COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by a new strain of coronavirus, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The virus was first identified in December 2019 in Wuhan, China and resulted in a worldwide pandemic. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared a global pandemic on March 11, 2020 and Ontario declared a state of emergency on March 17, 2020.
The state of emergency included the closure of schools in an effort to “flatten the curve” and reduce the spread of transmission.
Pickering College has developed this plan based on guidance issued by the Ministry of Health of Ontario, Ministry of Health and Long Term Care of Canada, Public Services Health and Safety Association, the World Health Organization, the Hospital for Sick Children, the Ministry of Education of Ontario, CIS guidelines for reopening schools for the 2020-2021 school year, and additional information provided by other schools, provinces, states and countries.
The health, safety and well-being of our community is at the forefront of all of the decisions. While we cannot guarantee that no one will be exposed to COVID-19 at school, we are committed to doing everything possible to limit the exposure. For this reason, our plan is based on following best practices as they are established with the most up to date research into COVID-19.
Pickering College will employ measures using the following principles:
- Physical Distancing – Policies and procedures will be put in place to reduce the number of people on campus and maintain safe distances for students and staff
- Protection – Barriers (markers to indicate distance, plexiglass barriers) or recommended engineering controls to separate people
- Administrative Controls – There will be rules and guidelines, such as cleaning and disinfecting protocols, implementing “one way” pedestrian flow within the school, designated entrance and exits, staggered drop off and pick up times all to enhance physical distancing measures. This includes students being assigned to a “cohort” group. This is done to ensure there is contact with the same smaller group of people during the school day and in the residences – It is necessary for contact tracing
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) – We will provide our staff whose roles and responsibilities require them to be within two metres of another person with personal protective equipment (PPE), such as non-medical masks, as appropriate. The Health Centre staff for example, require PPE to fulfill their responsibilities
Pickering College’s guiding principles in preparing and planning for re-opening are based on guidance issued by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, Public Services Health and Safety Association, the Occupational Health and Safety Act, the Ministry of Education and York Region Public Health. They include the following:
- The health, safety and well-being of all members of our community
- Providing continuity of educational opportunities for all of our students
- Following the guidelines set out by the Ministries of Health and Education
- Implementing standards, meeting or exceeding compliance with applicable legislation, regulation and emerging best practices, including the orders and directives of the local and provincial governments
- Staying informed, being prepared, and following public health advice
It is imperative that people in the Pickering College community stay current with information about COVID-19 as this is an evolving virus and the world is learning new things all the time as the research is being gathered. The most up to date information including symptoms can be found on the following websites:
- Government of Canada Coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
- Government of Ontario COVID-19
- York Region Public Health COVID-19
- World Health Organization (COVID-19) Pandemic
Roles and Responsibilities
In general, all students, parents, faculty, staff, visitors, volunteers and contractors are required to:
- Abide by these specific plans and procedures, and all applicable Pickering College policies
- Review this document and all periodic updates/notices as distributed
- Participate in any hands-on training or education sessions as directed by Pickering College or as otherwise required to implement this plan