Products
Products that provide both the cleaning and disinfection action are preferable due to
ease of use (for example, hydrogen peroxide products). Only use cleaning and
disinfectant products that have a Drug Identification Number (DIN). Check the expiry
date of the agents prior to use. These should be used according to the manufacturer's
instructions. These products will be made available by PDSB at the school and lodging
sites.

Cleaning Program
Schools and student lodging will develop a program for cleaning and disinfecting
schools and student lodging, including reviews of existing practices to determine where
enhancements might be made, including frequency and timing of cleaning and
disinfection, areas to clean and/or disinfect, choice of cleaning products, child safety,
staffing, signage, and PPE for cleaning staff.

High Touch Surfaces
Focus should be on regular hand hygiene to reduce the risk of infection related to high
touch surfaces. Schools and student lodging will develop a cleaning schedule that
includes cleaning plus disinfection twice daily, with more frequent cleaning and
disinfection of high touch surfaces (including if it is visibly soiled). This includes
washrooms (for example, toilet fixtures, faucets), eating areas (for example, tables,
sinks, countertops), doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, phones, keyboards,
touch screens, push buttons, handrails, computers, photocopiers, and sports
equipment.

Ventilation
Use of available outdoor learning environments should be considered when weather
permits.

PDSB will provide enhanced ventilation in all occupied classrooms and student lodgings
through mechanical ventilation with enhanced measures where possible, increasing air
flow by opening windows, and improving indoor air quality through the use of
standalone HEPA air filtration units where needed, especially in classrooms and student
lodgings with no mechanical ventilation, but also in other selected congregated school
and lodging spaces.

Contact Tracing
Information such as attendance reports (staff and students) and seating plan
information for classrooms, buses, cohort lists, etc. will all be kept on hand for 30
calendar days so that they are readily available to share with Public Health for the

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purposes of contact tracing. Both the manager and PDSB’s COVID Lead should have
access to this information. This information should be stored in accordance with record
keeping practices after the 30 calendar days have been exceeded.

Vaccination

Vaccination is an important tool to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and allow
students, families, and staff to safely resume normal activities. Vaccination rates for
youth may provide opportunities to reduce measures over time, particularly in
secondary schools.

For more information about COVID-19 vaccines for youth aged 12-17, please read the
Child and Youth COVID-19 Vaccine Fact Sheet.

PDSB will implement a COVID-19 immunization disclosure policy to ensure all PDSB
employees undertake one of the following:
  1. Provide proof of full vaccination against COVID-19; or
  2. Provide a formal/official documented medical reason for not being vaccinated
      against COVID-19; or
  3. Participate in an educational program approved by the Ministry of Education.

This approach will also apply to student placements, frequent school visitors (e.g.,
school nutrition program staff), and other professionals who deliver services in schools.
It will also apply to student transportation drivers employed by transportation consortia.

PDSB employees, student transportation drivers, frequent visitors and other
professionals, who are not immunized, including those with medical reasons, will be
required to complete regular COVID-19 testing as directed in provincial guidance. PDSB
and transportation partners will track and report on the implementation of the policy,
provide aggregated and depersonalized statistical information to the ministry and
publicly disclose PDSB-level immunization status data on a regular basis. Subject to
Lieutenant Governor-In-Council (LGIC) approval, this policy will be outlined in
regulations under the Education Act. Details on the PDSB COVID-19 immunization
disclosure policy will be shared with staff once the policy has been developed and
finalized.

Remote learning
PDSB will continue offering families the opportunity for their children to learn remotely in
the upcoming 2021- 2022 school year. Students will have an opportunity to change
learning models during scheduled re-entry times (e.g., end of semester), any other
changes will be limited to exceptional circumstances.

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To be prepared for a potential closure, schools should have plans in place so they can
move to remote learning quickly to ensure continuity of learning for students. Staff,
students and families should be aware of the school’s remote learning plan should the
need arise to move to remote learning in the event of classroom or school closure.

During full or partial school closures, or under any other periods of remote learning,
students in Ontario’s Provincial and Demonstration Schools are encouraged to be
engaged in their learning and continue to have access to their school community, a
support network, and authentic educational experiences in order to continue to progress
in their learning.

In the context of this Provincial and Demonstration Schools Branch Reopening Plan
2021-2022 and pursuant to the Ministry of Education’s Policy/Program Memorandum
No. 164 (2020), the following are definitions of “remote”, “synchronous”, and
“asynchronous” learning:

   •   Remote learning: Learning that occurs when classes are taught at a distance
       and when students and educators are not in a conventional classroom setting.
       Remote learning takes place in times of extended interruption to in-person
       learning – for example, as a result of a pandemic or natural disaster. Classes can
       be synchronous or asynchronous and can be taught online through a Learning
       Management System (LMS) or by using videoconferencing tools. In some cases,
       they may be delivered through emails, print materials, broadcast media, or
       telephone calls.
   •   Synchronous learning: Learning that happens in real time. Synchronous
       learning involves using text, video, or voice communication in a way that enables
       educators and other members of the school- or board-based team to instruct and
       connect with students in real time. Synchronous learning supports the well-being
       and academic achievement of all students, including students with special
       education needs, by providing educators and students with an interactive and
       engaging way to learn. It helps teachers provide immediate feedback to students
       and enables students to interact with one another.
   •   Asynchronous learning: Learning that is not delivered in real time.
       Asynchronous learning may involve students watching pre-recorded video
       lessons, completing assigned tasks, or contributing to online discussion boards.

Minimum Requirements for Engaging Students during Remote Learning
During remote learning, PDSB schools will provide students and parents with a daily
schedule or timetable that includes 300 minutes of learning opportunities, with a
combination of synchronous and asynchronous learning activities. Programming must
be based on the full Ontario curriculum and include opportunities for guided instruction,
large- and small-group learning, synchronous check-ins, and asynchronous
independent work.

Staff will be available to support any additional accommodations, transition plans, and
alternative programming (i.e., alternative programming identified in a student’s IEP,

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Positive Behaviour Support Plan, etc.) required. These supports should be identified in
the IEP in collaboration with the student (where possible), the parent, and the
school/student lodging team for both in-person and remote learning scenarios.

Minimum Requirements for Synchronous Learning
During periods of remote learning where students are at home for more than three
days in a given week, students are to be provided with synchronous learning. The
minimum requirements for synchronous learning help to ensure that students have
access to both synchronous and asynchronous learning opportunities for 300 minutes
each day in elementary and, in secondary, for students with a full timetable.

The scheduled synchronous learning sessions must be communicated to parents and
students. Educators should use their professional judgement to provide some flexibility
to students on an individual basis when students are unable to participate in
synchronous learning.

Detailed below is the minimum amount of time per day that students, depending on their
grade level, must be provided with synchronous learning as part of their scheduled or
timetabled learning.

Elementary:
   • Kindergarten - Daily Minimum Synchronous Learning Time Requirement* – 180
     minutes
   • Grades 1 to 3 - Daily Minimum Synchronous Learning Time Requirement* – 225
     minutes
   • Grades 4 to 8 - Daily Minimum Synchronous Learning Time Requirement* – 225
     minutes

Secondary:
  • Grades 9 to 12 - Daily Minimum Synchronous Learning Time Requirement* - the
     higher of 60 minutes for each 75-minute class period** or 225 minutes per day
     for a full course schedule

   * This is in addition to asynchronous learning time.
   ** The synchronous learning time requirement for any period that is not 75 minutes
   should be adjusted to reflect this ratio.

The synchronous learning time requirements outlined in the table above may be divided
into shorter periods throughout the school day. For example, a child in Kindergarten
may participate in an opening exercise for 10 minutes with their whole class, as well as
a combination of whole-group and small-group sessions throughout the school day, and
a 10-minute closing exercise with their class at the end of the school day.

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Elementary
All Kindergarten students will receive a minimum of 180 minutes of real-time
synchronous (live) instruction; and all students in Grade 1 to 8 will receive a minimum of
225 minutes of synchronous instruction.

Staff supporting students remotely should provide both synchronous and asynchronous
instruction to students following the schedule for the class. Students are also expected
to complete independent activities and assignments provided by the in-class teacher
while learning at home.

Considerations: Where possible, when a student must learn from home while others are
in-person (i.e., a student is quarantined but not ill), synchronous learning should occur
so that students who are scheduled to learn at home can connect with students who are
in class. Teachers will use the Google platform and other approved digital tools to
deliver both synchronous and asynchronous instruction. Suggestions might include
mindfulness sessions, community building activities, welcome message, classroom
meetings, etc.

Secondary
It is the expectation that every school day all students receive the higher of 60 minutes
for each 75-minute class period or 225 minutes per day of synchronous learning for a
full course schedule should the school enter into remote learning in the 2021-22 school
year.

Both synchronous and asynchronous learning opportunities are necessary to engage
students and provide personalized instruction and assessment and successful credit
accumulation.

Teachers will use the Google platform and other branch-approved digital tools to deliver
both synchronous and asynchronous instruction.

Additional guidance
Accommodations, modified expectations, differentiated support and instruction, and
alternative programming will continue to be provided as detailed in student IEPs.
Schools and families will continue to work collaboratively to meet the educational needs
of each student.

During remote learning, PBSD plans to provide synchronous learning for large and
small groups of students each day, in a manner similar to in-person classroom teaching.
Synchronous learning time may include students working independently and in small
groups while engaged in a virtual classroom with the teacher overseeing their learning
and available for questions. The synchronous learning requirements are a part of the
300-minute instructional day during which teachers remain available to students as per
the previous section "Minimum Requirements for Engaging Students during Remote
Learning." Additional group meetings may take place between educators and students
as needed to address specific learning needs. Where possible, synchronous

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opportunities should occur so that students can connect with each other and with the
teacher to support positive mental health and resilience. Suggestions might include
mindfulness sessions, community building activities, welcome message, classroom
meetings, etc.

Per PPM 164, teachers should work from a school facility during remote learning, where
possible, with reasonable accommodations, if required. If this is not possible, teachers
should maintain regular communication with the principal.

Exemptions
As set out in PPM 164, students enrolled in an Ontario Provincial or Demonstration
School are permitted to be exempted, on an individual basis, from the minimum
requirements for synchronous learning set out in PPM 164 that apply in times of
extended interruption to conventional in-person learning, such as during ordered school
closures. Exemptions from synchronous learning may be requested by
parents/guardians or by students who are 18 years of age or older, and students who
are 16 or 17 years of age but have withdrawn from parental control.

Exemptions from synchronous learning should not be a full exemption from all
synchronous learning except in rare circumstances. The school team reviewing a
student’s exemption request will include data-based decision making to identify the
appropriate adaption to the amount of synchronous learning time that the student will
receive based on the student’s learning needs. In rare cases where a full exemption
from synchronous learning is required, alternative methods for the student to receive
instruction must be identified in the student’s program plan. Requests for exemptions
must be completed and approved by the school principal in consultation with the school
team and superintendent prior to the student receiving an exemption from remote
learning.

Access to Remote Learning
Students opting for remote learning for the 2021-22 school year, will be provided with
the necessary supplies and support systems to support learning (identify roles for
work/homework support, lessons, devices required, tech training, universal supports,
and schedule for learning).

Students who require a device will work with the school principal to have home access
to a device and the necessary connectivity.

Schools will also work with home school boards to ensure that students have their
necessary SEA equipment and that it can be set up to work on site at PDSB and/or at
the student’s home.

Remote Learning Structure and Attendance
Students who register for the option of daily remote learning will be assigned to a
remote classroom by the principal.

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For students who are engaged in remote learning, attendance will be taken according to
the school's daily protocol. Students should be provided with a daily schedule of
subjects/courses according to a 5-hour instructional day with opportunities for frequent,
live contact with a teacher and expectations for synchronous learning in keeping with
PPM 164.

Remote learning options will be available for all students with access to learning
materials posted online to support both synchronous and asynchronous learning
opportunities during the day. Students are to be provided with a daily schedule of
subjects/courses for a 300-minute instructional day with opportunities for frequent, live
contact with a teacher and expectations for synchronous learning as per PPM 164. It is
expected that learning will be based on overall expectations across all subjects/courses
and grades.

Students from multiple schools and grades may be assigned to the same remote
learning class.

Specialist High Skill Major programs will not be offered to remote secondary students.
Secondary course offerings will include compulsory courses and limited electives.
Exemptions from some synchronous learning requirements may be requested
consistent with the PDSB exemption process for synchronous learning. Prior Learning
Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) will be centrally adjudicated.

Schedule changes may be necessary and will be determined on a case-by-case basis.
The change in learning model (remote learning vs in-person learning option) deadlines
will be made publicly available through school newsletters.

PDSB will offer these students and families remote learning until the next semester
when the learning model can be changed and an appropriate class placement can be
provided.

Confirmation of Mode of Attendance Survey
A survey asking parents/guardians to confirm whether their child(ren) will be attending
PDSB schools in-person or remote only was provided to parents/guardians in June
2021. Parents will be provided limited opportunities to change their child’s learning
model (e.g., at the end of the semester). Requests to change learning models outside
the scheduled re-entry times will be limited to exceptional circumstances and only
where appropriate class placements are available for continuity of learning.

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Schools
Provincial Schools
Elementary
Elementary schools will reopen in September with conventional in-person delivery of
learning, with appropriate health and safety protocols in place.

Elementary school students in Kindergarten through Grade 8 will attend school five
days per week, with 300 minutes of instruction per day, remaining in one cohort for the
full day. Cohorted classes will stay together, where possible. Students may be placed
into small groups (for example special education support, English-language learning)
with students from other cohorts.

Students may use common spaces (for example, cafeterias, libraries). Members of
different cohorts can interact outdoors with distancing encouraged or indoors with
distancing and masking. Specialized education staff and teachers, such as ASL
teachers, education support staff (for example, Classroom Assistants) are permitted to
go into classrooms and to multiple schools to provide the full breadth of programming
for students.

Secondary
Secondary schools will provide daily in-person learning for the full duration of the school
day (five instructional hours).

For the fall semester, PDSB secondary schools will be using semester or quadmester
timetabling. Schools will be communicating student timetabling information to
parents/guardians and students prior to school opening. PDSB will be assessing the
timetabling approach for the Winter semester in the Fall. Any changes will be
communicated.

All models will allow secondary students to earn compulsory credits required for the
Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD), as well as provide access to types of
elective courses that support all postsecondary pathway destinations. Timetabling of
pre-requisite Grade 12 courses should consider post-secondary application and
admission deadlines.

Demonstration Schools
Demonstration schools will provide daily in-person learning for the full duration of the
school day (five instructional hours), along with the extended day program.

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Cohorts
Schools will develop grade level or class cohorts based on the student population,
programming, transportation, extracurricular activities, and student lodging. Changes to
cohorts should be limited as much as possible and fully documented.

Schools and student lodgings must create and maintain cohort lists and ensure that lists
are available to PHUs when requested to facilitate timely case, contact, and outbreak
management.

Attendance
Contactless school attendance procedures and reporting attendance to the office should
be developed by the Principal for each site. Paper attendance that gets picked up and
distributed should be avoided. School lodging reports to the school should also be
contactless. Principals and Student Lodging Managers should develop a site-based
protocol for reporting attendance.

All attendance information must be entered into the Student Information System (i.e.,
PowerSchool) by 10:30am each day.

Both in-person and remote classes should follow the school’s daily procedure for
attendance reporting. For remote learners, attendance is taken based on daily
participation in synchronous learning. Parents should still advise if their child will be
away from learning.

Recess and Breaks Outdoors
Students do not need to stay within their cohort during recess and breaks outdoors, but
distancing should be encouraged between cohorts as much as possible.

Shared materials outdoors are permitted, with appropriate hand hygiene and respiratory
etiquette.

Inclement Weather Days
Schools are required to have inclement weather plans which may include pivoting to
remote learning.

Shared Materials
Shared materials are important for learning (for example, toys for imaginative play in
kindergarten, manipulatives for math, computers and other tech materials, books, art
supplies, indoor physical education equipment and shared outdoor equipment). The use

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