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Facility Services, Ventilation, and Cleaning Protocols

Facility Services regularly reviews the school cleaning and disinfecting program to determine if enhancements are required, including frequency and timing of cleaning and disinfection, areas to clean and/or disinfect, and staffing.

As an additional measure, caretakers and cleaners, include cleaning and disinfecting of high touch surfaces, at minimum twice a day, as part of their daily procedures. More frequent cleaning and disinfecting may be necessary, depending on the frequency and use and extent of soilage visible.

All staff will implement ongoing, informal, cleaning and disinfecting of their classroom and/or personal workspace. Custodial services will provide readily accessible spray bottles with approved and properly mixed disinfectant and cleaning wipes and or paper towels for this purpose.

High touch surfaces could include washrooms, eating areas, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, touch screens, push buttons, handrails, computers, photocopiers, and sports equipment.

Facility Services uses a combination of manual cleaning and electrostatic misters as part of our cleaning protocols.

The Board has hired additional custodial staff to assist with the enhanced cleaning protocols for the 2021-22 school year. Custodial staffing will be reviewed periodically, by the Manager of Facility Services to ensure schools are appropriately staffed to maintain the health and safety of staff and students.

Deep cleans are frequently performed and a part of the Board’s case management procedures. A deep clean of a school or part of a school includes:

  • Floor to ceiling disinfecting and cleaning. This could include every corner of the building and portable (classrooms, common areas, washrooms, office, etc.).
  • A change of HVAC filters.
  • An air purge of the facility through the air system.

Ventilation

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the BHNCDSB’s renewal plans included long-term, focused investments in ventilation and system improvements. We regularly maintain and make improvements to our existing system in order to ensure our schools and sites operate safe and efficiently. Much of this work takes place over the summer months and March and Christmas breaks while staff and students are not in the schools. Our integrated building automation systems allows the Board to quickly implement adjustments and improvements to systems district wide.

Over the past year and continuing into the 2021-22 school year, Facility Services continues to focus on measures to increase ventilation, filtration, optimizing system controls, and increasing the frequency of preventative maintenance on HVAC systems in all our schools, including portables. Facility Services regularly meets or exceeds appropriate minimum ventilation guidelines form the American Society of Heating Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Standards.

Fully ventilated schools and sites are those with operating mechanical ventilation that have HVAC systems capable of providing fresh air ventilation to all learning and administrative spaces in the building. Schools with full mechanical ventilation:

  • use the highest-grade filters possible.
  • undertake frequent filter changes through the school year.
  • operate ventilation systems 2 hours before and after school occupancy.
  • calibrate HVAC systems for maximum air flow and increased fresh air intake.
  • have a standalone high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter unit in every occupied full-day kindergarten classroom.

Partially ventilated schools only have some learning and administrative spaces with fresh air ventilation. Schools with partial or no mechanical ventilation have standalone HEPA filter units in all classrooms and learning environments including libraries, child care spaces, administrative spaces and portables with no or poor mechanical ventilation.

The Board does not have any schools or sties with no mechanical ventilation.

Educators are also encouraged to support outdoor education where possible and open windows where this augments ventilation for classrooms and learning environments.

For the 2021-22 school year, the Board will communicate school-level ventilation measures centrally on the Board’s website.

Frequently Asked Questions

What cleaning and disinfecting product does the Board use?

As part of our regular and enhanced cleaning practices, Facility Services uses both Speedball and Virex 256 to surface clean and disinfect. Typically, Speedball is used first to clean the surface (such as a desk or table) to remove grease, ink, graffiti, or other soil marks. Virex 256 is then applied to disinfect the surface.

What is a high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters?

A HEPA filters is a portable air filters that can theoretically remove at least 99.97% of dust, pollen, mold, bacteria, and any airborne particles.

How often are air filters being changed?

Air filters in a school’s mechanical ventilation system are changed at least 4 times during the school year.

What is a MERV rating?

Minimum Efficiency Reporting Values (MERV), report a filter’s ability to capturing particles. The higher the MERV rating the better the filter is at trapping specific types and sizes of particles.
Our schools and sites use the highest-grade filters possible, based on the requirements of the HVAC system being used.  

Where can I get information about my child’s school ventilation measures?

School level ventilation data is available on the Board’s COVID-19 Reporting page.