Infection Prevention and Control
School Guidance documents:
ETFO COVID Resources:
Tip Sheet for Members
To help you better understand your health and safety rights in the workplace and the responsibilities of the employer, review our new tip sheet. Click to see the second page and download for future reference.
Websites to reference:
COVID-19 Updates Related to Schools
School boards and principals are required by the Occupational Health and Safety Act to “take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker”. This means that they may need to take precautions beyond what is outlined by the government’s guidelines for reopening schools or the guidance from public health authorities. This website is intended to help you gather updated information from reliable sources to advocate for the rights you are provided in legislation, with the assistance of your local ETFO leaders and Joint Health and Safety Committees if necessary.
ETFO will continue to represent members at provincial and local tables to address health and safety concerns. Members and parents are invited to join lobbying efforts for a safe reopening of schools at www.buildingbetterschools.ca
ETFO will continue to monitor this evolving situation and, as events unfold, will update this website with information related to the reopening of schools. The links along the left side will direct you to the most useful websites for more information. The list below includes links to useful documents on a variety of specific topics as well as a tip sheet outlining Your Rights and Your Employer’s Duties.
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
Masks and PPE
- Mask use for non-healthcare workers
- When and how to wear a mask (general public)
- How to safely use a non-medical mask or face covering
- Recommended Steps: Putting On and Taking Off PPE
- Authorized medical devices for uses related to COVID-19
- Hand Hygiene (How to Wash Your Hands/Use Hand Sanitizer)
- Respiratory Hygiene
- WHSC: Laundering Workwear
Cleaning and Disinfection
- Cleaning and Disinfection for Public Settings
- COVID-19 Cleaning and Disinfecting
- Recall of Certain Hand Sanitizers
- Hard-surface disinfectants and hand sanitizers (COVID-19)
- Guidance from the Environmental Protection Agency
- WHSC: Cleaning and Disinfecting
- WHSC: Understanding your right to know: WHMIS
Self-Isolation and Self-Monitoring
- Ontario’s COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool
- How to Self-Monitor
- How to Self-Isolate
- Self-isolation: Guide for caregivers, household members and close contacts
- You were tested for COVID-19: What you should know
Subject Association Guidance
- Ontario Music Educators’ Association (OMEA)
- Physical & Health Education (PHE) Canada
- Ontario Physical and Health Education Association (OPHEA)
- Ontario Art Education Association
- Council of Outdoor Educators of Ontario
- OHCOW: Ventilation Checklist (COVID-19)
- ASHRAE: Reopening of Schools and Universities
- WHSC: Enhanced Ventilation
- Ministry of Education: Optimizing Air Quality in Schools
- FAQ COVID-19: Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Systems in Buildings
- WHSC: Confronting COVID-19: Conducting effective Workplace Inspections
- CUPE: General Health and Safety System Checklist: COVID-19
- CHECKLIST COVID-19 Preparedness and Prevention in Elementary and Secondary (K-12) Schools
- PSHSA: Risk Assessment for Schools
Workplace Illness, Exposure and Accommodations Info from Prevention Link
Information from Fire Marshall
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!