August 28, 2020 -- Regina Public Schools is implementing a three-part strategy to reduce the risk of COVID-19, as well as other viruses, including colds and flu, as students return to school and the colder fall and winter weather sets in. The strategy focuses on face masks, cleaning and increased, filtered ventilation.
The first part of this strategy will include the use of face masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE), as required for staff and students. Cloth face masks will be required for all Grades 4-12 students and recommended for students in the younger grades. All students being transported will be required to wear masks. While exemptions are possible, the objective of the mask wearing is to keep everyone safe in schools. Compliance will be appreciated. Guests to school division buildings will be limited and will also have to wear face masks. Students who do not have or forget their face masks will be able to obtain one from their school.
All schools and school division buildings have ramped up their cleaning protocols. Facilities staff will be using new equipment to disinfect all surfaces. The equipment, which looks very much like a paint sprayer, will be used to dispense a fine mist over all surfaces. The product is called Vital Oxide, which kills viruses, including the coronavirus. Vital Oxide is safe to use around children and adults. It is non-toxic and not considered hazardous by OSHA Hazard Communication Standard 2012. Facilities staff have developed a disinfecting schedule for all school rooms, including high-use areas such as bathrooms. The disinfecting protocols will be in addition to the traditional routine of dusting and cleaning that is done at every school, every day.
Every classroom will have spray bottles with cleaners to spot clean as necessary, and school facility staff will always be on hand to complete more thorough cleaning of classrooms and other areas as needed
Students, staff and guests, upon entering every building, will also be asked to use hand sanitizer that will be at every school entrance and throughout school buildings. Frequent hand washing will also be recommended to all students.
Increased, Filtered Ventilation
Clean, fresh air has never been more important in all Regina Public schools. Beginning immediately, the fresh air intake in all schools and buildings has been increased to beyond industry standards to enhance ventilation and the flow of fresh air. Staff working in classrooms and offices with windows that open may open their windows. Staff considering opening their windows will continue to be mindful that some students and staff may suffer from seasonal allergies and other respiratory conditions worsened by outdoor air.
Regina Public Schools is investing in new purification systems for every school and building. By the end of September, new filter technology will be added to ventilation systems to complement the increased air flow. The filter technology is called bipolar ionization. It will:
- Reduce particles and smoke in the air
- Kill pathogens (bacteria, viruses, molds) including human influenza viruses, coronavirus and SARS
- Help control allergens and asthma
Regina Public Schools’ three-part strategy is a long-term investment in the health and safety of students and staff. Schools’ localized strategies, including limiting the size of gatherings, keeping student cohorts together and limiting some activities and practices that could potentially spread the virus are the foundation of learning safely. Mask use, enhanced cleaning and increased, filtered ventilation will complement school- based safety strategies. All health and safety practices at Regina Public Schools are guided by direction from the Government of Saskatchewan and local and provincial public health authorities. Practices and procedures are subject to change according to school based experiences and government direction.