Covid-19 Information

Covid-19 Information

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Introduction 

The Humberside Montessori School COVID-19 Return to School Guidelines Handbook has been developed to ensure the school continues to: 

  • provide a safe and healthy school environment for students, teachers and staff, and safeguard the broader communities in which they live;
  • provide a consistently high-quality Montessori education at all levels; 
  • support mental health and well-being and address stressors arising from the circumstances surrounding the pandemic. 

The following guidelines and protocols are developed based on information, requirements and recommendations from the Toronto Public Health and the Ministry of Education.

This handbook is a living document and is subject to change as new recommendations and requirements are delivered and research findings are brought to light.

General Information 

Casa, Lower Elementary, Upper Elementary and Adolescent school students will attend school five full days per week remaining in one cohort for the full day, including recess and lunch. Cohorted classes will stay together and with their respective teachers/assistants, where possible. Students can expect to see changes in the timing of recesses, lunches, and bathroom breaks as they are staggered to support cohorting and social distancing. 

Arrival

Students arrive between 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. to decrease the chance of crowding outside. Grade 7 & 8 students use an alternate entrance/exit to help reduce crowding.

Dismissal 

Students are dismissed between 3:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. to reduce crowding outside the school. Cohorts are escorted as a group, by their teacher/assistant, to a designated area outside the school for pick up by parent/guardian/confirmed alternate pick up person. 

Traffic Flow:    West stairway – traffic flows up

                        East stairway – traffic flows down

Ventilation: Classrooms are adequately ventilated through opened windows and outside airflow is achieved through our HVAC system which is inspected and maintained on a regular basis. 

Windows and doors will be opened in the classrooms where possible and weather dependent.

Each classroom, including the Gym, has an IQAir air filtration unit running to keep clean air circulating.

Protection Strategies 

Humberside will employ multiple strategies, informed by public health advice and jurisdictional research, to ensure the school provides healthy and safe environments for students and staff. 

  1. Daily Screening at Arrival

All staff and students self-screen before arriving at school using the Government Screening Tool https://covid-19.ontario.ca/school-screening/

  1. Hand hygiene 

Appropriate hand hygiene is one of the most important protective strategies. Humberside Montessori School is prepared to instruct students on appropriate hand hygiene, including the use of alcohol-based sanitizers, and to reinforce its use. 

All staff and children will wash hands before and after eating, before and after using the washroom as well as throughout the day when necessary. 

Staff members will use gloves when necessary such as when assisting in the bathroom, caring for an injury with broken skin, and disinfecting. 

Additional hand sanitizing stations are located at the school entrance as well as inside and outside the classrooms. 

  1. Respiratory Etiquette 

To help reduce the risk of transmitting droplets that may contain the virus directly onto other surfaces where they may be picked up by others:

o Stay home if experiencing symptoms

o Sneeze or cough into tissue followed by proper hand hygiene

o Sneeze or cough into elbow or sleeve if tissue is not available

  1. Masks & Eye Protection – students and staff

Students and staff have the choice to wear a mask and/or eye protection at school. Mindful masking practices are encouraged to help everyone feel comfortable and safe. 

  1. Staff shifts

Staff start and end times are staggered to reduce the risk of crowding at arrival and departure. Staff arrival is spread out between 7:30 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. and departure is spread out between 2:30 p.m.and 6:00 p.m. 

Lunch breaks are staggered, taking place between 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. to reduce staff room crowding. An alternate staff room space is available to ensure physical distancing while on break. As well, outdoor staff areas are designated for staff to use while on break.

These measures are continued to help support staff comfort and feelings of safety while we move towards “normal”.

  1. Visitors 

All visitors to the school, including parents, must self screen before entry and will be reminded, at the time the appointment is scheduled, to reschedule the appointment if they are unwell. 

  1. Cleaning Standards and Protocols 

Surfaces and materials will be cleaned, sanitized, and disinfected in accordance with Public Health Policy. Classroom environments will be cleaned and disinfected twice daily. More frequent cleaning and disinfection may be necessary, depending on the frequency of use and extent of soilage. For example high touch areas such as 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, sports equipment will be cleaned and sanitized more frequently. 

Outdoor surfaces: Routine cleaning of surfaces on playgrounds, including high touch surfaces (only metal and plastic – not wood) will be cleaned and sanitized daily. 

Shared objects: shared objects (for example, gym or physical education equipment, art supplies, games) will be limited when possible, or the objects will be cleaned between each use. 

Mental Health and Well – Being 

The mental health and well-being of staff and students is a core element of Humberside Montessori School programs. Teachers continuously observe students for signs of mental and emotional difficulties and address the concerns immediately with school administration and parents. School administration will continuously observe staff to support their mental health and well-being. 

Humberside Montessori School will collaborate with child and youth mental health agencies to support strong connections and make the best use of mental health resources and supports available across the integrated system of care. 

Parents, Staff and Students are encouraged to visit: https://www.toronto.ca/home/covid-19/covid-19-protect-yourself-others/covid-19-mental-health-resources/ to get information on mental health supports in the City of Toronto. 

Outdoor classes

Outdoor spaces on school’s grounds and in the neighbourhood (High Park, Rennie Park) is utilized for students’ learning.

Lunch/Snacks 

With respect to eating and drinking at school, it is expected that: 

  • Staff and students will perform proper hand hygiene before and after eating. 
  • Sharing food is prohibited. 
  • Each student will be required to bring their own drink bottle that is labeled, kept with them during the day and not shared. 

Personal Belongings 

Personal belongings brought to school should be minimized.  Students will have a labeled cubby space to keep personal items such as backpacks, clothing, sun protection, water bottles and food. All items must be labeled. 

School Assemblies, Meetings and Events

Humberside Montessori School has implemented a hybrid model for events and meetings.

In-Person School wide (large) events are under review with a focus on facilitating large school wide events outdoors.

In-Person small events (50 people or less)  will take place with optional masking and distancing protocols in place. For example, open-houses and parent education events.

Parent – Teacher meetings may take place in – person, or continue to be over the phone or zoom. 

  Before and After School Programs 

Before and After School Programs will be available solely to Humberside Montessori School students. Cohorting is no longer required.

Tracking Absences/Illness and Contact Tracing 

The illness tracking system is used to document all absences for staff and students. If the absence is due to a non-illness reason, the case is marked ‘non-illness’. If the staff or student is ill a detailed report of symptoms is gathered (from the students parent/guardian or staff member themselves) and recorded each day of the absence. If the individual received a COVID test this information is noted, including the result of the test. 

Parents must submit the Attestation for Return to School form provided by the school, by email BEFORE their child arrives to school. https://www.toronto.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/98ef-Attestation-for-Return-to-Child-Care-Day-Camp-School-Parents.pdf

Daily Attendance Records are maintained by the teacher in each cohorted classroom and are used to trace, manage and follow up on potential COVID-19 contact situations. The exact arrival and dismissal time is marked. Daily Attendance Records are kept in a safe secure spot in the classroom, easily accessible for all staff members to retrieve.  

Management of Suspected and Confirmed Cases

Any staff member who develops COVID-19 symptoms while at school will be sent home. Any student who develops COVID-19 symptoms while in school will be immediately separated from others until they are able to get picked up. Isolated students will be supervised per usual school policy, with physical distancing maintained and PPE provided to care providers consistent with health guidance. 

Staff, students and parents with symptoms are directed to use the government online self-assessment tool (ontario.ca/self-assessment) and follow instructions.

Fully vaccinated (have received both doses of a two-dose series and it has been more than two weeks since their last dose) and symptom free household members are not required to self isolate. If they develop symptoms they must self-isolate. They must wear a good fitting mask for ten days.

Persons who test positive isolate for 5 days. After 5 days they may return to school if symptoms have cleared. They must wear a proper fitting mask until day 10. 

Students and staff who have been identified as a close contact may attend school, but must wear a mask for 10 days after exposure. 

In the situation where a member of a household tests positive for COVID-19 other household members who are fully vaccinated are not required to isolate, but must self monitor and wear a mask for ten days.

Humberside Montessori School will report absenteeism rates to the public health unit should they rise to a defined level (approximately 30% above their baseline).

Travel 

Please refer to the most recent guidance regarding domestic and international travel:

https://travel.gc.ca

Immunization Policy 

Staff, volunteers and practice teachers are no longer required to disclose their vaccination status before commencing work. As of March 2022, there is currently no government vaccine mandate in effect for any sector other than long-term care.

The Humberside Montessori School COVID-19  Handbook is a living document which is subject to change at any time based on new findings and/or situations that develop due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

If you have any questions please contact Natalie at natalie@humbersidemontessori.com or call the school at 416-762-8888.