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Role of Pickering College

  • Report communicable diseases to the York Region Public Health Unit
  • Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OSHA) take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker, including in respect of infectious diseases
  • Under OSHA provide written notice to the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development (MLTSD) within four days of being advised that a worker has an occupational illness and must report to Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) within 72 hours of receiving notification of said illness
  • Implement prevention measures found in guidance or as directed by the Ministry of Education (EDU), the Ministry of Health (MOH), MLTSD and the York Region Public Health Unit (YRPH)
  • Coordinate with YRPH and other stakeholders as appropriate, as part of the investigation of cases, contacts, and outbreaks
  • Maintain accurate records of staff and students’ attendance, for all common school locations attended by staff and student (e.g. school transportation, in-person attendance of students and staff, before and after care attendance, seating plans, floor plans, class and faculty schedules) for the last 30 days, as well as up to date contact information for staff and students. This information is available to be accessed and shared with YRPH in a timely manner (within 24 hours) for investigations and communications
  • Maintain a log of all visitors who enter the school with dates and times as well as contact numbers to facilitate contact follow-up if needed
  • Provide YRPH with the name(s) and contact information of the designated contact person (Laura Mason – Director of Boarding and Health Services) for 24 hour access to ensure timely investigation and follow up of cases, contacts and individuals
  • In collaboration with YRPH, communicate proactively with the school community about COVID-19 prevention measures and about how ill individuals, cases and outbreaks will be handled: Develop a communication plan, in collaboration with YRPH, for managing concerns and use this proactively and responsively as needed
  • Provide training to school faculty and staff with respect to outbreak prevention and control measures, including infection prevention and control (IPAC) measures and the use of personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Provide the necessary PPE for the faculty and staff

Pickering College Public Health Readiness Plan


The Pickering College Safety Plan was developed 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 and additional information provided by other provinces, states and countries and is updated as new information and recommendations become available.

Liaising with Public Health


Under section 28 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act, the Head of School or designate have a duty to report to the medical officer of health if they are of the opinion that a student/staff has or may have a communicable disease. However, they should not report all instances of any ill individual in the school setting to Public Health, as these are frequent occurrences and typically students have non-specific symptoms.

Pickering College will immediately report the following to York Region Public Health:

  • Cases of COVID-19 among staff or students that are laboratory confirmed or probable (that is, symptoms occurring among staff or student who has been exposed to a person with a confirmed COVID-19 or recent travel outside of Canada)
  • Clusters of suspected cases (e.g. in a classroom/cohort)
  • An overall increased level of student and/or staff absenteeism
  • The Head of School or designate can report these occurrences to York Region Public Health’s Control of Infectious Disease line at 1-877-464-9675 ext. 73588 between 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday, or 905-953-6478 after hours. This phone line is for school use only and should NOT be shared with parents/guardians or anyone else.
  • When calling York Region Public Health, be prepared to provide the following information:
  • Name and address of Pickering College – 16945 Bayview Ave. Newmarket, ON L3Y 4X2 – Head of School Peter Sturrup
  • Name of ill student/staff
  • Contact information for staff or student and parent/guardian including phone number, address, if possible, date of birth
  • Onset date of symptoms and last day at school
  • Cohort, any bus travel, before and after care attendance, if applicable
  • Who reported the case to the school
  • Any other ill staff or students, especially in the same classroom or cohort

For individuals that are ill (e.g. a student sent home with illness) with symptoms similar to COVID-19, they are encouraged to seek assessment and testing at a COVID-19 Assessment Centre. If there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 in a school, the school does not need to notify families of the exposure. York Region Public Health will notify those close contacts and affected individuals in partnership with Pickering College.

Personal health information of students and staff is kept confidential at all times. Any notification or communication or illness or cases of COVID-19 will be anonymous and not identifying the affected individual. For example, identifying a student’s grade and gender in a small school could be identifying.

YRPH – Contact Person
Mirella Ople RN – Public Health Nurse, COVID-19 School Team
The Regional Municipality of York | 50 High Tech Rd. 4th Floor | Richmond Hill, ON L4B 4N7 1-877-464-9675 ext. 74414 | schoolservices@york.ca or Mirella.ople@york.ca

Training on COVID-19 infection prevention and control practices


All school employees are required to:

  • Review the Pickering College COVID-19 Safety Plan and all periodic updates/notices as distributed by the Emergency Response Team/Director, Human Resources
  • Participate in any hands-on or virtual training or education sessions as required
  • Complete and submit an online form (Permission Click) confirming that they have reviewed and will follow all requirements provided for in this document. This document was sent out out the last week of August during Orientation Week and is provided to any new staff starting throughout the year
  • COVID-19 Infection Prevention and Control Practices will be reviewed at staff meetings as needed
  • Follow the Pickering College Mandatory Vaccine Policy - August 2021

Provision of personal protective equipment and other resources


It is currently mandatory to wear a non-medical mask in enclosed public spaces in York Region. Medical masks and face shields will be provided for faculty and staff and are required to be worn, with reasonable exceptions for medical conditions. Students in Grades JK-12 are required to wear non-medical or cloth masks while in school buildings. Students are not required to wear masks outside however faculty members should ensure there is physical distance between cohorts. Reasonable exceptions will be made as required for medical or sensory conditions.

Putting on Eye Protection – Ontario Public Health Video
Taking Off Eye Protection – Ontario Public Health Video

PPE is required for and will be provided to Health Centre staff and others who will be in close proximity to those with COVID-19 symptoms.

Provision of all necessary materials and supports


Pickering College provides staff with the necessary materials and supports required to conduct their job. This includes PPE, education and inservices, cleaning and disinfecting products and equipment as well as support as required.

Mitigation of Social Barriers to support student compliance


Students who are off due to illness are in regular contact with the Health Centre staff to assess their compliance, physical and mental health needs and readiness to return to school.

Communication plans that provide COVID resources and information


Pickering College is committed to ongoing and complete communication with our community with respect to the COVID-19 pandemic. Communication will include education and notification of changes and expectations. All community communication will be posted on the COVID-19 page of the Pickering College website.
Ongoing communication with the community is important in the fight against COVID-19. Pickering College has been communicating regularly through biweekly newsletters, targeted communication, PC Connects and the website that contains the complete safety plan for parents/custodians and students.

COVID information is posted around the school in the form of posters reminding students and staff of expectations and protocols. E.g.

Protocols and mechanisms for ensuring that students and their families have access to:


Primary care health services


Pickering College has an on site Health Centre staffed by a Registered Nurse Monday to Thursday from 0730-1930 and Friday from 0730-1730. There is a nurse on call overnight and on weekends.

In addition there is a School Doctor, a School Social Worker and two Guidance counsellors.

Mental health services and supports


The COVID-19 pandemic is stressful for everyone. International boarding students are particularly vulnerable given that they are far from home and without family nearby. Everything for them has changed from their schedules to the imposed restrictions put in place to keep them safe. Boarding staff have been educated to watch for red flags of mental health issues. Staff check in with boarding students regularly. Students have access to the Pickering College Health Centre which is staffed by Registered Nurses. The team that supports the mental health of the students includes Nurses, School Doctor, School Social Worker and two

Guidance Counsellors.


Their mental health is monitored during the 14-Day Quarantine through regular virtual check ins by boarding staff and the supervising staff at the hotel. Students in boarding get regular check in through their Family Head (boarding staff) and House Director.

Social services and community organizations


Pickering College has access to many community supports through Southlake Regional Health Centre and ongoing partnerships with local providers.

As needed students can be referred to Family Services of York Region. They offer outreach support and counselling for children, youth, adults and their families. They are an inclusive, diverse organization and offer services in 11 languages. All services are LGBTTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Two Spirit, Queer) Positive. They offer counselling, group programs and cultural support.

Other social supports can be accessed through referrals from the School Doctor and Social Worker as required.

Anti-racism and COVID-19 stigma supports


Pickering College’s Equity and Inclusive Education policy appears in the Parent Portal of the school website. This policy commits to enabling every student to learn effectively, and to improve learning outcomes for all, regardless of race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, marital status, family status, or disability.

Anti-racism and COVID-19 stigma has been addressed in the school assemblies (Morning Meeting). Boarding staff have also been educated and advised to watch for signs of racism in the residences not only as it relates to COVID-19 but as it relates to all aspects of life.

Pickering College has a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force to educate and address racism in the school community. There are several student run initiatives through the Youth Action Organization and the Diversity Club each year.

The Boarding Curriculum is delivered by the House Directors during weekly Community Meetings (Tuesdays from 6:30pm – 7:00pm) via MS Teams. Part of the Boarding Curriculum includes topics on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion as well as Anit-Racism.