How To Stay Safe Attending School In-Person

How To Stay Safe Attending School In-Person

How To Stay Safe Attending School In-Person

  • On September 16, 2021

Schools across the country are opening their doors for students and teachers to return to in-person learning. While this is a step towards normalcy and an opportunity to improve the education students are able to receive, there still remains a significant risk of spreading and contracting the virus.

This school year will be different than previous years affected by the global pandemic as school boards attempt to create a normal, yet safe learning environment for staff and students. Extra precautions and education regarding cleaning, disinfection, and hygiene must be taken seriously in an attempt to prevent health risks. 

While school boards have varying back-to-school plans for operations, this blog will serve as a general guideline of safety and cleanliness protocols that should always be followed. The Ontario health, safety, and operational guidelines for schools (2021-2022) states that school boards and schools are expected to employ multiple protective strategies and layering of controls to support a healthier and safer environment for students and staff. To learn more detail about Ontario’s guidelines for schools, visit Ontario’s provincial website.

 

Hand Hygiene and Respiratory Etiquette 

The most important aspect that schools should focus on is the education, towards both staff and students, of proper hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette. 

Hand hygiene should be practiced by anyone entering the school. Hand washing should be incorporated into the daily routine of students, scheduled at regular intervals during the day, above and beyond what is usually recommended. Using soap and water is the most effective method to achieve proper hand hygiene, but if not available, hand sanitizer with an alcohol concentration of at least 60% can also be used. To learn more about proper hand hygiene, read our blog The 101 On Proper Hand Hygiene. This blog even includes a simple graphic of the steps to achieve proper hand hygiene that can be printed and placed nearby sinks to further remind students. 

Respiratory etiquette may include the use of a mask or face covering depending on your schools guidelines for mask use. Staff and students should be reminded to cover their mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. To avoid contact points, no-touch waste baskets should be provided. 

Staff and students should be provided with the supplies they need to conduct appropriate hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette. 

 

Cleaning and Disinfection

To keep the health and safety of staff and students as a top priority, it is imperative that schools prepare and ensure they have the right supply of back to school necessities. School boards should have a program developed for the cleaning and disinfection of schools. To do so, they should review their cleaning procedures and ensure that they meet the current health requirements.

As a parent, student, or school staff, you should review your school’s specific cleaning program. Along with ensuring that you’re comfortable with your school’s cleaning program, you should also take personal precautions. 

One thing that you can be cautious of is high touch surfaces. High touch surfaces are to be disinfected at least 2 times daily. Depending on the frequency and use of extent, school boards are required to adjust their cleaning intervals. After touching a high touch surface, you should always wash your hands with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer. 

High touch surfaces include but are not limited to:

  • Washrooms (faucets, toilet fixtures, handles)
  • Eating areas (tables, sinks, countertops)
  • Door Knobs or handrails 
  • Light switches
  • Desks
  • Phones, keyboards, computers, photocopiers
  • Sports equipment
  • Any shared materials (e.g toys, books, art supplies)

For more information on cleaning and disinfection protocols in public settings, refer to Public Health Ontarios Environmental Cleaning Fact Sheet.

For a list of COVID-19 approved products, refer to Health Canadas Hard Surface Disinfectants and Hand Sanitizers

Roxton Disinfecting Wipes are approved by Health Canada to be effective against the human coronavirus – the virus that causes COVID-19. We carry a range of wipe purchasing options, from small canisters to bulk options – we fit the disinfection needs of individual and industrial uses alike.

As a market leader in the disinfecting industry, we truly believe in the power of keeping high touch surfaces disinfected at all times, choosing the correct disinfecting products, and promoting a safer environment for everyone in our communities.

 

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