APS PPE Guidelines
Personal protective equipment (PPE)is used to minimize the exposure from workplace hazards that can cause illness of injury. There are various types of PPE that can be used in the school setting, however, equipment should be used only when required.
All equipment must be cleaned/changed/disposed of safely to maximize protection and durability and all staff must be trained in the use and care of the equipment.
Points to consider:
- When it is necessary
- What kind is necessary
- How to properly put it on, adjust, wear and take it off
- The limitations of the equipment
- Proper care, maintenance, useful life, and disposal of the equipment
Despite use of any PPE, hand-washing is still the most important protective measure individuals can take to protect from disease transmission. All individuals must be reminded of the correct hand-washing technique and protocols.
Hand sanitizer will not remove visible dirt. Washing hands with soap and water is necessary as soon as possible. Sanitizer may be used if soap and water are not available, but washing hands with soap and water is necessary as soon as possible.
Gloves should be used when handling soiled materials or if there is any chance of hand contamination with bodily fluids. Hands must be washed with soap and water following removal of gloves.
Masks or cloth face coverings, with the exception of specific medical needs and specific student populations, masks are required for students in all grades and must be worn throughout the school day.
- All parents are to provide 2 masks per day so that students will have a back-up in case of damage or loss.
- Cloth masks may be worn and should be at least 2-ply, preferably 3-ply thickness. Fleece-like neck warmers may be worn as an alternative but scarves and bandannas are not acceptable alternatives.
- Teachers will incorporate training throughout the school day with scheduled mask breaks.
- All students are required to wear masks if accessing school transportation.
- Parents must notify the teacher/nurse if their child is unable to wear a mask in school. We will discuss individual circumstances to identify appropriate forms of protection as necessary.
- Masks with a clear plastic window are recommended for all staff who are working with students who are hard of hearing or when instruction requires the student to read visible cues from the lips/mouth, i.e. Speech therapy, ELL, LIPS program.
- N95 masks are to be worn by nurses when caring for staff and students in the designated isolation room.
- When feasible, mask breaks should be allowed for staff and students, at least twice a day. Mask breaks should be outdoors and when practising at least 6 feet of social distancing.
Gowns should be worn when there is a risk of soiling on personal clothing related to bodily fluids. New gowns must be worn for each incident – the same gown must not be worn when managing multiple students. Gowns must also be worn by nursing or custodial staff when caring for individuals or cleaning in the isolation room.
Shields should be worn when there is a risk of spraying of secretions, splashing, spitting, uncontrollable touching of the face by a particular student or when caring for a student with uncontrollable coughing.
All visitors to school buildings must wear a mask at all times and use sanitizer when entering the building. All visitors must report to the main office. If picking up a sick child, there should be minimal contact with school staff and departure from the school building should be hastened via the shortest route to the exit. If feasible, the child should be dismissed at the door without the visitor entering the building. Visitors entering the buildings should be limited as much as possible.
- Visible signage must be placed at all building entrances indicating need for masks or facial covering, social distancing requirements and hand-washing/sanitization.
- Hand sanitizer should be available for use on entry to the building and for visitor use.
Preschool and Intensive Needs programs will need to have Gowns, gloves, masks, goggles and shields conveniently placed in close proximity to classrooms and bathrooms due to the elevated risk of cross contamination in daily activities.
Specialists such as Speech Therapists may require plexiglass divisions, as well as psychologists, who may be spending several hours in close proximity with students. Masks should be worn even with a plexiglass barrier in place. Removing masks behind a plexiglass barrier should be minimized as much as possible.
Masks and gloves will be provided to each school office as a back-up for lost/damaged items worn by staff and students.