health and safetyEnsuring a Safe and Health Learning Environment

We are building the foundation for a safe and healthy school environment, based on the very best advice of public health officials.

You can’t build a foundation using one brick and you can’t build a strong foundation all by yourself. Imagine each measure of enhanced health and safety as a brick. We need to work together to put all of these bricks in place in order to ensure the safest possible school environment for our students and staff.

What are schools doing?

All staff and students will complete the COVID-19 School Screening checklist every day before attending school or work. 

Flow of Traffic/Signage to Facilitate Physical Distancing
One-way use of hallways, adjustments to recess and lunch breaks, changes to entrance and exit practices, adjustments to the use of playgrounds.

Signage posted throughout the school to reinforce physical distancing, hallway direction, hand hygiene, room capacity, etc. 

Hand Hygiene
Hand sanitizer stations in every class and in selected common areas. Students will be directed to wash their hands at appropriate times during the school day. Students and staff are permitted to bring their own, scent-free hand sanitizer to school.


Students in Grades 4 to 12 will be required to wear non-medical or cloth masks inside the school, including in hallways and during classes. Students in Kindergarten to Grade 3 will be encouraged, but not required to wear masks in indoor spaces. Students are permitted to wear their own masks that meet public health standards. Staff will be provided with appropriate personal protective equipment.  

Physical Distancing
Physical distancing will be promoted between students and staff. The physical distancing measures will be reinforced through adaptations to the schedule, cohorting of students, flow of traffic and signage. 

Student Cohorts
Students in an elementary and high school  will be cohorted with their classmates and there will be limited contact with other subject teachers. The maximum number of student contacts at the elementary level is 50 and at the secondary level student contacts will be limited to no more than 100 in each quadmester.

Enhanced Cleaning Protocols
Custodial staff will complete ongoing, enhanced cleaning at schools and board office locations, including twice-daily and once in the evening cleaning of desktops, common touch points and washroom facilities. In addition, we are receiving funding from the Ministry to add additional custodial time in our schools. Upgraded filters are being installed in every school.

Following the COVID-19 Protocol for Suspected or Confirmed Cases

All students and staff will be required to follow a protocol (based on the guidance of the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit) when dealing with a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19.

What can families do?

Families play a critical role in supporting health and safety in our school communities. The most important thing families can do to help mitigate the transmission of COVID-19, is to screen their children daily for any COVID-19 symptoms and keep them home from school if they are sick or have had close contact with anyone diagnosed with COVID-19. 

Parents/guardians should also encourage their child to adhere to the health and safety measures put in place by their school including following physical distancing, practicing good hygiene habits, including hand washing, and wearing a mask as appropriate. 

We are asking parents/guardians to support schools by complying with the following:

  • Complete the COVID-19 School Screening  with your child(ren) BEFORE they attend school or take the school bus;

  • Keep your child at home when they feel unwell;

  • Have a plan to pick-up your child(ren) promptly if they develop symptoms;

  • If your child is exhibiting any new or worsening symptoms, keep your child at home until:

    • They receive a negative COVID-19 test result.
    •  They receive an alternative diagnosis by a health care professional, or
    • It has been 10 days since their symptom onset and they are feeling better. 
  • Comply with any order provided by Public Health, if applicable. 

  • If a child is exhibiting symptoms, all household members must also stay at home until the symptomatic household member:

    •  receives a negative COVID-19 test result, or
    •  receives an alternative diagnosis by a health care professional



  • Send your child with a healthy and litterless lunch with snacks - enough for two nutrition breaks

  • Please ensure your child has a pre-filled water bottle

  • Let your child’s teacher and school know about any allergies, or prevalent medical conditions.

What are school buses doing?

At the Bus Stop

  • Students and parents are expected to respect physical distancing of at least 2 metres at bus stop locations. 

On the Bus

  • Students will be assigned seats and are required to sit only in their assigned seating

  • Students will be required to wear a mask if they are in Grade 4 to 12 and are encouraged to wear a mask if they are in Kindergarten to Grade 3. Bus drivers will be provided and will wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).

  • Hand sanitizer and additional face masks will be provided on the bus

Cleaning of Buses

  • Buses will be sanitized twice daily — once in the morning and once in the afternoon. 

  • Cleaning will include the sanitization of handrails, seat tops and backs, windowsills, inside and outside door handles, driver console area.

Capacity of Buses

  • SMCDSB's average bus capacity is typically about 52 students per full size school bus. This year, some families have opted-out of using transportation services and so we expect our buses to be less full than normal. 

  • The number of students transported on a single bus varies by geographic location and is based on a variety of different factors. The Ministry of Education has indicated a maximum capacity of 70 students per bus (we expect capacity to be lower this year)

Please see the additional resources below:
health unit resources