To address some common questions we have received over the past few days, we have compiled a list of both questions and answers. As always, if you don't find the answers you need here, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to respond.
1. Apart from the Saskatchewan Health Authority guidelines and the Re-Open Saskatchewan Plan, what has Regina Catholic Schools done to guide preparations for return to school?
- Regina Catholic Schools has contracted a consulting group of experts consisting of an administrative/registered nurse lead, infectious disease lead, and facilities lead to guide planning around mitigations to reduce the transmission of COVID-19.
- All employees of Regina Catholic Schools will receive education and training around COVID-19 and mitigation strategies.
- All students and parents will be provided education on our Return to School mitigations to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19.
- All employees will be provided one reusable face mask and one shield.
- All students, grades four through twelve, will be provided one reusable face mask.
- Non-surgical (disposable) face masks will be available at every school site.
- Protective barriers are being installed in main offices and visitor traffic will be limited.
- Schools will have access to portable protective barriers for specialized services.
- Increased cleaning and disinfecting protocols are in place.
- Hand hygiene stations have been placed at major entrances. Each classroom will be supplied with ample hand sanitizers for student and staff use.
- Signage will be placed throughout the school to indicate traffic flow, procedures (hand hygiene), and physical distancing.
2. What do we mean by increased cleaning and disinfecting protocols?
- We have worked with a facilities lead and Health Canada to assess and finally procure new disinfecting products and adopted enhanced cleaning protocols. Our facilities staff will be using the product Vital Oxide. Vital Oxide is a Health Canada authorized and EPA registered hospital disinfectant cleaner, mold killer and super effective odour eliminator. It eliminates 99% of bacteria and viruses, including COVID-19. It is a non-bleach, non-alcohol product which does not irritate the skin. Classrooms and hallways will be disinfected with this product through the use of foggers and portable handheld sprayers. Each classroom has access to this disinfectant for use throughout the day.
- Hand sanitizer will be readily available in all classrooms and hand hygiene stations will be in main hallways and entrances.
3. How will students stay safe in their classrooms?
- Elementary students will be organized into classroom cohorts. These cohorts will stay together for recesses and lunch. There will be a limited number of staff working with this cohort of students to minimize contacts.
- A cohort is a group of students and staff who stay together. The size of the cohort will depend on the size of the classroom or learning setting. Elementary cohorts are students within the classroom. High school cohorts are the students scheduled together within a block.
- Physical space will be maximized by eliminating unnecessary shelving and furniture. For students in grade four through twelve, masks will be encouraged when 2 meters of separation cannot be maintained or during interactions outside a classroom cohort.
- High school students will be block scheduled to minimize the number of classes and the movement in the building throughout the day. Masks will be worn in hallways when moving to classes and in spaces where 2 meters of separation cannot be maintained.
- All classroom seating configurations will be forward facing.
4. What is the plan for boot rooms / coat hooks and lockers?
- Each school has a plan for student arrival and departure to minimize physical contact among classroom cohorts in school entry and locker areas.
- There will be no locker sharing.
- Procedures for the use of draw-string bags to store coats/back packs will be used in rooms with coat hooks.
5. How will common areas/shared spaces (libraries, computer labs, gyms, playgrounds) be utilized?
- Access will be limited and scheduled for classroom cohorts with established cleaning and disinfecting protocols between groups.
6. What will assemblies, liturgies, and meetings look like?
- The size of indoor group gatherings will be aligned to the Chief Medical Health Officer (CMHO) guidelines in the Re-open Saskatchewan plans and will respect physical distancing which means smaller groups and/or virtual delivery models.
- Weather permitting, outside assemblies could occur adhering to physical distancing.
7. How will traffic flow be managed?
- Movement through common areas, such as entrance ways and hallways will be staggered.
- Masks will be worn when travelling through common spaces (grades four through twelve).
- Each school will have a site specific plan applicable to their local context which will include staggered breaks, lunches, arrivals and departures.
8. What will recess and lunch look like?
- Elementary students will eat lunch in their respective classrooms.
- High school students will have staggered lunches and designated eating areas that allow for physical distancing. Students are encouraged to eat their lunches outside or go home for lunch, if possible.
- There are new cleaning and disinfecting protocols for eating areas.
9. Will playground equipment be closed?
- Playground equipment will be accessed. There will be designated playground spaces for classroom cohorts.
- Hand hygiene protocols will be in place before and after use of all equipment.
10. How will our schools meet the physical education needs of students?
- Physical education will emphasize individual activities and incorporate personal fitness. Outdoor spaces are encouraged whenever possible.
- Protocols exist for cleaning and disinfecting shared equipment.
11. Will there be group and center activities within classrooms?
- Small group activities will exist with mitigations. If physical distancing cannot be maintained, mitigations such as masks, face shields, or barriers will be accessed.
- Shared materials will be cleaned and disinfected between cohort groups.
Health & Safety
12. How will the division support mental health?
- The division has created a Mental Health Blueprint to support mental health wellbeing. This plan consolidates all of our student services supports.
- Supports for the health and wellness of students and staff will be provided.
- Division counsellors and administrators are trained in Mental Health First Aid practices will be shared and utilized.
- Staff will be trained in trauma-informed practices to support students, families, and each other.
13. Will the school check temperatures?
- No, as the Health guidelines state "Checking temperatures, detailed screening or requiring COVID-19 testing of students and staff are not required or recommended at this time, based on current evidence."
14. How will the division address students or staff who are displaying symptoms?
- Students and staff who are sick are strongly advised to stay home.
- The provincial self-assessment tool will be used as a guideline to identify anyone who begins to display symptoms while at school.
- Staff or students that have flu like symptoms including one or more of: fever, headache, sore throat, runny nose, conjunctivitis, fatigue, diarrhea, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, cough, chills, nasal congestion, dizziness, nausea/vomiting, loss of appetite, loss of sense of taste or smell should stay home.
15. What is the procedure to address students who display COVID-19 symptoms at school?
- If a student is exhibiting symptoms suggestive of COVID-19, the following steps will be taken in order to minimize the risk of exposure to others a staff member will remove the student exhibiting one or more symptoms of COVID-19 from the classroom to a designated isolation area:
- in a respectful manner that protects the privacy of the student; and,
- in a manner that is as safe as possible for the staff members and other students and staff.
- notify the principal or designate.
- The principal or designate shall, as soon as reasonably possible:
- call parents or caregivers to pick up and remove their child from the school to a location where the child may self-isolate, and instruct them to call 811 as soon as possible;
- arrange for the cleaning and disinfection of the isolation room as soon as reasonably possible, the student's classroom and, in particular, the student's desk and surrounding desks and any other common touch items in the classroom and/or other school facility (i.e., washroom) to which the student would have had access that school-day by custodial staff; and,
- advise the Director or designate.
16. Will testing be available for staff and students?
- The Government of Saskatchewan has announced that students may be given the option to take part in voluntary testing with parental consent.
17. What modifications and considerations are being made for bus transportation and school pickup and drop offs?
- Cleaning and disinfecting will occur between bus runs.
- Parents are asked to transport their own children when possible
- Designated parent pickup and drop off spaces will be communicated and signage provided where possible.
- Bus schedules will be provided to families in August, as per our typical procedure.
- Drivers and students in grades 4 through 8 will be required to wear a mask.
Students with Intensive Needs
18. Are there special considerations for the academic programming and safety of intensive needs students?
- Regular services will continue with an emphasis on the health, safety and well-being to ensure successful transitions back to the school learning environment.
- School staff will reconnect with vulnerable students and families to communicate safety, health procedures and re-entry plans.
- Address social/emotional and mental health support of students and families that are impacted by the pandemic as needed.
- A student's IIP will need to be reviewed to include procedures that will address the safety of the student, other students, and staff members. The primary goal is to reduce the barriers to education for the student.
- Inclusion and Intervention plans (IIP) will include goals specific to health / safety and social /emotional and well-being.
- Individualized adaptations and accommodations will be made to educational plans and placements based on the individual student's re-entry level with regards to their medical and mental health needs.
- Teachers and other school staff working with students with Intensive Needs within special classrooms will receive training on health and safety protocols and procedures. Staff will be instructed on appropriate processes for the individual student, appropriate PPE, and training will be provided.
- Ensure that the provision of supports for all students can be accomplished within a safe, secure and supervised environment (may include the school setting or other appropriate spaces). Appropriate guidelines from Health must be in place for students who require a more hands-on approach and have personal care needs.
- Staff will be deployed to limit the number of different student/staff contacts while meeting health/safety and academic needs of students.
- Updated assessments may be required but will be reduced to students requiring assessments for post-secondary programming, specialized funding and additional programming.
- Students with intensive needs will not be integrated into mainstream classrooms. They will stay within their special classroom cohort to minimize the risk of COVID19 transmission.