SNCDSB Covid-19 Reopening Guidelines - Updated September 2, 2020

SNCDSB Covid-19 Reopening Guidelines - Updated September 2, 2020

Revised September 2, 2020

Best Practices To Keep Everyone Safe and Healthy

The health and safety of workers is a top concern amid the global COVID-19 pandemic. During this time all stakeholders must place an increased focus on health and safety in order to keep facilities open and safe.

All measures taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19 should be done in compliance with requirements under the Occupational Health and Safety Act and associated Regulations and public health directives issued by the Chief Medical Officer of Health.

In addition, below are a set of resources, tips and best practices to help employers prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Staff Return to School Planning

Protecting Yourself and Coworkers

Coronaviruses are spread through close contact, including at work. Here are some helpful tips to prevent the spread of infection:

  • Wash your hands often and thoroughly with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Sneeze and cough into your sleeve.
  • If you use a tissue, discard immediately and wash your hands afterward.
  • Avoid touching your face, eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid high-touch areas, where possible, or ensure you clean your hands after.
  • Where possible, wear gloves when interacting with high-touch areas. Do not touch your face with gloved hands. Put on and remove gloves in a manner that avoids contamination of the hands. Ensure you wash your hands after removing gloves.
  • Wash your clothes as soon as you get home.
  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • If you are ill: notify your supervisor immediately, complete the self-assessment and follow the instructions you get.


The symptoms of COVID-19 can resemble a cold or the flu. At this time, it is recommended that any individual worker who is experiencing any symptoms related to cold, flu, or COVID-19 should be sent home. In addition, we advise you to immediately self-isolate and complete the online self-assessment or call either:

  • Telehealth: 1-866-797-0000
  • Your primary care provider (for example, family physician)

Please review the Self-Assessment Sheet

Staff are asked to fill out the Self-Assessment sheet in eBase daily before entering the facilities. 

Please read the following very carefully.

According to Health Canada, symptoms can appear in as little as a few days, or as long as 14 days after being exposed to someone with the disease. COVID-19 can cause a range of symptoms including fever, cough, sore throat and shortness of breath.

For some people, the symptoms are like having a cold; for others, they are quite severe or even life-threatening. It is important to check with your healthcare provider and follow instructions about staying home or away from public spaces to prevent the spread of the virus.

The virus typically spreads through coughing and sneezing, personal contact with an infected person, or touching an infected surface and then the mouth, nose, or eyes.

Close contact with a potentially infected person or touching potentially contaminated items (such as desks, keyboards, counters, door handles, hard surfaces, elevator buttons, etc.) are likely to pose the greatest exposure risks. Also, close contact with other people increases the risk of exposure to someone who may be infected.

Accessing SNCDSB Sites Protocol

We ask all staff and individuals that are entering our sites to abide by the following guidelines:

  • Enter site through the main entrance or the entrance that is designated to you by your immediate supervisor
  • Stop at the check-in station and follow the following steps:
    • Complete the self-assessment sheet on ebase before accessing the building. Do not access the site if you are exhibiting any new or unexplainable symptoms related to COVID-19.
    • Wash your hands
    • Wear a medical mask that is provided by the Board. (you will be denied entry to the site if you do not wear it). All staff including supply staff and volunteers will be provided with medical masks. A face shield and/or goggles will be provided to staff.  
    • Head directly to your workstation or classroom and remain there unless accessing other areas within the facility
    • Maintain physical distancing of 2 meters at all times
    • Eat at your station or in your classroom if possible or leave the premises.
    • Bring your own food and cutlery
    • Do not share food or cutlery with other individuals
    • Wash and/or sanitize your hands before touching the photocopy machine
    • It is recommended that you use a tissue to touch the photocopy machine
    • Wash your hands when entering or using all common areas
    • Respect physical distancing when accessing common areas
  • After-hour access to schools
    • No access to schools will be granted on weekends and after 4:00 pm daily to allow deep cleaning and disinfecting.
  • Accessing the office
    • Limit of one person at a time (this number does not include the administrative assistant and the principal)
    • Wash your hands upon entry, exit and when needed
    • Wear a mask at all times
    • Wash your hands or wear gloves before handling documents of supplies
    • Adhere to the 2-meter distance at all times
  • Using the staffroom
    • Wear a mask
    • Wash your hands upon entry, exit and when needed
    • Adhere to the 2-meter distance at all time
    • Use your own cutlery, cups, etc.
    • Wipe table and everything that you have touched (microwave, coffee pot, fridge etc.)
    • Respect the occupancy limit
  • Staff members with children
    • To minimize contact tracing, staff members are asked to keep their children in their classrooms until they are ready to go to their homeroom and/or home. We ask staff to be vigilant and ensure that their children wash their hands and wear masks at all times.
  • Using the designated washroom facilities:
    • Wipe seat with disinfecting wipes before and after using the toilet
    • Wash your hands immediately after usage of facilities
    • Wipe doors and any surfaces that you have touched
    • Wash your hands a second time prior to exiting the bathroom
    • It is recommended that you use a tissue on the door handle or use your feet when exiting the facilities.
    • Dispose of wipes in garbage cans

Contact Tracing Information Management and Documentation

Please refer to the following resources for contact tracing information:

Operational Guidance Covid-19 Management Guide for Schools

TBDHU Covid-19 Tip Sheet for Principals updated September 1, 2020

Package Delivery Protocol (for receiving packages)

  • Wear a mask
  • Wear gloves during the whole time
  • Maintain physical distancing
  • When possible, request a contactless delivery
  • Request the driver to place the package down rather than handing the item directly to you to maintain physical distancing
  • Avoid the use of shared materials
  • Use your own pen when signing for the delivery and avoid the use of shared pens
  • If you are required to use a stylus or your finger to sign for receipt of the delivery, wipe down the keypad before use
  • Open the package in the designated area
  • Upon opening the delivery immediately dispose of the packaging and the used gloves
  • Sanitize the item
  • Clean and sanitize exposed areas
  • Clean and sanitize any areas the package came into contact with such as tabletops, counters, or floor area (where it was placed), etc.
  • Wash your hands immediately after cleaning and sanitizing the potentially exposed areas

Students Return to School Planning

The following principles guide the reopening of SNCDSB schools:

  • Protecting the health and safety of students and staff
  • Follow the guidelines set out by the Ontario Ministry of Education and the Ontario Ministry of Health and the Thunder Bay District Health Unit
  • Provide students with some familiarity with school routines for social/emotional/academic learning
  • Provide clear expectations for staff and students during this new learning

Guidelines for Full Return to School Model with Enhanced Safety Measures

Due to our small classrooms sizes, we are fortunate to be able to offer in-school full day instructions with enhanced Health and Safety Measures. Please refer to the following article COVID-19: Recommendations for School Reopening about recommendations from Sick Kids Hospital on School Reopening.

Staff are asked to adhere to the reopening guidelines to ensure their safety and the safety of their students.

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

In general:

  • All movement around and within the building is to happen with the expected 2 meters distance
  • Students and staff are not to be in school if they show any new or unexplained symptoms of illness and must be symptom-free for 24 hours before returning
  • Students may not enter the building before their arrival time
  • Students will access the building at the bell or at the staggered time. Students may not access the school before the bell.
  • Staff and students will enter the building through the main entrance or designated entrance and head directly to their classroom or workstation
  • Students will line up for dismissal and are brought outside by their teacher

Students Entry at the Beginning of the Year

Please see the schedule below of school staggered entry:

  • Thursday, September 3rd and Friday, September 4th - Jk/SK one on one or two on one visits depending on classroom sizes (Scheduled one-hour visits)
  • Tuesday, September 8th - Grade 1, 3, 5 and 7 will attend school
  • Wednesday, September 9th - Grade 2, 4, 6, and 8 will attend school
  • Thursday, September 10th  all students will attend school.

Expectations for Students

  • Students from grades 1 to 8 are required to wear masks at all times. JK/SK students are encouraged to wear masks.
  • Students will be allowed in the building at the assigned staggered start time (bus arrival may be staggered)
  • Students enter the building without parents at their assigned entrance door and head directly to their classroom
  • Students must sanitize hands when entering the classroom 
  • Students must adhere to the 2-meter rule when entering and exiting the building
  • Students are to bring only the minimum that is needed
  • All student belongings are to be taken directly to their classroom with them. Indoor shoes are not required at this time. This will be revisited for the winter months.
  • In order for these arrangements to work well, it is really important for students and parents to stick to these times and guidelines as much as possible
  • Students who arrive late must enter using the main entrance. Students need to sign in at the office and go directly to their classrooms.
  • Students will be taken to the dismissal point by teachers. Supervision may be assigned to French as a Second Language/Native as Second Language teachers or Educational Assistants. When parents are there to pick up their child, the student will be released by the teachers. Walkers may leave school.

Masks (Grades 1 to 8)

Students from grades 1 to 8 are required to bring and wear their own masks. Students may use cloth masks. In the event students forget or lose their masks, one will be provided to them. Students will be asked to safely store their masks at different times during the day (ie. lunchtime, recess etc.). It is imperative that masks are stored appropriately to keep them clean. Students may use the following to store their masks: new paper or plastic bag each day, cloth bags that are cleaned daily, plastic containers that are sanitized etc. We recommend that students have an extra mask with them in the event that their other mask becomes soiled. Public Health recommends that reusable masks are washed daily and soiled masks are stored properly. Exemptions may be made on the advice of a medical professional. Medical documentation is required when the school is unaware of pre-existing medical conditions.

Students may be able to remove their masks while seated at their desks as long as they respect social distancing. We ask staff to ensure that the students wear their masks when they are not at their seat.

Teachers may remove their masks if they are alone in their classrooms or are minimum 2 meters away from their students. It is recommended that teachers wear or have their masks with them outdoors in the event a 2-metre distance cannot be maintained while assisting a student.

Masks (Junior and Senior Kindergarten)

JK/SK students are not required but are encouraged to wear masks.

Dropping Off/Picking Up Students

  • Parents will arrive at the assigned staggered start time and dismissal time (if staggered time is put in place). It is very important to keep to these times to encourage social distancing.
  • Parents drop off their child/ren outside of the building.
  • Parents are encouraged to allow their child/ren to make the last part of the journey into school independently.
  • Parents will wait in their car and will pick up their child/ren at the doors
  • Parents are asked to make an appointment with the school if they wish to visit the school or to meet with school staff.


Bussing information is provided by the consortia. Additional information may be forthcoming

Students Class Grouping

To prepare for the in-school learning model, teachers in consultation with EAs and the principal will be asked to create groups of up to 15 children that become a class for the duration of the year. The class size maximum of 15 is based on a classroom size of 750 square feet. Classes are assigned in accordance with the square footage of the classroom. This list will have to be approved by the Superintendent and Re-opening Committee prior to the opening of the school.

Entering and Exiting the Classroom

Beginning of the day:

  • Students will bring all their belongings with them to the classroom, including their coats and bags
  • Students will place their coats on the back of their chair and their bag(s) next to them
  • Students must wash and rinse their hands thoroughly for 40 seconds (PS Handwashing Lesson)
  • Once their hands are washed, they are then ready to begin the day

During the day:

  • Students must wash their hands throughout the day; this is at the beginning of the day, after recess, after using the facilities or any other time they re-enter the room or it is felt hand washing is necessary
  • Physical Education is cancelled until further notice. Teachers are encouraged to bring students outside to play in lieu of physical education or practice DPA in the classrooms.

End of the day:

  • Students put on their coats and place their bags on their back/shoulder
  • Students wash their hands before lining up to be taken to their exit

Expectations Around the Usage of Materials

Classrooms and the use of school materials:

  • Custodians will maintain the sanitizing of the classroom and materials
  • All materials must be washed daily. If they cannot be washed they must be packed away.
  • All school materials stay at school; no home materials are brought to school with the exception of pencil boxes, which then stays at school
  • Students bring their own pencil boxes from home that remain at school
  • Teachers will assign a basket of material for every student, which may include scissors, glue, crayons, markers, workbooks, literacy and numeracy resources, manipulative etc. Teachers will determine what needs to be included in the basket. The basket and materials will be provided by the Board.
  • Students cannot bring personal toys to school
  • Students may not share materials

Toys and manipulatives:

  • Kindergarten teachers are asked to select toys and manipulatives for their students to use during the day. These items must be easily washed in the dishwasher at the end of the day.
  • All materials, toys and manipulatives to be washed after school
  • Soft toys and pillows/cushions/blankets are to be removed from the classroom.
  • iPads, chromebooks, laptops, computer mouse, etc. must not be shared while using
  • Need to be wiped before and after use several times daily with wipes
  • Students must wash hands before and after use

Other materials:

  • Promethean Board markers must be wiped down after each use
  • Class pencils/pens/scissors/glue sticks/rulers are assigned to students and used by the same student for the year
  • Other art materials i.e. paints, pastels etc. used, cleaned and then packed away
  • No playdough/plasticine/clay is to be used unless it’s included in the students' basket and no sharing occurs
  • iPads and Chromebooks are not to be shared and students will be asked to wipe them before and after use.

Classroom libraries:

  • Classrooms will not have classroom libraries and instead:
    • Kindergarten: a small selection of books will be available daily. Once a child has read the book, it is to be packed away and cleaned at the end of the day.
    • Grades 1 to 8: students have their reading book/s which they keep with their other belongings. If it is finished it is then cleaned and packed away.
    • Teachers have a box of books relevant for the day which they use, clean and pack away.

Health and Safety Guidelines

Emergency Learning: Health and Safety Guidelines

Sick Students:

Students who show a new or unexplained symptom of illness (ie. recurring seasonal allergies, asthma, pre-existing medical condition would not qualify) may not attend school.

Principals are asked to choose a room in the school that will be used for sick students in consultation with their Superintendent. This room will be used as an isolation room for students with symptoms. The gym may also be utilized if more space is needed.

Parents are asked NOT to send their child to school if he or she is showing any symptoms of illness and NOT to send their child/ren to school if any member of the household has symptoms of Covid-19.

Students who show signs of illness or have a temperature of 37.8 C (100 F) or higher will be sent home from school. The students will be asked to stay in a dedicated room and wear a mask while waiting for their parents to pick them up. Chairs are placed at a minimum of six feet apart. Adults are asked to wear PPE while supervising the ill students (gowns, gloves, masks and face shield).

The office will phone a parent and/or emergency contacts to arrange the immediate pick up of their sick child. The Thunder Bay District Health Unit will be contacted for direction for next steps.

Waiting Room Protocol (Isolation Room)

Waiting rooms are used to isolate sick students while waiting to be picked up by parents. The staff that are supervising the isolation room are asked to use the isolation room PPE bucket that is provided by the Board. Principals are asked to dedicate one staff member to supervise the Waiting room. The staff member will wear the provided PPE and are asked not to enter the room but rather supervise the student through the doorway.

Contact and Tracing Management

In order to keep track of whom students come in contact with, teachers and bus drivers are asked to keep updated seating plans for all students. These plans are shared with the school principals. The principal will ensure that the plans are available upon request from Health officials.

Handwashing and Hand Sanitizing:

Students and adults are asked to wash their hands upon entry to the school and throughout the day. It is recommended to use soap and water as much as possible. Hand sanitizers can also be used and will be provided by the Board.

Two-meter Distance:

  • Students will enter school at the main entrance, one at a time, two meters apart and will remain two meters apart the entire school day.
  • Two-meter markers will be placed throughout the school
  • Students will be separated by two meters throughout the school day both in the class and when transitioning to/from recess.

Cleaning of the Building:

  • Hand sanitizers will be placed inside each building entry door, outside classroom doors and in every classroom
  • High touch surfaces like banisters, door handles, light switches, elevator buttons etc. will be sanitized on a continuous basis throughout the day by the custodians
  • Toilets and sinks will be sanitized on a continuous basis throughout the day by the custodians
  • Electrostatic cleaning will be performed once a week or when needed.

Bathroom Procedures

  • Students are asked to wash their hands in their classroom prior to using the facilities
  • A limit of two students accessing the facilities at a time
  • Markers of 3 meters (6 feet distance) are indicated outside the bathroom doors in order to help student with social distancing
  • A staff member can be assigned to monitor the bathroom

Breakfast Club, Lunch and Snack Procedures

All students will eat snacks and lunch in their classroom.

Breakfast clubs will be operating during the entire school year. Volunteers are asked to wear masks or face shields and gloves while in the building. Breakfast will be provided to classrooms in an individual paper bag, one per student. This will be delivered to the students prior to their arrival. No contact will be made between volunteers and students.

Please follow the below guidelines:

  • All students and staff wash their hands before eating breakfast, a snack and lunch
  • All students and staff wash their hands after eating a snack and lunch
  • Students sit in their designated spot in class for lunch. This spot should be at a two-meter distance from others in the classroom
  • Custodians use the provided disinfectant to thoroughly clean the tables after students have eaten


Lunch is provided at a staggered time. Please consult the following schedule example which will assist you in creating your own school schedule. Students may leave the premises to eat lunch at home at their scheduled time.

Class 1

Lunch: 12:00 pm - Person A
Outdoor Playtime: 12:20 pm - Person D
Cleaning Schedule: 12:20 pm - Custodian A

Class 2

Lunch: 12:00 pm - Person A
Outdoor Playtime: 12:20 pm - Person D
Cleaning Schedule: 12:20 pm - Custodian A

Class 3

Lunch: 12:00 pm - Person A
Outdoor Playtime: 12:20 pm - Person D
Cleaning Schedule: 12:20 pm - Custodian A

Class 4

Lunch: 12:00 pm - Person A
Outdoor Playtime: 12:20 pm - Person D
Cleaning Schedule: 12:20 pm - Custodian A

Class 5

Lunch: 12:00 pm - Person B
Outdoor Playtime: 12:20 pm - Person C
Cleaning Schedule: 12:20 pm - Custodian B

Class 6

Lunch: 12:00 pm - Person B
Outdoor Playtime: 12:20 pm - Person C
Cleaning Schedule: 12:20 pm - Custodian B

Class 7

Lunch: 12:00 pm - Person B
Outdoor Playtime: 12:20 pm - Person C
Cleaning Schedule: 12:20 pm - Custodian B

Class 8

Lunch: 12:00 pm - Person B
Outdoor Playtime: 12:20 pm - Person C
Cleaning Schedule: 12:20 pm - Custodian B

Outdoor Learning and Recess

Students should at least have two outdoor playtimes during the day. This is imperative for their mental health and well-being. These recesses will also be used in lieu of physical education classes. Please schedule outdoor activities/learning during instructional time.

The revised recess schedule will be created to provide increased outdoor playtime for all students and limit the number of students on the playground at one time. Students go out to play with their classroom teachers without their masks. Students are asked to properly store their masks in their classrooms and maintain social distancing at all times including the hallway and outside. Teachers with the assistance of the principal will coordinate an outdoor time with one another to ensure that hallways are not congested.

More than one group of students at a time can be outside depending on the size of the playground. Groups of students have to remain separate in the hallways and outside at all times.

We ask schools that share their facilities with other Boards to work together to set a recess schedule.

Student expectations for outdoor play:

  • Students are asked to wash their hands prior to going outside to play.
  • Students are expected to follow the school rules and cooperate when instructed and directed
  • Students are expected to adhere to all new procedures so the school can follow the safety guidelines
  • As per the health and safety guidelines, students must play only with their designated group of students
  • Students who struggle to meet the new expectations will not be permitted on the playground
  • Students must maintain a two-meter distance when in the hallways without their masks on their to and from the playground.
  • Students must maintain a two-meter distance when playing
  • Students will have access to playground equipment. This access is scheduled by the cohorts.

Student Concerns

Staff are asked to closely monitor the emotional well-being of students in the new learning environment. Parents are also asked to share any concerns with their child’s classroom teacher.

We ask you to be particularly aware of the following situations and issues:

  • Reluctant students*
  • Social/emotional concerns including new concerns because of the new learning environment and guidelines, class, friendships
  • Behaviour/disciplinary issues
  • General academic concerns
  • Late and absent students
  • Child protection issues

*students who are not agreeable to coming to school, who have difficulty separating from parents, who refuse to enter the building, who make excuses during the day to be sent home

Concern: Reluctant Student
Response: Staff will make reasonable efforts to encourage students to enter and stay in school. Students who are not able to cooperate easily, a re-entry plan is created with our mental health team.

Concern: Social/Emotional Issues
Response: Staff will report students of concern to their principal and our mental health team. Students may be referred to our service providers.

Concern: Behaviour/Disciplinary
Response: There is an enhanced expectation for students to follow school rules, classroom agreements and cooperate when instructed and directed. Students are also expected to adhere to the new hygiene and distancing procedures so the school can follow the guidelines for health and safety. Teachers are asked to educate their students on the importance and the reason for the new hygiene and distancing procedures. 

If students refuse to respect the above, next steps will be determined on a case by case basis.

Concern: Late/Absence (school and/or online)
Response: Regular recording of attendance and tardies will continue. Parents will be contacted if attendance is a concern. Please follow the Attendance Counsellor Guidelines provided by the Board.

Concern: General Academic Concerns
Response: Please discuss academic concerns as a school team and Principals are asked to bring any concerns to the School Superintendent.

Concern: Child Protection Issues
Response: The same child protection procedures and guidelines are in place. Staff should inform child protection immediately.



It is essential that we inform and educate our students on why these guidelines are put in place and the importance of adhering to them. The safety aspects of the guidelines that pertain to them should be fully explained. Students should also be made aware, in age-appropriate and non-stigmatizing language, to identify symptoms of COVID-19 and should be instructed to speak to a staff member immediately if they feel ill.

Staff are asked to be mindful of students' misconceptions and fears. It is very important to immediately address these misconceptions and fears and to refer students to the mental health team if necessary. It is also important to inform the principal and the parents. 


In order to minimize cross-contamination and exposure, agendas will no longer be used as a communication tool between school and home. Staff are asked to communicate with parents through Google Classrooms in lieu of the agenda.

Schools are asked to communicate the new guidelines to parents and all safety measures that have been put in place to protect the school community. An on-going method of communication should be established between the school and home in order to keep parents informed. Please refer to the following Ministry of Education document Operational-guidance-covid-19-management-schools


This is a new learning situation. Our goal is to provide students with some familiarity of school routines for social/emotional/academic learning in a school environment. Lessons will be designed to provide practice for consolidating skills and will focus on some new learning, where possible. Teachers will use teaching materials, strategies and teaching styles that are familiar to the students. The academic work for students will be as familiar and as independent as possible. Spiraling and narrowing of the curriculum is recommended in order to help reduce the learning gaps.

Please note: we may need to change our plan due to the current circumstances and revert to the hybrid model or distance learning.




SNCDSB Cleaning and Disinfection plan  

Sick Kids - COVID-19 Recommendations for School Reopening

Ministry of Education: Operational Guidance During COVID-19 Outbreak - Child Care Re-opening

Infographic on 2020-21 Re-Opening Plan
"Together We Educate Heart, Mind and Soul."