Pickering College - Learning For Life. Creating The Future.

Health & Wellness

Hand Hygiene

Rigorous hand washing with plain soap and water and good hygiene practices are the most effective way to reduce the spread of illness. Faculty will reinforce these practices amongst students.

  • Wash hands often with plain soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • If sinks are not available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol. Young children must be supervised when alcohol-based hand sanitizer is used.
  • Hand sanitizer is available at every entrance to the buildings, in each office and classroom as well as the Dining Hall.
  • If hands are visibly soiled, alcohol-based hand rub may not be effective in eliminating respiratory viruses. Soap and water are preferred when hands are visibly dirty.
  • Cough or sneeze into a tissue or the bend of the arm, not the hand.
  • Dispose of any used tissues in a lined wastebasket and wash hands afterwards.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands
Wash your hands

Hand Washing and Hand Sanitizing

When students should perform hand hygiene

  • When they arrive at school and before they go home
  • Before and after any breaks (e.g. recess, lunch)
  • Between different learning environments (e.g. outdoor-indoor transitions, from the gym to classroom)
  • Before and after eating and drinking
  • After using the toilet
  • After handling common resources, equipment or supplies
  • After sneezing or coughing into tissue
  • Whenever hands are visibly dirty
  • Upon exiting and entering the classroom

When staff should perform hand hygiene

  • When they arrive at school and before they go home
  • Before and after any breaks (e.g. recess, lunch)
  • Between different learning environments (e.g. outdoor-indoor transitions, from the gym to classroom)
  • Before and after eating and drinking
  • Before and after handling foods or assisting students with food
  • After using the toilet
  • After contact with body fluids (e.g. runny nose, spit, vomit, blood etc.)
  • After cleaning tasks
  • After removing gloves
  • After handling garbage
  • Whenever hands are visibly dirty
  • Upon entering and exiting a room


Students, parents, visitors, contractors, faculty and staff must stay away from school if they are experiencing COVID-19 type symptoms or if they have had exposure to somebody who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 as guided by York Region Public Health. Faculty and staff should reference Pickering College Sick Leave Policy – see Staff Handbook. Any questions should be directed to the Director of Human Resources (humanresources@pickeringcollege.on.ca).

Anyone experiencing COVID-19 like symptoms must stay home, stay away from others, be assessed by their health care provider and review their need for COVID-19 testing using the COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool provided by the Government of Ontario.

Anyone with a temperature over 37.8C should not be at school/work. Anyone with a temperature of 37.8C or higher and/or COVID-19 like symptoms will be sent home/isolated.



  • All employees must complete a daily health screening using the REACH app prior to the start of their shift – information is reviewed by the Health Centre staff and Human Resources
  • All employees must monitor their health throughout the school day
  • Should an employee become sick during the workday, they must immediately cover their mouth and nose with a mask, isolate themselves from others by going to the Health Centre, advise their Director or immediate supervisor AND Human Resources. Employees should make sure that the School has, on file, a designated emergency contact that can pick them up if they cannot drive. Staff will not be permitted to leave the isolation of the Health Centre until they can be picked up and they must leave campus directly.
  • Employees with underlying medical conditions with symptoms similar to COVID-19 (allergies etc.) must get a physician’s note to indicate that they are COVID-19 negative before returning to work.
  • Health Centre staff will notify Facility Services (Custodian on Duty) to arrange for immediate cleaning of any affected classrooms, dorm rooms, offices etc.
  • Health Centre staff will contact York Region Public Health to report any confirmed COVID-19 cases.
  • Faculty or staff who are unable to come into the school because they are ill or self-quarantining should contact their director/supervisor and the Human Resources Manager to discuss their options while they remain away from the workplace.



  • Students will have a daily health screening completed via the REACH app each morning before coming to school – Parents will complete it for day students and boarding students will complete it after their morning assessment by Associate Faculty – information provided is reviewed by the Health Centre Staff. REACH Student Life Mobile App User Guide
  • Students will be observed throughout the day for symptoms by staff
  • Students displaying or reporting any COVID-19 symptoms will be provided with a mask to put on immediately and directed to the Health Centre (Health Centre staff should be notified via phone 905-955-3652) – An initial phone assessment will be conducted by the nurse
  • Students with COVID-19 symptoms will be kept isolated under the supervision of a member of the Health Centre team
  • Health Centre staff will contact parents to arrange immediate pick up of the student (day students). If the student is a boarding student, the Director of Boarding and Health Services will be contacted, and the student will be isolated in one of the bedrooms in the Health Centre until a parent/custodian can be reached to pick up – within 24 hours. Health Centre staff will notify the Custodian On Duty Phone when there is a student with a potential case of COVID-19 to determine where immediate additional cleaning is required.
  • Health Centre staff will review the COVID-19 Assessment and determine if a COVID-19 test needs to be done as per the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and the Health Centre Medical Directive.
  • Students with health underlying medical conditions that have symptoms that resemble COVID-19 must get a physician’s note stating that they are COVID negative before returning to school.
  • Any staff supervising symptomatic students must use strict hand washing techniques and wear a gown, gloves, a medical mask and face shield when providing care.
  • Health Centre staff will disinfect any touch points in the Health Centre while the student is present.
  • Health Centre staff will advise the Custodian on Duty when the student has left the isolation area (bedroom) and intensive cleaning procedures will be followed.

If there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 (either reported to attendance or the Health Centre) the Health Centre staff will report it to York Region Public Health by completing the Diseases of Public Health Significance (Reportable Diseases) Notification Form – External and faxing it to 905-898-5213. Public Health will provide significant guidance on next steps. They will need to do a thorough contact tracing. This is where it will be important to know the attendance for the days in question and exactly who is the in same cohort. Fully vaccinated individuals may have different instructions from Public Health. Close contacts will likely be advised to stay home and self-monitor for 14 days. Students will participate in Remote Learning (see Remote Learning Policy). The affected class(es) will be closed and then thoroughly cleaned and disinfected before they can be used again. This is another reason why it is important that classrooms have as little in them as possible. Pickering College will work closely with York Region Public Health. Factors for consideration will include closeness and extent of contact, and severity of symptoms, which will determine how YRPH manages any cases. Public Health will monitor the cases and will advise if it is a cohort, a division or the whole school that is affected. YRPH will determine if a class/school or part of the school would need to close. This information will be communicated home with direction from YRPH via the Emergency Response Team and Communications Department.

Pickering College will assist York Region Public Health in contact tracing by providing all necessary information including, but not limited to:

  • Before and After Care Attendance
  • Daily attendance
  • Cohort groups
  • Class lists
  • Classroom seating plans
  • Dining Hall Seating Plans (Senior School)
  • Transportation schedule and bus seating plans
  • Health Centre Attendance
  • Health Centre visits for the preceding 48 hours
  • Visitor log including contact information
  • Contractor log including contact information
  • Staff attendance – Admin staff sign in and out log
  • Faculty schedules
  • Facilities services cleaning schedules/logs
  • Required contact information

Disinfecting of areas recently used by the affected individual will be initiated.

Following recovery from COVID-19 students, faculty or staff may only return to school when they are symptom free (without the use of any medication), have tested negative or after a minimum of 10 days have passed since they became ill, and have received written clearance from their primary health care practitioner. If a student, faculty or staff member is assessed by their family physician or nurse practitioner and it is determined that they do NOT have COVID-19, they should notify their Director/Supervisor and Human Resources Manager and may return 48 hours after their symptoms have resolved without the use of medication.

Privacy Areas (Isolation)

The main Health Centre area has been designated as the Isolation area where sick students and staff will be kept until they can be picked up or go home.

This will also be where sick boarding students stay if they present with COVID-19 like symptoms if they are unable to go home or to a Custodian.

If additional boarding rooms are needed, male students will be moved out of the third floor of New House and female students out of the South West Wing of Firth House and those rooms will be used for boarding students who have COVID-19 like symptoms.


Mental Health and Well-Being

The mental health and well-being of our community is a priority. We recognize that the COVID-19 pandemic has been stressful on society and on members of our community. We are committed to supporting members of our community.

  • Students have access to guidance and Health Services (school counsellor and nurses) to address any concerns they may be having.
  • Faculty and staff are reminded that they have access to the Employee Assistance Program – LifeWorks and can be accessed at www.lifeworks.com

This year students, faculty and staff are also facing extraordinary circumstances relating to the pandemic and infection control and prevention measures. To support the Pickering College, staff and community in addressing stress related to back-to-school plans, Children’s Mental Health Ontario (CMHO) developed a suite of evidence reviews, resources and tools. Back-to-school Mental Health Kit.

The Canadian Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health has excellent resources to help children during this time.

School Mental Health Ontario has resources for Educators, Parents and Families and Students.
Supporting Mentally Healthy Conversations About Anti-Black Racism with Students.