Preparing for September: The new safety protocols at a Kitchener public school
KITCHENER -- When students return to school in September there will be new protocols in place to keep everyone safe.
CTV News got a tour of the new setup at Groh Public School in Kitchener.
The school, for students in junior kindergarten to Grade 8, says students will meet with their teacher outside the building before the school bell rings. There will be staggered entry, with each class entering the building separately. Each student must also use hand sanitizers before entering the school.
Signage has been placed in hallways dividing them for two-way traffic, while stairwells are now one-way.
“Some of our students and staff may choose to do outdoor learning first so that different classes come in at different times,” says Laura Griffin, the principal at Groh Public School.
The Waterloo Region District School Board says staff will provided with personal protective equipment, while each student will receive five face masks.
Desks have also been spaced a meter apart.
In primary grades, individual play areas have been set up with markers, like a hoola hoop, to promote physical distancing. Those rules will also be enforced when student are outside.
“When the students arrive, each of them will have a designated area that they come to,” says Griffin. “It’s not just free play in the yards.”
Griffin says that if a child displays COVID-19 symptoms, the student will be brought to a waiting room where they will be isolated from others.
“After that we would have the students move to another learning area and we would make sure the classroom is cleaned and disinfected.”
The school board is also hiring 80 additional custodians.
“To help support the system needs, to make sure we have got healthy and safe environments for students,” says facility manager Kelly Paris.
The school board also says they have a new cleaning and disinfecting routine.
“We just got another shipment of 20 units, so it’s a misting machine with a disinfectant chemical,” says Paris. “It doesn’t take the place of cleaning. Our cleaning still takes place, then we would spray that onto non-porous surfaces.”
As for the number of students attending this September, Griffin says 550 out of around 850 students are opting for in-classroom learning. But she says that parents will have the option of changing their decision at the end of October.