A dynamic collage of pandemic responses from support teams
The HPEDSB Information Technology (IT) and Facilities Services teams faced many new challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic throughout 2021. Featured here is a collage of the work completed by these teams to keep students and staff safe and learning together in a shifting learning environment:
Information and Technology Services
- Coordinated timed/scheduled access for all schools to retrieve materials for remote learning.
- In addition to technology provided to students in 2020, deployed an additional 1,106 student Chromebooks to support remote learning. Educators received an additional 179 laptops to teach students remotely.
- Telecommunications upgraded at Trenton High School and Central Hastings School, consisting of a new telephone system for school communications, new data center to secure servers and increase performance, video security system enhancements to ensure student safety, new overhead paging system for enhanced communication with the staff and students, and increased wifi access points to support student learning and safety.
- Launched the ASPEN student portal allowing remote access to individual student records. Expansion of the student portal included elementary student access. Through the pandemic, this allowed all students and parents to view report cards online.
- Ordered, organized, prepared and delivered school packages for:
- PPE (gloves, masks, gowns, face shields, goggles), cleaning products, sanitizer, extra soap, and paper towel products.
- Various signage (main doors, floors, walls, playgrounds, etc.).
- Received and distributed over 317,000 face masks, 120,000 gloves, 4,700 face shields and 3,700 bottles of disinfectant.
- Worked closely with the Ministry of Goods & Consumer Services on reporting, ordering, tracking weekly usage, and ensuring adequate supply of products for schools.
- Enhanced cleaning:
- Clorox 360 machines.
- All high-touch surfaces frequently disinfected.
- Additional funding for custodial staff.
- Developed Health & Safety Protocol for Facility Services, and Information & Technology Departments (maintenance, custodian and contractors accessing board facilities).
- Purchased, received, delivered, and installed HEPA Filter units for classroom spaces, where required.
- Coordinated and installed various physical distancing components (e.g., plexiglass, bagged fountains).
- Reviewed and upgraded various building systems, including HVAC systems, where possible.
- Created a ventilation strategy that included the following best practices:
- Implemented a preventive maintenance inspection/service program on all mechanical units to ensure continued effective operation of ventilation equipment (including operating windows).
- Increased filter ratings to catch smaller particles, as appropriate for each type of equipment and conduct more frequent filter changes.
- Updated or added ventilation equipment at schools to provide a long-term solution to increased air quality and adjusted to do a 2-hour purge before and after the school day.
- Placed standalone HEPA units in all Kindergarten classrooms and all occupied learning spaces without mechanical ventilation, as per Ministry of Education guidelines.