Information for Educators
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As educators, you play a key role in helping students adapt to the new norms in our school systems. To support you in this important role, this site contains resources to keep your students healthy and safe while they learn.
Supporting a Student with Symptoms
View the flowchart below on what to do if a child has symptom of COVID-19
What to do if Your Child has Symptoms
Safe Return to School
NEW SAFETY CHANGES! As schools prepare to reopen, there are a few key changes educators should be aware of:
- Masking for Grades 1-12 indoors (mandatory masking extended to include students in Grades 1 – 3)
- Masking for students outdoors during recess when physical distancing is not possible
- Showing proof of online school assessment before entering the school. This is for staff, and for students in secondary schools.
You can also access our Safe Return to School Toolkit (September, 2020) for additional safety information. It includes recommendations on infection control procedures, environmental cleaning and disinfecting procedures, masking, student transportation, guidelines for third party food vendors (e.g., student nutrition programs), and helpful resources and signage to use in schools.
In addition to the Safe Return to School Toolkit, the following supplementary documents are available to support school staff.
- Indoor Physical Education Classes - FR
- Team Sports in Schools - FR
- Safe Fundraising Recommendations - FR
Resources for Teachers
Access our Educator’s Website for access to information on a variety of healthy living topics including curriculum supports for at-home learning.
A new section has been added which links to specific resources that meet the curriculum links for each grade.
Provides information and resources including online courses and training opportunities.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for accessible versions of our resources.
Each year, our Handwashing Toolkit is in high demand. Our new downloadable version helps you teach your students that washing your hands properly can help stop the spread of germs,
Video on hand washing for kids:
In addition to physical education classes and recess, schools can promote and encourage physical activity within the classroom to get students moving regularly throughout the school day.
How much physical activity do my students need?
The Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines recommend that:
- Preschoolers - 3-4 years of age spend 180 minutes of physical activity throughout the day, with at least 60 minutes being energetic play.
- Youth - 5-17 years of age spend 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic physical activity, with 3 days a week on muscle strengthening activities.
What can I do to get my students active in the classroom?
To get students moving during class time, try to:
- Ask students what physical activities they would like to learn and try. Being physically active can look different for all students. Based on feedback from the class, incorporate these activities throughout the year and within your lesson plans (e.g. dance, games, and outdoor activities).
- Take active breaks throughout the school day. Have a student lead an activity of their choice (e.g. jumping jacks, running on the spot, stretching) to encourage their participation and imagination.
- Take classes outside to get the class moving while learning. Outside classrooms are also a great environment for physical distancing while learning and being active.
How can COVID-19 protocols affect students’ mental health?
COVID-19 protocols have changed the school environment, which may leave students feeling confused, disappointed, or more stressed. Cohorting may cause students to be separated from their friends, leading to feelings of loneliness. The cancellation of extracurricular activities and physical distancing protocols can limit social interactions between peers. Virtual learning can further student’s feelings of isolation and loneliness.
How can we support students during COVID-19
To help support students' mental health and reduce stress related to cohorting, educators should:
- Help students to understand the “why” behind these changes. Teach students that all of these steps are being taken to keep everyone safe and healthy.
- Teach and reinforce healthy coping mechanisms, stress management, and resiliency in the school environment. Encourage a healthy outlet to release stress (such as taking time out of the day to practice deep breathing, meditation and other relaxing activities).
- Reinforce the benefits of socialization for healthy mental development within your lesson plans. Teach students how to develop and maintain heathy relationships throughout this time, and how to manage their emotions with problem solving and conflict resolution.
- Keep this ONE-CALL Desk Reference at your side to refer to as a step-by-step approach to helping students who are exhibiting problems with their mental well-being. This also provides important information for noticing and observing commons signs of a mental health problem in students.
- Get to know the supports available through your school and board, or through other community services such as Kid’s Help Phone and Teen Health, to better support your students and families in accessing help.
For more information on supporting your students’’ mental health as they return to school, visit School Mental Health Ontario.
Spending more time at home has made it easy for families to fall out of their regular routines. This could mean more screen time, increased snacking, and reduced physical activity amongst children and youth.
Canada’s Food Guide emphasizes the importance of mindful eating. This is especially critical for students as they adjust to a new learning environment.
How can we promote mindful eating habits to students?
Support students to create a healthy eating environment by:
- Review Canada’s Food Guide’s healthy eating recommendations. Plan activities that teach students about the art of mindful eating, and how it can become a sensory experience, such as this activity.
- Stress can cause an increase in mindless eating for some. Discuss with students how stress can impact our eating habits - this is completely normal. Instead encourage students to develop healthy ways to deal with stress.
- While in the classroom, avoid using food as a reward for good behaviour or academic performance. This can have negative consequences, such as interfering with hunger and satiety cues.
Keeping students and bus operators healthy and safe is a priority.
For more information regarding enhanced school bus operations and COVID-19 protocols for students who ride the bus, please visit http://www.buskids.ca
Loading/Unloading Zones and Bus Stops Considerations
It is important to consider the following safety aspects:
- Determine the physical space of the loading and unloading zones to ensure there is enough room for physical distancing of 2 metres (6 feet).
- The pick-up and drop-off of students at school should be staggered where possible, to avoid congestion at the school entrance.
- Staff monitor the unloading and loading of busses to ensure students maintain physical distance.
- Place makers on the ground to maintain physical distancing between students while waiting to load the bus, and while waiting to enter the school.
- If feasible, parents and caregivers should remain with younger children at their bus stop to help maintain physical distancing. Wearing of masks at bus stops by parents, caregivers, and children is encouraged if physical distancing is difficult to maintain.
- For students waiting to be picked up by car, ensure there is a designated area large enough to accommodate physical distancing of students while awaiting pick up.
- For students being dropped off by car, parents and caregivers should remain in their vehicle and not enter the building with their child. If they need to leave their car, masks or face coverings must be worn.
Alternate modes of transportation, such as active transportation, should be encouraged when possible. This includes walking or wheeling (using a bike, scooter, wheelchair, or skateboard). It is also a great solution for families who do not have an alternative to driving their children to school, or for those who do not feel comfortable having their children use board provided or public transportation at this time.
When encouraging and promoting active transportation, ensure that:
- Parents and caregivers are aware of safe routes to school in their area.
- Safety considerations are communicated to families to share with children (e.g., crossing safely at pedestrian crossovers, crossing safely at traffic lights).
- Components of the school travel planning toolkit are reviewed and implemented as feasible.
- End-of-trip facilities are considered at schools and provided as needed. This includes bike racks, or secure areas for storing student’s active transportation property.