CNESST Guide for the School Sector

4 May 2020

The CNESST has just published a guide for the school sector.  It “aims to ensure that activities resume or continue under the safest and healthiest conditions possible in the context of COVID-19.” Unfortunately, there are still some inaccuracies.  We will be asking for clarification of several elements.

The main preventive measures are: exclusion of people with symptoms, distancing, hand washing, respiratory etiquette, and maintenance of hygienic measures for frequently touched materials, tools, equipment and surfaces.   

Exclusion of people with symptoms

In order to prevent contamination, people with symptoms associated with the disease must leave the workplace.  Students must be isolated in a room designated for this purpose and wear a procedural mask.  Only one staff member will take care of an isolated student while waiting for a parent to pick them up.

Posters explaining the symptoms should be placed where staff, parents and children can consult them.

The emergency kit must contain gloves, procedural masks, eye protection, a resealable bag, a gown and a hydroalcoholic solution.

Physical distancing

The 2-meter rule must be respected at all times.  Circulation and interactions should be restricted.

Teleworking is encouraged for administrative staff.  If people have to report to the workplace, partitions must be erected between posts that are too close together and cannot be spaced apart.

Protective gear is not being recommended, but the Premier showed openness at today’s press conference.  We are monitoring the issue.

Staff who are mainly in contact with preschoolers, disabled students or vocational training students engaged in practical activities, performing tasks that absolutely necessitate being within 2 meters of another person for a period of more than 15 minutes with no physical barrier, and this only once a day, must wear a procedural mask and eye protection at all times.

Hand washing

Wash your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds with soap or a hydroalcoholic solution.  This hand washing must be done:

  • before touching your face (eyes, nose, mouth);
    •after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose;
    •on arrival in the morning and before leaving at the end of the day;
    •before and after eating;
    •after handling something that is frequently touched;
    •when entering and leaving various premises and after each use of collective equipment.

Respiratory etiquette

Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or elbow when coughing or sneezing.

Maintenance of hygienic measures for frequently touched materials, tools, equipment and surfaces  

Sharing of equipment (pens, telephones, etc.) must be restricted.  Collective equipment (telephones, computers, etc.) must be cleaned and disinfected regularly or immediately after someone uses it.

The following surfaces must be cleaned daily: tables, chairs, premises, sanitary facilities and any other relevant place or material.

The National Institute of Public Health recommends cleaning methods. Health Canada recommends disinfectant products.

Legal obligations

“The employer has an obligation to protect the health and ensure the safety and physical integrity of all of their workers.”  The employer must ensure that staff have
the “skills and knowledge required to safely perform the work assigned to them.”

“Workers are obliged to take the necessary measures to ensure their health, safety or physical well-being, and to see that they do not endanger the health, safety or physical well-being of other persons in their workplace (Article 49 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act). To do this, workers must respect the rules and measures applicable in the context of COVID-19, just like all other rules applicable in the workplace.  Workers must also participate in the identification and elimination of risks.  If they see risks or have any suggestions in this regard, they must communicate them to the Health and Safety Committee (if there is one), their supervisor, or an employer representative.”

Link for the school sector guide

Link to other documents