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School Re-opening Guide

Our priority is the safety and well-being of all of our students, families, teaching faculty and staff while delivering on-site instruction and personal connection between all involved.

The reopening of Richland Academy was guided by the following principles:

  • To protect the health and safety of students and staff
  • To follow the guidelines set out by York Region Public Health and Ontario Ministry of Education
  • To provide students with some familiarity of school routines for social/emotional/physical/academic learning
  • To provide clear expectations for teachers and students during this modified pandemic period

In preparation for the 2020-21 school year, Richland Academy has consulted medical professionals as well as resources from:

  • The Ontario Federation of Independent Schools
  • Sick Kids, Toronto
  • The Ministry of Education
  • The World Health Organization
  • Health Canada
  • York Region Public Health

In addition, Richland has communicated with members of the parent community and employees to understand their questions and concerns.

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. To reduce the impact of COVID-19 outbreak conditions on our children, staff and families, it is important for us to plan for COVID-19 and mitigate the associated risks. This provides guidance and direction for staff and families to reduce the potential risk for infection.

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Guidelines, procedures and more

The following expectations and procedures are in place to ensure that health, safety and hygiene standards are met.

In general:

  • All movement around and within the building is to happen with the expected 2m/6feet distance
  • Children and staff are not to be in school if they show any symptoms of illness and must be symptom-free for 24 hours before returning
  • Students are on campus only for the duration of the school day
  • Students may not enter the building before their arrival time unless they are enrolled in the before care program.
Arrival time and entrances

Arrival time: 8:20am – 8:55am

Grades Location
Pre-K/JK Early Years Lobby
SK Kindergarten Playground Entrance/Exit
Grade 1/2 Main Entrance
Grade 3/4/5 Rear Parking Lot Entrance/Exit
Grade 6/7/8 Main Playground

Late Arrivals will only be permitted to enter through the Main Lobby Entrance between 9:30am and 9:45am. Students will not be permitted to enter the building after 10:00am.

During arrival, students and families must be wearing a mask and line up outside their designated entrance 2 meters/6feet apart (keeping physical distance). A staff member will be present at point of entrance to take each child’s temperature, and allow entry.

In order for these arrangements to work well, it is mandatory for students and families to adhere to the designated drop off and late arrival times.

Dismissal times and exits
Grades Time Location
Pre-K 3:00-3:15pm Early Years Lobby
JK 3:15-3:30pm Early Years Lobby
SK 3:15-3:30pm Kindergarten Playground Exit
Grade 1A/1B 3:15-3:30pm Class Back Door
Grade 2A 3:30-3:45pm Main Playground
Grade 2B 3:30-3:45pm Class Back Door
Grade 3 3:30-3:45pm Main Lobby Entrance
Grade 4 3:45-4:00pm Early Years Lobby
Grade 5 3:45-4:00pm Kindergarten Playground Exit
Grade 6 3:45-4:00pm Main Lobby Entrance
Grade 7/8 3:45-4:00pm Rear Parking Lot Exit

Siblings: If you would like to pick up older siblings at the same time as younger siblings, please call the office to make arrangements.

Early pick up is highly discouraged. Only when necessary or deemed urgent, please call the office on the day of the necessary early pick up so that your child can be waiting for you in the main lobby at the requested time. Early pick-up requests can be made no later than 2:45pm, as it will conflict with our dismissal process.

Before and After Care

Richland Academy no longer accepts drop-ins. Only children who have been previously registered may attend before and after care.

Before care will be available from 7:30am – 8:20am. Entrance will be through the Early Years Lobby following the same drop-off protocols as above.

Aftercare will be available from 3:00pm-5:00pm for Pre-Kindergarten and 3:15pm to 5:45pm for JK to Grade 8. Please note that the earliest release time is 4:15pm. Students will be released to their parents/guardians through the lobby door.  Parents/guardians may not enter the school building.

Please visit our website for the before and after care registration form.

Physical Distancing

Each teacher will tailor physical distancing plans to meet the needs of the students in their care.

Examples of physical distancing will include:

  • Increased space between students by arranging classroom seating to maximize space.
  • Adherence to our class size caps.
  • We will adopt a model which will create space between students and their teachers and avoid unnecessary contact or movement within the personal space of each student. This includes:
    • Place markers on the floor for classroom lineups.
    • Removing carpets and extra furniture from classrooms.
    • Directional Arrow markers on the floor to direct traffic coming and going and as a reminder of areas that are six feet apart during arrival and dismissal.
  • Modified activities to minimize close physical contact, congestion or movement.
  • Reduce congestion in common areas (school office, gym, hallway, etc.)
  • Minimize face-to-face interactions by designating one-way hallway and stairway traffic when possible and designating certain doors and times for entry and exits.
  • Modify lunch times and recess times.
  • Limit non-essential visitors to the school.
Hygiene

COVID-19 is primarily spread by respiratory droplet transmission. Frequent and proper hand hygiene (soap and water or hand sanitizer) is critical to limit transmission.

  • Hand sanitizing dispensers are placed at each entrance/exit; including classrooms.
  • Students will be educated on proper hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette and avoid touching face as much as possible.
  • Reminders and reinforcement will be given often; including signs posted around the school
  • Students must wash or sanitize their hands:
    • Before they enter or leave the classroom; such as before/after recess, before/after PE, after/before using the washroom or any other time they leave and have to re-enter the room;
    • Before they enter and exit the school building (arrival and dismissal)
    • Before and after eating;
    • After touching shared classroom items (e.g. toys, books);
    • During scheduled breaks for washing hands at appropriate times; and
    • Before putting on mask and after removal
  • Students should not share water, beverages or food with other students.
  • Students must bring their own water bottles. Students will not be permitted to drink from water fountains, but may re-fill theirs water bottles at the designated re-fill station.
Face Masks / Coverings

Face masks prohibit spread of the virus even when an infected person is without symptoms. Richland is adopting the following guidelines for face masks:

  • Parents/guardians will be expected to provide their child with a personal face covering (non-medical mask) to wear at school to reduce the spread of their own respiratory droplets to protect others. In Grades 4 to 8, students will wear non-medical or cloth masks while in school. In Kindergarten to Grade 3 non-medical or cloth masks are encouraged for students. Staff and faculty will be wearing face masks or face masks and visors.
  • All students, faculty and staff will be expected to wear masks during morning drop off.
  • When students are outside and six feet from others outside, they do not have to wear face masks.
  • When students are in the classroom and working independently in an area that is consistently 6 feet or more away from others they may remove their mask.
  • Masks should:
    • Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
    • Be secured with ties or ear loops
    • Allow for breathing without restriction
    • Be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change of shape
    • Cover both the nose and the mouth
Cohorting

In order to limit the amount of student to student contact, children will remain and travel with their designated cohort.

  • Student will remain in their cohort for recess and lunch.
  • Lunches, recess and bathroom breaks will be staggered
  • Cohorts will be assigned specific washrooms, if there is no washroom in their classroom.
  • Specialized teachers will go to homeroom classrooms.
  • If students need to leave the homeroom classroom for additional support, measures such as mandatory masks and social distancing must be strictly followed.
Specialist Classes

In order to keep exposure to a minimum, our specialist teachers will not be visiting all cohorts within the same week. Specialist classes will take place in 2 or 4 week cycles. For example: Grades 4-8 will have French daily for 4 weeks and then Grades 1-3 will have French the next 4 weeks and then JK and SK for the next 2 weeks. The amount of time with the specialist teachers will be the same as during a non-Covid school year, yet in a more condensed time period. During the non-teaching time with the French teacher, students will continue to practice and solidify their French knowledge and understanding by way of web-based practice material.

Specialist classrooms such as the Visual Arts Studio, French classroom, Performing Arts classroom, Library, ICT Lab and Learning Commons will not be used. The specialist teachers will go to each homeroom classroom.

Each class will continue to have Physical Education twice a week with Mr. Demers. Physical education will take place outdoors whenever weather permits. With the large area in our gymnasium, students will be able to effectively physical distance themselves from the teacher and from one another. Activities will be planned that limits the use of shared equipment and any equipment used will be cleaned at the conclusion of the activity. Students will practice hand hygiene before and after class. The gym floor and wall mats will be sanitized between classes. Students should wear their PE uniforms to school on their scheduled PE days as the use of change rooms will not be permitted.

During Performing Arts the students will not be sharing instruments.  Group singing, performances and band practices involving wind instruments may pose a higher risk of transmission and will be cancelled until further notice. A large focus of our Performing Arts program will be focused on drama, presentation and communication skills, music and technology integration and music appreciation.

Distance Learning Plan

We are very pleased to offer students not on campus opportunities for distance learning if they are not able to come to school for any reason. Students who remain home due to a significant health risk will be able to access lessons and activities similar to those of their in-school classmates. Your child’s teacher will discuss their plan for remote learning with you during a scheduled web conference, as this will look different for each grade.

What does “distance learning” look like?

Students at home will receive daily lessons posted on Google Classroom. Students at home will have scheduled direct instruction time with their homeroom teacher, specialist teachers and distance learning support staff through Zoom. Students at home will also have the opportunity to participate, collaborate and communicate with their in-school classmates through live Zoom connections whenever appropriate and when lessons take place in the classroom (not outside learning). Students at home will also be able to have unstructured social time with their in-school classmates by virtually joining them for lunch time and other events or celebrations. Teachers may not be available to provide immediate feedback on submitted work due to time constraints of managing both in-class and online learning. Teachers will send a weekly log of when to login to live class sessions.

Parents/guardians will be required to pick up their child’s learning material such as text books, workbooks and art supplies prior to the start of school, ensuring their child is ready and prepared for learning. Throughout the school year, parents/guardians may be asked to go to the school to pick up other supplemental materials.

Who should parents contact if they have questions about Home Learning?

Please send e-mails to your child’s classroom teachers. Please be patient and allow 24 hours for their response.

We ask for your patience and understanding as we try these innovative teaching and learning methods for the first time. There is no precedence or experience to reflect on for teaching students at home and in class at the same time. Positive collaboration between home and school will be of tremendous assistance as we navigate through this new experience.

Wellness Coordinator and Staff Training

Ms. Nalini is Richland Academy’s Wellness Coordinator. She is responsible for coordinating the planning, development, implementation and monitoring of Richland Academy’s wellbeing initiatives, policies and protocols.

The Wellness Coordinator will:

  • Provide First Aid treatment to students, write up of incident reports, and call parents/guardians when a child is ill.
  • Monitor staff and students well-being and keep track of daily logs regarding fevers, illness or any other symptoms related to Covid-19.
  • Review and update policies, practices and protocols based on current information provided by York Region Public Health.
  • Communicate health, safety and well-being policy changes/updates to families and staff.
  • Maintain records and keep track of students returning to school ensuring they have a physician’s note and adhered to the policy of staying home for 24 hours.
  • Monitor staff and students while in the Wellness Room until they are picked up or are able to drive home (staff).
  • Monitor staff to ensure they are following safety protocols (e.g. masks, visors, physical distancing, proper hand washing).
  • Support staff with materials, programs, guest speakers, workshops and training that encourage positive mental health, mindfulness and overall well-being.
  • Keep abreast of current global wellness and well-being initiatives and activities, developing a network of resources and contacts.
  • Provide training for Richland Staff on the following:
    • To be aware of the signs and symptoms of COVID-19
    • The proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE)
    • How to use cleaning agents and disinfectants, and ensure: Required disinfectant contact times are followed (i.e. amount of time that the product will need to remain wet on a surface to achieve disinfection).
    • Use of safety precautions and required personal protective equipment (PPE).
    • Directions for where and how to securely store cleaning and disinfectant supplies
Sanitation & Cleaning Procedures

Because of concern that infectious viral particles can land on surfaces through coughing, sneezing, talking and laughing, Richland is adopting extensive sanitation and cleaning procedures including, but are not limited to:

  • Posting signs throughout the school encouraging proper hand sanitization and respiratory hygiene practices (covering coughs and sneezes).
  • Continuous cleaning throughout the day, using state of the art disinfecting materials with special attention given to high-touch areas such as doorknobs, banisters, light switches, desks, computers, phones, toilets, faucets, lockers, cubbies, sinks and handrails.
  • Monitoring restrooms for adequate hand soap and towels.
  • Ensuring that hand sanitizer is placed inside each entry door of the school and classrooms.
  • Playground equipment will be washed with soap and water after each use by a specific cohort.
  • Continuous monitoring and changing of filters in ventilation systems
  • Water fountains disinfection and changing of filters.
Expectations around use of materials

For the health and safety of each student, students will be required to have their own individual school supplies. Each student’s supplies will remain in their individual case and only they may use/touch them.

Classrooms and use of materials

  • Teachers and custodians will maintain the sanitizing of the classroom and materials.
  • All toys must be washed twice daily.
  • All school materials stay at school; no home materials are brought to school with the exception of a pencil case which is to be kept at school.
  • Children cannot bring personal toys to school.

Laptops, iPads and mice

  • Must not be shared while using.
  • Need to be wiped before and after use.
  • Students must wash/sanitize hands before and after use.

Classroom libraries

  • A small selection of books will be made available to students. Once a child has read a selected book it is packed away and stored for 48 hours before it may be used again.
  • Teachers have a box of selected reading material for the teaching day which will be cleaned and pack away after use.
School Attendance Policies

As in the past, but now more than ever, we are encouraging families to keep their children home when they are sick or not feeling well (i.e. fever, body aches, chills, sore throat, upset stomach, diarrhea, etc).

When you child is absent from school due to COVID-19 (or any other reasons) we are asking parents to:

  • Contact the school on the day of the absence to inform the school of the student’s illness.
  • Submit documentation from a health care provider indicating it is safe for the student to return to school.

Contact your child’s teacher(s) if you would like your child to take part in regularly scheduled classes through Zoom to keep up with the child’s assignments and tests while you wait for the necessary documentation.

Attendance will be taken daily for students attending campus before 9:30am and then again at 10am for students arriving late.

Students scheduled to work from home will be considered present for their online class once the homeroom teacher sees that they are present online.

Lunch and snack procedures

Students in Grade 1-8 will eat their snack and lunch in their designated classrooms.

JK and SK will eat lunch in the café at staggered times and in separate areas. Snacks will be eaten in their classrooms.

The following guidelines will be followed:

  • All students and staff wash their hands before eating snack or lunch.
  • All students and staff wash their hands after eating snack and lunch.
  • All tables are cleaned and disinfected before and after eating snack and lunch.
  • Students sit in their designated spot in class for snack and lunch.
  • Lunch (Grades 1-8) – We highly recommend that all students bring a lunch to school. No drop-off lunches will be allowed at the main office. At this time the only lunch provider will be Kids Kitchen. Please visit their website to open an account. We will notify you if any additional providers will be added at a later date.
Screening and Illness

Staff, students and visitors must self-screen and complete self-assessment on EduSafe App before entering the school.

Please DO NOT send your child to school if he or she is showing any symptoms of illness or has been required to self-quarantine.

Symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Cough
  • Difficult breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sore throat
  • Difficult swallowing
  • Unexplained tiredness
  • Muscles aches
  • Unexplained feeling of illness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Loss of tase
  • Loss of smell
  • Red/irritated eyes
  • Headaches
  • Runny nose
  • Unusual skin rash
  • Fatigue or weakness

Parents/guardians will have the responsibility of screening their children daily before sending them to school. Students will not be admitted to school if they have failed the screening protocol.

  • Each parent/guardian must download the EduSafe App and answer the screening questions each day before sending them to school. Information about EduSafe is in Appendix B to this document.
  • Staff members will also have the responsibility of screening using the EduSafe App and shall not attend if they fail the screening protocol.
  • Students and staff members will have their temperature taken before entering the school. If a child or staff member has a fever during the morning health check they will not be permitted to enter the school and should contact their local public health authority.
  • Richland has installed a separate room (Wellness Room) that can be used as an isolation room should a student or staff member become ill. Students will remain in the Wellness Room until he or she can be picked up by a parent or caregiver.
  • In the event of illness; students, parents/guardians, and staff are encouraged to seek COVID-19 testing at assessment centres, and/or to call Telehealth at 1-866-797-0000, their primary care provider or their local Public Health office to determine if further care is required.

Students must be symptom free for 24 hours and will require a negative COVID-19 test or a medical note from a physician stating that either the child is fit to return to school or the individual is free from communicable disease to be permitted access to the school. 

COVID-19 Symptoms While in School

Management of Staff/Children with symptoms

  • Staff who becomes ill while at school will be sent home immediately and directed to seek assessment and testing at a COVID-19 Assessment Centre.
  • Symptomatic children will be immediately isolated from others in our designated Wellness Room until they can go home.
  • Parents/caregivers or emergency contacts will be notified to pick up the sick child as soon as possible.
  • If the child has siblings, they must also be isolated in Wellness Room and sent home as well.
  • Unless there is a medical reason to prevent it, the ill student in the Wellness Room will wear a mask until a parent, guardian or designee picks him/her up.
  • Children isolated in the Wellness Room will keep a safe 2m or 6ft distance from others.
  • While waiting for the child to be picked up, the child will be supervised by the Wellness Coordinator and if she is not available than one other member of our administration team.
  • In addition, where possible, anyone who is providing care to the child should maintain a distance of 2 metres/6 feet. Staff providing care will wear a face mask. Hands must be washed before and after taking off a mask. Staff should perform hand hygiene and attempt to not touch their face with unwashed hands. Disposable gloves will be used when there is close contact with the child. Staff must ensure that they wash their hands or use hand sanitizer (if hands not visibly soiled) immediately upon removal of the gloves. The most important measures are proper hand hygiene and maintaining a 2-meter distance as much as possible.
  • The Wellness Coordinator or administrative staff caring for the child will create an illness report for ill/symptomatic child.
  • Hygiene and respiratory etiquette should be practiced while the child is waiting to be picked up.
  • Tissues will be provided to the child for proper respiratory etiquette, with proper disposal of the tissues and proper hand hygiene.
  • Any surfaces in the Wellness Room that the child had contact with are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected, once the child has been picked up.
  • The child or staff member will be encouraged to be tested for Covid-19.
  • If the children or staff members remains symptom free for at least 24 hours, they may obtain a medical note from a physician stating that either the child or staff member is fit to return to school or is free from communicable disease in order to enter the school.

When a child or staff person becomes ill, a member of school administration will report the illness to: York Region Public Health

  • The staff member will contact York Region Public Health to notify them of a potential COVID-19 case and seek advice regarding the information that should be shared with staff and parents/guardians of children enrolled at the school.
  • York Region Public Health will provide any further direction on testing and isolation of close contacts.
COVID-19 Diagnosis or Exposure

For all confirmed cases of Covid-19, families and staff at the school will be notified by letter. York Region Public Health (YRPH) will investigate every confirmed case and contact any close contacts directly. 

Important: A positive case at the school does not necessarily mean the individual was exposed to Covid-19 at the school. They may have been exposed somewhere else in the community.

What will YRPH do if there is a case of COVID-19 in a school setting?

  1. YRPH will be notified of a positive case that attended school while infectious. YRPH may be notified by the lab, a health care provider, school principal, parent/guardian or a health unit from another jurisdiction
  2. YRPH will verify if the case attended school while infectious and conduct an in-depth case investigation to identify contacts of the case In the school setting, contacts are likely to be:
    • Students and teacher(s) in the same cohort
    • Any school staff that interacted with the case’s cohort while the case was infectious
    • Siblings of the case in different grades

Other contacts would also be investigated, such as household contacts, or any other place the case may have visited while infectious

  1. YRPH will post relevant information on the ca/covid19datadashboard.
  2. YRPH will also collect the following information during the investigation:
    • Did the case attend before and/or after school care at the school?
    • What personal protective equipment (PPE) or masks were worn by the case, students, and staff while the case was infectious?
    • Where did the case acquire the infection? Any known sources outside of the school?
    • What is the overall absenteeism at the school?
  3. If there are two or more lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases in students and/or staff (or other visitors) in the school with an epidemiological link, YRPH will declare the school in outbreak
  4. YRPH, including their infection prevention and control staff, will work directly with the school to outline all actions needed to manage the case or potential outbreak in the school
  5. YRPH will directly notify potential contacts of the case to advise on testing, self-isolation and/or self-monitoring. This may be in the form of a phone call or a letter to those potentially exposed
  6. YRPH will communicate daily with the school to monitor for any new symptomatic staff or students and advise on any additional testing and self-isolation required
  7. YRPH will advise when students and staff are safe to return to school
  8. YRPH will advise on all infection and prevention and control measures needed such as cleaning and disinfection
  9. YRPH will aid with communication to parents to ensure timely and accurate messaging
  10. YRPH will monitor the school daily until there are no new cases of COVID-19 for 14 days after the last case. When there are no new cases of COVID-19 for more than 14 days, the outbreak will be declared over.

York Region Public Health is committed to transparency and working together with schools, school boards, students and parents. In the event of a case or outbreak of COVID-19, YRPH will work alongside their community partners to ensure frequent communication is provided to anyone impacted, while maintaining the privacy of those involved.

Below link contains information on what York Region Public Health does if Covid-19 in detected in a school.

https://www.york.ca/wps/wcm/connect/yorkpublic/8ccb3bc6-c37c-4669-b326-47a27aac4902/If+COVID+is+detected+in+Schools+what+does+PH+do+2020+08+20.pdf?MOD=AJPERES&CVID=nggQv-N

  • If a staff member tests positive, he/she will inform the school and will not be permitted to return to school until he/she is free of the COVID-19 virus, including being cleared by public health or a medical practitioner.
  • If a child tests positive, it is the responsibility of the parent/guardian to inform the school; students will not be permitted to return to school until he/she is free of the COVID-19 virus, including being cleared by public health or a medical practitioner.
  • If a child or staff member has symptoms of COVID-19 or has been exposed to someone with COVID-19, and is waiting for the results of a COVID-19, he/she will inform the school and not be permitted to return to school until he/she until the diagnosis of COVID-19 has ruled out by health authorities.
  • Children and staff who have come into contact with someone who is confirmed to have COVID-19 and have been directed by public health to self-quarantine, should not attend school for at least 14 days or otherwise directed by public health authorities (e.g. a confirmed negative test).
  • Children and staff must not attend school if they have been otherwise directed by public health to self-quarantine (e.g. travelled outside of Canada) or a family member with whom he/she is residing has been required to quarantine or self-quarantine.
  • Parents/guardians of a child who is in the same cohort as a child with a Covid-19 diagnosis will be informed of the possible exposure and should seek medical direction.
  • Staff/ children with symptoms, who have not been tested for COVID-19, must be excluded from the school for 14 days after the onset of symptoms.
  • Staff/ children who are being managed by York Region Public Health (e.g. confirmed cases of COVID-19, household contacts of cases) should follow instructions from public health to determine when to return to the school.

If a previously ill child or staff person has: 

1) tested NEGATIVE for COVID-19

AND 

2) remained symptom-free for at least 24hours, they may return to the school (unless they have had close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case or symptomatic person(s), in which case, they will need to self-isolate for 14 days from the last time they had close contact with the confirmed or suspected case).

  • The parent/guardian or staff member must provide a copy of the COVID-19 test result school to verify the negative result.
  • If the parent answers YES to ANY of the questions in the re-entry screening form, the child will be refused entry into the school and the school will consult with York Region Public Health regarding next steps

Note: Individuals tested positive for COVID-19 require direction from York Region Public Health regarding when they can return to school.

School Closure & Records

School Closure

The decision to close the school will be determined by York Region Public Health.

Records

  • The school will maintain daily records/logs of anyone entering schools. Records will include the following information: name, company, contact information, date, time of arrival/departure, reason for visit, rooms/areas visited, screening completed, etc.
  • The school will keep attendance records for all staff and students.
  • The school will monitor attendance records for patterns or trends (e.g. students and staff in the same group or cohort absent at the same time or over the course of a few days).
  • Attendance records will be available on-site at all times, and the school may be required by Public Health to share these records for contact tracing purposes if there is a case of COVID-19 related to the school.