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APSEA Centre Plan Living with COVID-19

September 2021

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Table of Contents

Purpose

The purpose of this plan is to provide APSEA employees with infection prevention and control standards and procedures to ensure the health and safety of employees working in or visiting the APSEA Centre on South Street in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Most APSEA employees work at school buildings or provincial education offices in the four Atlantic Provinces, and they need to follow the respective plan for that province/location along with the guidelines for APSEA Field-Based Staff. As we continue with alternate service delivery options for short term programs and assessments, students and families will not be coming to the APSEA Centre during the 2021-2022 school year.

This plan includes core public health measures, as well as temporary enhanced public health measures, which may be applied or rescinded situationally, such as in the event of increasing community transmission of Covid-19 or outbreaks.

Hand Hygiene

Hand hygiene (hand cleaning) is the single most important procedure for preventing the spread of healthcare associated infections. Hand hygiene recommendations:

  1. Public health recommends using plain soap and water when hands are visibly soiled with food, dirt or bodily fluids.
  2. If soap and water are unavailable, then hand sanitizing with an alcohol-based hand rub is recommended. Health Canada recommends using a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

All employees are required to wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water or alternatively to sanitize their hands if soap and water are not available before entering the workplace, and throughout their shifts.

Respiratory and Health Etiquette

We must all take the following steps to protect ourselves not only from new and emerging diseases but also from the common cold and the flu:

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, mouth, and other parts of your face with your hands.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze either using a tissue or by coughing or sneezing into your elbow or sleeve.
  • Discard used tissue in the garbage and wash your hands immediately afterwards in accordance with proper hand hygiene guidelines.
  • Avoid close contact with anyone with the following symptoms: cough, fever, runny nose, sore throat, weakness or headache.
  • Avoid sharing personal items that come into contact with saliva such as toothbrushes, eating utensils drinks/water bottles and towels.

Physical Distancing

To reduce the risk of healthcare associated infections, employees are advised to keep a minimum 2-metre distance between themselves and other employees. Where possible, employees should reduce activities that require close physical proximity or contact with people, such as in-person team meetings. If a team meeting is being conducted, utilize a large enough space to maintain a 2-metre distance between all participants in the meeting. When possible, employees should make use of teleconferencing, email, instant messaging, and cloud-based communication platforms to maintain physical distancing.

If a meeting room is used, Facilities Support staff will clean it immediately after the meeting has ended. Therefore, there must be a minimum of one hour between the end of one meeting and the beginning of the next meeting.

All employees must wear a face mask while they are in common areas of the APSEA Centre - such as lobbies, lunch rooms, hallways, elevators, etc. Employees do not have to wear a mask while at their own desk or office.

Various signs and markers will be added to offices to help manage traffic flow and to maintain physical distancing. APSEA will be limiting the number of employees simultaneously using meeting rooms, elevators, stairwells, hallways, and common areas to ensure adherence to physical distancing standards.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) are barriers used by employees to protect mucous membranes, airways, skin and clothing from exposure to airborne particles and/or bodily fluids. Using PPE will decrease exposure risk and prevent transmission of infectious agents. All employees are required to wear face masks at the APSEA Centre when physical distancing cannot be maintained.

APSEA will provide all employees with PPE.

Employees can contact their manager/supervisor who will then contact Dave Clarke, Purchasing Clerk, via email for PPE replenishments.

Cleaning and Sanitizing

Facilities Support staff will perform enhanced cleaning of all high traffic areas and high touch surfaces. Hand sanitizer will be available at various locations including elevators, washrooms and lobbies for general frequent use. Employees will be provided with disinfectant sprays and cloths to clean their own office surfaces such as chairs, desks, tables, laptops, keyboards, and phones before and after use. Employees who have concerns should contact their direct manager/supervisor.

Use of Photocopiers (or Other Shared Equipment)

After using a photocopier (or other shared equipment) the employee is to wipe it down with the provided PPE (disinfecting wipes).

Lunchroom Usage

Employees wishing to use the lunchroom facilities will be required to provide their own utensils, cups, plates, etc. Once finished, they are to clean the area used and remove the utensils, plates, etc., that they have brought. Employees must follow signs to manage traffic flow and to maintain physical distancing.

Self-Declaration Before, During and After Work

Before – Before leaving home, employees must self-screen for symptoms each day. If an employee feels unwell, they should notify their manager and refrain from coming to work. If you have any symptoms consistent with possible Covid-19 infection, or any other symptoms that concern you, stay home and contact 811. If tested, Public Health will inform the individual when isolation may be lifted.

During – If an employee develops symptoms consistent with possible Covid-19 infection, they should immediately wash their hands, report their symptoms to their immediate Supervisor, avoid contact with other employees and go home immediately to self-isolate. They should contact 811 for an assessment and direction.

After – Employees are required to update their manager/supervisor on a daily basis if they are away from work due to illness.

Travel Declaration

Employees planning to travel outside of their province of residence for business purposes must seek permission from their manager/supervisor first. If they are travelling outside of their province of residence for personal reasons, we ask that they inform their manager/supervisor and the Coordinator of Human Resources. Employees must follow all current Public Health directives regarding travel and self-isolation requirements specific to their province of residence. Employees who are required to complete a period of self-isolation due to personal travel should be aware that this may result in an unpaid leave of absence. Non-essential business travel is discouraged.

Flexible Workplaces and Schedule

APSEA will assess options for flexible workplaces and schedules on a case by case basis following the policy and procedure for Remote Work Arrangements.

Guest Sign In

When guests arrive and request entry to either the APSEA Administration or Residence Building using the intercom system, they must respond to Covid-19 screening questions. They are to be denied entry if they answer yes.

If admitted, they are to sign in, providing their full name and phone number.

All guests are to be met by an APSEA employee and accompanied by that employee who shall ensure they follow appropriate procedures.

Room Rentals

Individuals renting meeting space at the APSEA Centre will be provided with a copy of the APSEA Centre Plan - Living with Covid-19 in advance of their scheduled booking to familiarize themselves with APSEA’s protocols. An APSEA employee will meet the primary contact person upon arrival for the scheduled booking. Individuals participating in rentals, as the primary contact or guest, must follow all current procedures.

Tenants

Tenants in the APSEA buildings will be informed of the APSEA Centre Plan - Living with Covid-19 and will be required to follow it. Consultations will take place with each tenant to address any specific concerns or requirements.

Tenants staying in overnight accommodations will be required to provide their own utensils, cutlery, bed linens and small appliances (e.g., coffee maker, toaster).

How to Report Covid-19 Issues

Employees are encouraged to report/discuss concerns with their manager/supervisor or the Coordinator of Human Resources.

Should a case of Covid-19 arise, senior APSEA employees will contact Public Health and follow all the required procedures, including communications to employees and the public.

Work Refusals

Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act employees have the right to refuse to perform work if they hold a bona fide belief a “physical condition” in the workplace constitutes a risk to their health or safety. Please discuss your concerns with your manager/supervisor or the Coordinator of Human Resources.

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