July 1, 2020

Return to Classroom COVID-19 Safety Plan

Effective July 1, 2020

The ORFA is committed to the health and safety of all its members, especially to those returning to the classroom to access ORFA education and training courses. ORFA’s Return to Classroom COVID-19 Safety Plan outlines the steps the ORFA, in partnership with the host facility, and each participant, will follow to mitigate potential risks, issues, and concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic. We remind all participants that personal safety is always an individual commitment that when implemented will help protect other participants and society as a whole.

The COVID-19 pandemic is an evolving situation. ORFA’s Return to Classroom COVID-19 Safety Plan will be reviewed and updated based on the latest information and direction from the Ontario government’s COVID-19 website and from local public health agencies in those locations where ORFA courses will be delivered.

How will the ORFA ensure that all course participants know how to keep themselves safe from exposure to COVID-19?

The ORFA COVID-19 information and updates section provides information and links to the most current information issued by federal, provincial and local public health agencies. Course participants are strongly recommended to review and understand the various COVID-19 guidelines and respective agency updates. See ORFA’s Return to Classroom COVID-19 Safety Plan. It will also be sent to all course participants who have registered to participate in future classroom-based courses scheduled from July 1, 2020 onwards. ORFA course instructors will work closely with the host facility who will be considered the safety lead in each classroom session.

How will the ORFA screen classroom participants for COVID-19?

Prior to Course Start Date
All ORFA members who register for an ORFA classroom-based course will receive electronic notification of ORFA’s Return to Classroom COVID-19 Safety Plan. To complete their course registration, they will be required to read the safety plan and accept its terms and conditions. If the participant declines acceptance, their course registration will be cancelled, and fees refunded.

Day 1 of Course Delivery
On the morning of Day 1 of the scheduled course, prior to admittance into the classroom, each course participant will be required to complete and sign a questionnaire confirming that the participant has not experienced any of the following COVID-19 related symptoms in the previous 14 days:

  • Fever (temperature of 37.8°C or greater)
  • New or worsening cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Muscle aches, fatigue, or headache
  • Sore throat
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Changes to sense of taste or smell
  • Nausea/vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain
  • Runny nose, or nasal congestion (not caused by seasonal allergies)

Further, participants will be asked if they have in the previous 14 days:

  • travelled outside of Ontario or Canada
  • been in close contact with a person (living with, care for, in a relationship with) who has travelled outside Ontario or Canada
  • been in close contact with a person (living with, care for, in a relationship with) who is in isolation, or who has a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19

Any course participant who responds “Yes” to any of the questions will be asked to leave the course location. They will be directed to go home to self-isolate for 14 days, to take the COVID-19 self-assessment or to visit a COVID-19 assessment centre.

The course participant will receive a complete refund of course fees. All questionnaires will be archived by the ORFA.  Course instructors will also provide any updates or specific information regarding the host location or course participation changes.

Day 2 and Consecutive Days of Course Delivery
At the beginning of each instructional day, the ORFA will measure the temperature of each participant through use of a non-touch, forehead (temporal) scanner.

How will the ORFA control the risk of transmission in the classroom?

ORFA courses are known for their networking and social interaction as an important part of the learning experience. This will continue to be encouraged by ORFA instructional team members but in a new and safer format. In cooperation with the host facility, the ORFA will maximize participants’ distance and separation, reduce the potential for transmission from surfaces and objects, and support good hand and respiratory hygiene:

Physical Distancing and Separation
Each course class size will hold up to the maximum number of congregation of persons (total count includes participants and instructors) as permitted by the provincial and local public health agencies.
Each course participant will be situated at a classroom table having a minimum of 2 metres/6 feet distance from other course participants and the course instructor. Each day, the course participant’s movement within the host facility will be strictly limited to direct entry in and exit from the facility’s classroom and assigned washroom locations. As part of the course, no other movement within the facility will be permitted.

Cleaning and Disinfection
The ORFA will review and confirm with the host facility their cleaning, sanitization, and disinfection protocol to include, but not limited to, facility common entry/exit area, elevators, staircase and handrails, classroom tables and chairs, instructional devices, washrooms, and other high touch point areas.  

Hand and Respiratory Hygiene
The ORFA will provide each course participant with access to facial tissues, disinfecting wipes, hand sanitizer, and non-medical masks.  Participants are reminded to follow standard practice to ensure good hand and respiratory hygiene:

  • Frequent and thorough handwashing with soap and water or use of hand sanitizer when hands are not visibly dirty.
  • Coughing or sneezing into your sleeve or elbow and encouraging others to do the same.
  • Washing your hands after handling nose and throat secretions (e.g., after throwing out used facial tissues).
  • Avoid touching your face and clean your hands before touching eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Wear a non-medical mask if you cannot practice physical distancing. NOTE: Masks maybe mandated for wearing indoors as per local public health unit.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces, especially those that are high touch areas.

What will the ORFA do if there is a potential case, or suspected exposure to, COVID-19 in the classroom?

If at any time during the course, the ORFA has reason to believe that there may be a potential case of COVID-19, or suspected exposure to the virus among the course participants, the ORFA course instructor will immediately:

  • Suspend the course.
  • Advise all course participants and host facility representative the reason for the course suspension.
  • Advise all course participants to go home and self-isolate for 14 days.
  • Advise all course participants to take the COVID-19 self-assessment or visit a COVID-19 assessment centre.
  • Report to the local public health department in the municipality where the course was held, the names and contact information of all persons involved in the course for purposes of public health department follow-up and contact tracing.

How will the ORFA manage any new risks caused by changes to the way it operates its classroom-based courses?

The ORFA follows a traditional format of delivering its classroom-based courses using face-to-face instruction to course participants and communication between and among the instructor and course participants is face-to-face. The ORFA has reviewed its classroom-based course instructional format and methods and does not foresee any changes that might cause any new risks within the classroom environment.

How will the ORFA make sure its safety plan for classroom-based course delivery is working?

At the end of each course delivery, the ORFA will invite the course participants for their written evaluation on the course instructor and content. In addition, the ORFA will ask each participant for their comments and suggestions for improvements on ORFA’s Return to Classroom COVID-19 Safety Plan as it pertains to their level of comfort concerning their health and safety experience within the classroom. The ORFA will also follow-up with the host facility to review and address any health and safety concerns and how make improvements moving forward. The ORFA and course instructors will meet post-course to review and action on any concerns or issues.

ORFA Return to Classroom COVID-19 Safety Plan Guidance Sources:
Province of Ontario
Renfrew County and District Health Unit
Durham Region Health Department
Toronto Public Health