COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by one of the coronaviruses, 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.
Pickering College will continue to focus on a safe return to school and to the classroom. This is a priority for our community. Equally as important as the focus on student learning is the ongoing support of the mental health and wellbeing of our students, faculty and staff.
The state of emergency included the closures of schools in an effort to “flatten the curve” and reduce the spread of transmission. Ontario is currently in Stage 3 of reopening with some loosening of restrictions in public. During these unprecedented times, Pickering College continues to respond to the evolving guidance from Public Health, the Government of Ontario and Health Canada.
Pickering College is an independent Day and Boarding school for boys and girls from Junior Kindergarten to Grade 12 founded in 1842. Our program is fully approved and inspected by the Ministry of Education of Ontario as well as accredited by the Canadian Association of Independent Schools.
Pickering College has developed and revised 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, York Region Public Health, Public Health Ontario, COVID-19: Health, safety and operational guidance for schools (2021-2022) version 2 released August 13, 2021 and additional information provided by other provinces, states and countries and will update it as new information and recommendations become available.
The plan is based on following best practices as they are established with the most up to date research into COVID-19. The health, safety and well-being of our community is at the forefront of all of our decisions and plans. 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 the following best practices as they are established with the most up to date research into COVID-19. We recognize that this research is evolving and developing at a rapid rate so we must be flexible to change what we are doing when the research provides data for changes.
Pickering College will employ measures using the following guiding principles:
- Physical Distancing – Policies and procedures will be put in place to reduce the number of people on campus (remote work, no visitors etc.) and keep those that are present at a safe distance from each other.
- Engineering Controls – Barriers (markers to indicate distance, plexiglass barriers) or recommended engineering controls to separate people. Shift staggering including working remotely.
- Administrative Controls – We have established rules and guidelines, such as cleaning and disinfecting protocols, assigned stairwells and washrooms within the school, designated entrance and exits, cohorting, staggered drop off and pick up times all to enhance physical distancing measures.
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) – Pickering College will provide our staff with personal protective equipment (PPE), - medical masks and a reusable face shield. Students will be responsible to provide and care for their own masks.
Pickering College will update policies, procedures and protocols as the COVID-19 situation evolves in collaboration with staff, the Joint Health and Safety Committee and members of the Emergency Response Team based on assessment of risks and emerging best practices. The school will communicate any updates to students, staff/faculty, parents and custodians as necessary to allow them to continue in as safe a performance as possible for their roles and responsibilities while on campus.
It is imperative that everyone stay current with information about COVID-19 as this is an evolving virus and the world is learning new things all the time based on current and developing research. 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
Workplace 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/virtual training or education sessions as directed by Pickering College or as otherwise required to implement this plan
The health and safety of the community is a top concern during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. Under Ontario law, employers must take every reasonable precaution to protect the health and safety of workers. This includes protecting workers from hazards posed by infectious diseases.
The School (the Employer) is responsible for:
- Assessing the risk of exposure to infection onsite
- Ensuring workers know about hazards by providing information, instruction and supervision on how to work safely
- Ensuring supervisors know what is required to protect workers’ health and safety on the job
- Creating workplace health and safety policies, procedures and protocols
- Ensuring workplace practices follow the law and the workplace health and safety policies, procedures and protocols
- Ensuring workers wear the correct personal protection equipment (PPE) and are trained on how to use it
- Taking all precautions reasonable in the circumstances to protect workers from being hurt or getting a work-related illness.
- Maintaining accurate records of staff, students and visitors. Pickering College will be able to produce information regarding the students and staff members in any and all class cohort(s). I.e. attendance, classroom seating plans, bus seating plans, before and after care, co-curricular activities, dining room seating plans, volunteer lists and contact information etc.
- Communicating with the community.