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Limited Use of School Facilities

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Limited Use of School Facilities

While the suspension of in-class learning continues and schools remain closed to the public, Public Health has advised that limited access to school facilities is permitted. Guidelines outlined in Phase One of Restoring Safe Services: Manitoba’s Pandemic and Economic Roadmap for Recovery, effective May 4, 2020, are to be followed.

School divisions and schools should make decisions around the use of school facilities based on local needs, school preparedness, and adequate staffing levels, while ensuring these guidelines can be followed (as well as the guidelines in the COVID-19 Day Camp and Daily Recreation Program Practice Guide, which is currently under development). In some situations, the government of Manitoba COVID-19 support document Workplace Guidance for Business Owners () may also be useful.


Infection Prevention Measures

  • The maximum number of children permitted per site is 16, except in situations where
    • groups of 16 can be completely segregated, including in the use of separate exits
    • staggered drop-off schedules are established
    • there is no contact throughout the day with other groups
  • Screening must occur at the start of each day.
    • Post the workplace screening poster () at the entrance(s).
    • A more detailed online screening tool is also available.
    • On-site temperature checking is not required.
    • Anyone with symptoms (e.g., staff, volunteers, and participants) will not be allowed to attend.
    • Appropriate accessibility and accommodations should be in place to ensure that all students can be screened and be meaningfully informed of new procedures.
    • If an attendee—including staff, volunteers, and participants—or a member of their household is being investigated by Public Health for COVID-19 infection, they should not attend. Regional Public Health officials will provide direction to attendees.
  • If an attendee develops symptoms while at the school, they should be isolated in a predetermined isolation space. Where a separate room is not available, they should be kept at least two metres away from others.
  • If the attendee is a child, their parent/caregiver should be notified to come and pick them up immediately.
  • Maintain physical distance of at least two metres to the greatest extent possible, except for brief exchanges and when providing or receiving service.
  • Install signage outlining physical distancing protocols and floor markings where any lines may form, both inside and outside the facility.
  • Prominently display signs and posters highlighting the importance of hand hygiene, physical distancing, and staying home when sick. The following websites have posters that can be printed and used:
  • Encourage hand hygiene and make hand sanitizer available at all building access points.
    • Staff, volunteers, and participants should frequently wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds at the following times:
      • at the start of the day and before going home
      • after going to the washroom
      • before preparing food
      • before eating
      • after getting hands dirty
      • after wiping noses or handling dirty tissues
      • after coughing, sneezing, or blowing nose
      • after cleaning tasks (staff)
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Shared/Common Spaces

Schools and school divisions should review the following guidelines before opening shared/ common spaces:

  • Monitor access to the facility to avoid congestion. Establish a separate entrance to the facility, or stagger hours for each limited purpose where possible.
  • Ensure that groups of more than 16 do not occupy a shared space at any given time.
  • Ensure washrooms and lunchrooms are sanitized frequently, and monitor them to ensure appropriate physical distancing.
  • Encourage outdoor activities. Outdoor spaces and playground structures can be used.
  • Limit travel within the school throughout the day.
  • Avoid sharing items to the greatest extent possible. Reinforce among children that sharing food or water bottles is not allowed.
  • Ideally, parents/caregivers provide their own food for their child. If this is not possible, ensure that all staff and students follow good hand hygiene, that no family-style meal service is offered, and that shared food containers are not used (e.g., shared pitchers of water, milk, and salt and pepper shakers).
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Options for Consideration

Schools should ensure adherence to the most up-to-date Public Health orders and recommendations whenever school facilities are being accessed. School administrators may consider the following options for school use:

  • Childcare centres located in schools or on school property in all school divisions are able to stay open or reopen to provide temporary childcare services in accordance with all existing Public Health and program guidelines.
  • Teacher/student meetings in small-group or one-on-one settings can conduct student assessments, clinical supports, and therapeutic services, following the guidelines for therapeutic or health-care businesses, as described in Phase One of Restoring Safe Services: Manitoba’s Pandemic and Economic Roadmap for Recovery.
  • Day camps and summer programming can operate within school facilities, provided that the guidelines for day camps are followed, as described in Phase One of Restoring Safe Services: Manitoba’s Pandemic and Economic Roadmap for Recovery. (Note: Manitoba Education is currently developing the support document COVID-19 Day Camp and Daily Recreation Program Practice Guide.)
  • Access to Wi-Fi and/or computer equipment may be considered for students to connect with teachers and to complete learning activities.
  • Counselling access and emergency phone access can be provided for students to receive essential counselling services. This may include meeting with an in-school counsellor from a single controlled access point, accessing services such as Kids Help Phone or mental health support, and connecting with Child and Family Services.
  • Outdoor classrooms and playground use: Outdoor activities are encouraged. Public Health has indicated that the risk of transmission is very low for outdoor playground equipment and there is no requirement to clean the structures.
  • Community library access can be considered, following the guidelines described in Phase One of Restoring Safe Services: Manitoba’s Pandemic and Economic Roadmap for Recovery.
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