Infection Prevention and Control

coronavirus subtopics

Other ETFO COVID Resources: 

Websites to reference: 

School Guidance documents: 

General Guidance: 

Other Information: 

COVID-19 Update Related to School Closures

The provincial government has extended the school closure order until the beginning of September.

On June 19, the Ontario government released their “Approach to reopening schools for the 2020-2021 school year”. 

“The government will be requesting guidance from public health or public health units by early August in order to confirm the type of delivery appropriate for the beginning of the school year.”

“We have asked school boards to be prepared with their plan for the upcoming school year by August 4, should it be needed.”

According to Ministry of Education guidelines, each board will be given clarification and direction by mid-August.

ETFO will continue to represent members at provincial and local tables where these plans are being discussed. 

Currently, school boards have protocols in place for the retrieval of belongings for staff and students.  ETFO continues to maintain that entering the workplace at this time is voluntary for ETFO members.

When schools do reopen, precautions will need to be taken by school boards for the protection of staff and students. We will continue to monitor this evolving situation and, as events unfold, will update this website with information related to the reopening of schools.

ETFO will also continue to communicate information through the COVID-19-FAQ newsletter.  Members who are not receiving ETFO communications can update their information by filling out the form located at this link: www.etfo.ca/link/subscribe 

Protection from the Coronavirus and Influenza

School boards take direction from local public health services on what steps to take to protect staff and students from new and emerging viruses, like COVID-19 and influenza outbreaks. 

Advice from public health may vary and change as the situation evolves locally and provincially. Check your school board’s internal communications for recent updates from Public Health which may speak to how public health your school board will be advised on such things as whether to self-quarantine and if additional cleaning protocols are necessary.

To prevent transmission, school boards should be providing reminders on practicing proper hygiene techniques, staying home from work if you are sick, and ensuring soap and paper towels are available at sinks for handwashing.


If you have concerns related to your school board’s response to COVID-19 and influenza, speak to your principal and, if your concerns persist, contact your local ETFO health and safety representative or office. 

A hot house for infection

Avoiding contact with people who carry infection can be a real challenge in an elementary school.  Routine practices are essential for preventing and controlling infection. For example:

  • Hand hygiene that includes washing at a sink with soap and paper towels and access to hand sanitizers
  • Protective gloves – and the training for proper use – for staff who could come into contact with blood or body fluids
  • Cough and sneeze etiquette such as the use and disposal of paper tissue; coughing or sneezing into the elbow
  • Adequate custodial staffing and  procedures to properly clean high touch surfaces including washrooms, door knobs and shared equipment

In addition, people who are too sick to be at school should stay at home until they are well again.  Report any concerns about infection prevention and control to your principal.  It’s the  principal’s job to investigate and deal with your report. Tell your steward and your health and safety representative about your concerns.  Get in touch with your ETFO local for more support. Infection prevention and control can help to reduce sick days!

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