Drop-off and Pick-up Protocol

Each school will have set locations and times for drop-off/pick-up, and staffing requirements to support and monitor physical distancing during student arrivals and departures. This applies to private transportation and active travel (e.g., walking, wheeling). Signage or landmarks will be used to make drop-off/pick-up locations easy to identify.

Drop-off/pick-up procedures should support physical distancing and cohorting using strategies that may include:

  • Only one designated parent/guardian drop-off/pick-up
  • Separate cohort entrances (where possible), and maximizing the use of all possible entrances and exits to support the beginning and end of the school days
  • Outdoor drop-off/pick-up (unless there is a need for parent/guardian to enter the school)
  • Staggering entry or limiting the number of people in entry areas
  • Physical distancing ground markings
  • Hand sanitizer available in school entrances and exits, as well as classrooms.

Safe Entry into School

  • ​Designated entry and exit doors will be established in every school. ​
  • Physical distancing window stickers/signs will be posted at all common entrances. ​
  • Students will line up to enter the school.​
  • Staggered entry into the school so there are fewer students in the hallway at a time. ​
  • Kindergarten students will enter classroom directly upon arrival in the morning.​

Recess/Breaks – Elementary 

At the recommendation of Halton Public Health and to encourage 2 metres distancing between cohorts as much as possible, students will remain within specific zones on the playground with their cohorts during recess and breaks outdoors. In larger schools, recess breaks may be staggered with half of the students eating inside while the other half are having recess outside to decrease the number of students outside at one time. 

  • Students are not required to wear masks outdoors. (see Mask Breaks for Students
  • Staff are not required to wear medical masks outdoors but should have them available for use if unable to maintain 2m distancing from students/staff.
  • Shared materials are permitted outdoors, with appropriate hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette.
  • Hand washing prior to and following recess will be required. 

Resources for Parents and Families: 

Public Health Ontario – Cold Weather tips for Schools

Visitor Protocol

For the safety of our students and staff we are limiting visitors in our HCDSB schools and work locations during the 2021-2022 school year. 

A visitor is defined as an individual who is not a staff assigned to a school or a student attending in-person learning at a school. 

  • Parents/guardians will need prior approval from the School Principal or Vice-Principal to drop off items during the instructional day. 
  • Students will be dismissed at school exits; parents/ guardians who need to come into the school will require approval.  
  • Students learning remotely who may be participating in any extra-curricular activities are required to follow the Visitor Protocol.
  • Community coaches are required to follow the Visitor Protocol.
  • Board office staff or any staff not assigned to a school, occasional staff, and unpaid learners (such as student teachers) are required to follow the Visitor Protocol.
  • All outside agencies should consider what services can be provided virtually before requesting access to an HCDSB school. Where possible students will be taken out of the classroom for essential services.  

Visitor access will be controlled to minimize exposure and maintain physical distancing.  All visits must be scheduled and approved by the School Principal or Vice-Principal. 


All approved scheduled visitors MUST:

  • Complete COVID-19 School and Child Care Screening Tool BEFORE arriving or entering the school.  
  • Provide daily confirmation of successful screening by completing the online COVID-19 Visitor Protocol Form (QR code and link will be posted at the main entrance of each school). 
    • Anyone who does not complete the COVID-19 Visitor Protocol Form will be denied entry into an HCDSB school or work site. 
  • Clean or sanitize hands upon entry.
  • Comply with HCDSB COVID-19 protective strategies (hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette, masking, physical distancing etc.).
  • Wear a medical mask or face covering while inside the school.
  • Take reasonable care of their own health and safety and ensure their actions do not adversely affect the health and safety of others.
  • Access approved areas only. Check with the School Principal or Vice-Principal for additional direction.
  • Report any concerns to the School Principal or Vice-Principal.
  • Go home or stay home if they develop any COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Notify the HCDSB if they develop any symptoms of COVID-19 within 48 hours of being at an HCDSB school. 

Visitor Contact Tracing

Visitors will complete the online confirmation of screening and contact tracing form via the link/QR code upon arrival.  Electronic records and any paper forms will be kept in a secure folder in the office and scanned to an electronic dated file at the end of each day, electronic copies will be kept for a minimum of 1 calendar year unless otherwise required.

Health & Physical Education

In elementary and secondary health and physical education classes, the use of gymnasiums, change rooms, weight rooms, indoor physical education equipment and shared outdoor equipment are permitted with physical distancing.

The following recommendations are for students and staff:

  • Maintain physical distancing when moderate to vigorous exercise takes place outdoors.
  • Maintain physical distancing (2 metres) at all times for indoor physical activity. 
  • Masks are encouraged for indoor sports where they can be worn safely based on the activity. 
  • Masks are not required outdoors when playing high or low contact activities.
  • Gymnasiums and weight rooms will not be open for personal use.
  • Gymnasiums should only be used for moderate activity where physical distancing and current masking protocols can be followed.
  • Weight rooms must be disinfected prior to use and used solely for the purpose of student learning and programming.
  • The capacity in changerooms should be limited to accommodate physical distancing. Each school will offer further guidance on the use of changerooms.  
  • Sharing equipment should be limited, and equipment must be disinfected regularly.
  • Proper hand hygiene must be practiced before and after participating in physical activity and equipment use.


To ensure the health and safety of our students and staff, alternate arrangements may be required for some courses/subjects, in keeping with the guidance set by the Ministry. This section will be updated once further guidance is released by Ophea (Ontario Physical and Health Education Association) in September 2021.

Barriers

  • Transparent (plexiglass) barriers will be situated in the main office where administrative staff regularly interact with students and visitors.
  • Transparent barriers may also be used for meetings with student(s). Staff who frequently have student meetings may be allocated a transparent barrier to provide protection if appropriate physical distancing cannot be maintained, such as SERT rooms or shared alternative space for access with all professionals.
  • Clear barriers may be used as a substitute for PPE (masks) between individuals for the purpose of teaching/assessment when necessary. 
  • When using barriers, appropriate PPE (masks) must be nearby for use in an emergency.


Congregating

To help minimize the spread of COVID-19, we have received Ministry direction to continue to follow physical distancing measures both inside our schools and in outside areas. School staff will be monitoring to ensure that students are not gathering in groups before and after school.

Parents are also asked to remind your children not to congregate in the hallways or around the school, and outside before and after school, and to refrain from carpooling if physical distancing and the use of PPE (masks) cannot be maintained.

Keeping Classrooms Safe 

  • ​Students will wash/sanitize their hands when entering the classroom. ​
  • Students will have designated fixed seating. ​
  • Area rugs will be removed from classrooms. ​
  • No soft furniture that is not easily cleaned will be kept in the classroom.​

Washrooms 

  • All washrooms  with an automatic faucet have a hands-free hand dryer or paper towel dispenser.​
  • All washrooms with a manual faucet have a paper towel dispenser.  ​
  • Physical distancing floor decals will be placed at entrances to all student washrooms. ​

Shared Equipment/Materials 

Shared materials are important for learning (e.g., 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 and structures). The use of shared materials is permitted.  

The risk associated with transmission with shared objects is low. The focus should be on regular hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette to reduce the risk of infection related to shared equipment, particularly when regular cleaning of shared objects is not feasible.  Disinfectant wipes or no-touch disinfectant spray will be provided in each classroom.

Water Fountains & Bottle Fillers

  • All water fountains will be wrapped and/or made inoperable. ​
  • Bottle filling stations will remain operable.​
  • Bottle filling stations are installed in all HCDSB schools.​
  • Students will be required to bring their own drink bottle that is labelled, and not shared.

Use of Shared Spaces

Shared spaces like libraries (e.g., for group and individual use, drop-in study time etc.) and computer/technology labs are permitted. Masking and 2 metres distancing between cohorts will be maintained.

Assemblies

Where possible, assemblies and/or large gatherings (including Masses and liturgies) will be held virtually or outdoors. 

Individual schools will create a process for determining the factors which necessitate an in-person gathering based on school needs.

In-person assemblies must: 

  • Meet capacity limit requirements under the Reopening Ontario Act
  • Maintain 2 metre distancing between cohorts (classes)
  • Ensure all individuals are wearing the appropriate PPE/masks
  • Ensure there is no sharing of food/drink
  • Reinforce hand hygiene and respiratory practices

Lockers/Cubbies

  • Use of lockers/cubbies is permitted.
  • To ensure students spend minimal time at their locker, locks are NOT PERMITTED on student lockers in elementary schools. 
  • Locks are permitted at the secondary level.
  • Periods of student movement will be staggered to limit congregating in the hallways.
  • Students will be assigned an individual locker at the elementary level. If students need to share a locker, they must be within the same cohort/class. When shared, ensure students access lockers separately.
  • At the secondary level, student lockers will be assigned to ensure physical distancing as much as possible within cohorts and 2 metre distancing between cohorts where possible.
  • Student personal belongings to include essential items only (e.g., backpack, clothing, sun protection, water bottles, food.

Library 

  • Numbers of groups/students will be limited according to capacity (current as per the Reopening Ontario Act) and to ensure as much distancing as possible between students, between students and staff, and between staff members.
  • When choosing books, students must not congregate.
  • Practice hand hygiene before and after visiting the library.