Covid 19 Safety Protocols

Grindrod Elementary’s Site Specific Health and Safety Protocols and Procedures -2020/2021

The following is an outline of Grindrod Elementary School’s Covid 19 Health and Safety Plan for the 2020-2021 school year.  This document was based on School District 83’s Health and Safety plan and the Ministry of Health’s and Ministry of Education’s safety protocols and expectations for BC public schools.  It is our primary focus to provide a safe, happy and healthy school for all children, staff and families.  We invite your support and feedback.

Keeping our school and learning materials clean:

Grindrod school will have a daytime (8 hours a day) custodian.  Our custodian will begin at 8:00am.  They will follow a routine cleaning schedule, regularly cleaning “high touch” surfaces around doors, sinks, and key student and staff work areas.  A thorough desk, table top and surface cleaning will be done at the end of the day after students and most staff have departed. 

To the greatest extent possible, students will have individualized learning materials such as pencils, rulers, scissors, learning manipulative and art supplies.  Where this is not possible, the materials will be washed at day’s end.  Teachers will, to their best ability, select learning materials that can be more easily sanitized.  The school will set up a schedule with the daytime custodian that allows for proper and timely cleaning of learning materials. 

Regular Handwashing:

All staff and students will wash or sanitize their hands as soon as they enter the classroom after each transition and before they leave the class.  All classes have sinks with soap, as well as, hand sanitizer and surface cleaners.  Teachers will teach effective hand cleaning procedures and posters demonstrating proper hand washing will be place at each sink and in the hallways of the school.

Cohort Arrangements:

Grindrod Elementary currently has six divisions (classes).  Each class has less that 30 students and adults working together daily.  As a result, we are able to combine two classes into each cohort for fieldtrips, playground activities and school gatherings.  Our cohorts will be…

Dvision 1 and 2 (our oldest 2 classes)                      -Cohort 1

Division 3 and 4 (our middle 2 classes)                    -Cohort 2

Divisions 5 and 6 (our youngest 2 classes)             -Cohort 3

Music and library schedules will be blocked together by cohort groupings.  The music and library teachers will collect and return classes to and from their classrooms to reduce hallway interactions between cohorts. 

Maintaining physical distance between cohorts:

Entrances:  All classes have their own separate entrance to the classroom.  This allows us to limit student interaction in the hallways during entry.

Bathrooms:

 Our oldest two classes (cohort 1), to the greatest extent possible, will share one common bathroom located in their wing of the school. 

The two larger boys’ and girls’ bathrooms will be shared by cohort 2 and 3.  A maximum of 2 students will be permitted in these bathrooms at any one time.  This is the process we effectively established in June. 

If a child needs to use the bathroom during a break time, we ask that they enter the school through their classroom door and that they use their assigned bathroom only.  A limit of two in a bathroom at any one time is in effect at all times. 

Hallway movement:

Students will minimize their hallway activity as much as is reasonable.  The hallway will be divided into two lanes to encourage physical distancing.  We will not use the hallway as a location for buddy reading or group work.  Waiting spots will be marked with tape on the hallway floor outside bathrooms.  Drinking fountains will remain closed; students are required to have a personal water bottle in their possession while at school.

To help minimize cross cohort contact, teachers will only have their classes enter the hallway when the hallway is clear of other classes outside their cohort.  This will require that the class teacher or the CEA lead the class in hallway movement.  

Physical Distancing on the playground:

During break times such as recess and lunch, these cohorts will be assigned one of three areas on the playground/field area.  To allow each cohort to have the opportunity to explore each outdoor playground zone we will create a weekly rotation schedule for playground use.  To reduce confusion, each cohort will play in their assigned zone for the full week before the schedule changes.  The zones are as follows…

Zone one             field and basketball court/four square courts

Zone two             Playground and gaga pit

Zone three          Garden area, new grassy knoll and tetherball area/asphalt pad with four square

Physical Education Equipment:

In order to limit any cross contamination of P.E. gear, we will assign specific sport gear to each cohort.  The material will be assigned on a weekly basic and can be changed each week. 

Any equipment shared between cohorts will be cleaned between uses or left unused for 72 hours.

Lunch eating expectations:

Students are required to eat first and then play so that the teacher can ensure proper handwashing is done prior to eating.   

As always, students must wash their hands THOROUGHLY before eating lunch.  All students will eat in their own classroom.  Each class has a sink for hand washing so hallway movement will be limited to bathroom use.  When a child needs to use the washroom they are to sign out one boy or one girl at a time from the class.  To limit interaction only two students will be permitted in a bathroom at any one time.  Limited hallway waiting zones will be established when bathroom limits have been reached.  If these two waiting zones are full, students are to return to their class to wait. 

Parent Helpers in classes and on fieldtrips:

Although this is highly valued and appreciated by all staff, at this time we will not be able to invite parents to support learning in the classroom as we are trying very hard to keep our cohort bubbles small.

Parents attending Fieldtrips:

Currently, this aspect of our safety plan is under review for all schools in School District 83.  We will update our document as soon as a firm decision has been made. 

My hope is that parents will be permitted to attend and support outdoor fieldtrips if they follow the  protocols below:

  1. Drive themselves to the site (students will be bussed)
  2. Practice physical distancing between both adults and students (except for your own child)
  3. Wear a mask
  4. Use hand sanitizer frequently
  5. Only participate if they are in good health

Parents and guests who wish to enter the school…

We ask that parents do not enter the school unannounced.  When a parent wishes to enter the school we ask that they first call our main office at 250-838-7579 and wait outside to be invited in.  Once in, we ask that parents and guests do the following…

  1. Wash their hands with the hand sanitizer provided
  2. Sign in with your name and contact number
  3. Wear a mask
  4. Maintain physical distance from staff and students
  5. Limit your time and movement in the school to what is essential and approved by the staff.

Itinerant staff who work with several cohorts or at other schools:

When staff must work with groups of adults or students beyond a single cohort, staff will need to follow all safety protocols.  In particular, these specific staff members must wear a mask when in close contact with students.

When in outdoor settings and where physical distancing can be maintained this may not be necessary.

First day of school:

Staff will contact families either through the parent survey or by email or phone to inquire about the return to school expectations of all families.  Once this is known, class divisions will be built and then posted on the school bulletin outside the school.  These lists will be posted on Wednesday, September 9th so that families can review their child’s placement before the first day of school.

When students arrive in the morning of September 10th, we will have students go directly to their cohort playground zones while they wait for the bell.  Many staff will be outside to receive students and direct them to their playground zones. 

When the bell rings at 8:00am, students will enter through their assigned classroom door.  This will significantly reduce any cross cohort contact during our first day transitions and will be consistent with our approach after recess and lunch periods.

Bussing protocols:

See the attached document for the protocols specific to bussing.  These protocols will be followed should we go on any bussed fieldtrips.

Students will load the busses according to their cohort and bus. We will provide coloured tags for each students backpack so that these groupings can be easily made by the supervisors and bus drivers.

Grade 6 and 7 students will wear their masks while at the bus line and on the bus. 

When a child presents symptoms:

If a child presents symptoms of illness while at home it is the expectation of the Ministry of Health as well as our school district and school staff that the child will remain home until they are symptom free.  This would include any symptoms of any illness.  This does not necessarily mean they need to have a Covid 19 test.  This will depend on where their symptoms are indicative of Covid 19.  If a family needs more information to determine where a doctor visit is required, they are advised to phone 811, the provincial health line. 

If a child presents symptoms of illness while at school, they will be immediate quarantined to our isolation.  Parents/guardians will be phoned immediately and we will require that the child is picked up from school as soon as possible.  The child will be permitted to return when symptoms clear up. 

A doctor’s note will only be required if requested, and will be dependent on the level of illness and type of symptoms evidenced at the school. 

Parents who have students with chronic illness, such as asthma or allergies, should contact the principal if symptoms occur to discuss symptoms and approaches to reducing those symptoms. 

Mask Expectations:

Students from kindergarten to Grade 5 are not required to wear a mask at school.   As well, students in grade 6 and 7 will not be required to wear a mask while working in their cohort groups but will be required to wear a mask in common areas where physical distancing can’t be maintained.   While on the playground, all students will be divided into cohort groups and will play in cohort zones.  Students from grades k-7 are not required to wear a mask while outside.  Grade 6 and 7 students are required to wear a mask while in the bus line and while on the bus.

Hot Lunch/Breakfast Program:

Our parent run hot lunch program as well as our staff run breakfast program will continue with some adjustments for health and safety reasons.  These programs must follow the food safe guidelines provided by the school.  Volunteers who prepare this food at the school will need to follow specific sanitization and distancing protocols as well as wear a mask when physical distancing can not be maintained.