August 06, 2020

Safe Schools Plan: Facility Sanitation and Disinfection

A safe return to the classroom must include frequent cleaning and disinfection to minimize transmission risk.  The Safe Schools Plan released earlier this week includes specific protocols for Safe Facilities which includes proper hygiene and increased sanitization.

The province’s 27 school divisions have plans in place to ensure schools are properly sanitized and have hand washing protocols and routines in place to ensure students and staff are safe.

Following recent approval of these plans, specifics for individual schools are being coordinated with local medical health officers.

Common changes students and staff will see in schools include:

  • objects removed that cannot be effectively cleaned or disinfected, such as story time rugs;
  • hand sanitizer at accessible entry points, like the main entrance to the school and classrooms;
  • mobile sink stations in common areas along with signage and instructions;
  • scheduled hand washing times and protocols incorporated into structured learning for younger students; and
  • special consideration for cleaning products that are safe for food surfaces, including water fountains.

The province and school divisions have ensured that all students and staff will have regular access to hand sanitizer.  Together with the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Education is working to supply schools with gel hand sanitizer in the 500 ml and 50 ml bottles.  This supply of hand sanitizer is in addition to the sanitizer, cleaning supplies and Personal Protective Equipment that schools have already procured either through government contracts or on their own.

The 27 provincial school divisions had a saving of approximately $40 million for last school year, which is being used for costs associated with a safe return to school, this may include increased custodial staff.  Teachers and staff are not expected to purchase their own products as school divisions and the province will provide these and additional supplies as needed.

As well, all requirements associated with the increased sanitization and disinfection of facilities including common areas will be completed by custodial staff throughout the day, and teachers are not expected to conduct this work.  All disinfectants and sanitizers used must be approved by Health Canada (DIN) and all label requirements, including contact time, should be followed.  This may mean additional training for custodial staff to ensure proper application.

Each school divisions’ plan, available for families to review online, outlines the additional measures that will be regularly completed during the school day to clean high-touch areas.

To view the measures in your local school division, please visit