Safety Week During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Posted On Thursday October 08, 2020
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DDSB Mental Health Lead Steffanie Pelleboer presenting a few of the well-being and mental health resources available to students and staff at the Safety Week Administrators’ Open House.

The DDSB holds annual safety week with a focus on learning and working safely during the pandemic

The Durham District School Board (DDSB) raised awareness for Safety Week from September 21-25, 2020. Staff and students used the week to focus on the new health and safety protocols and took time to do fire drills and have an open house online.

Over 100 attendees participated in DDSB’s virtual Safety Week Administrators’ Open House. The keynote speakers for the event were DDSB Mental Health Lead Steffanie Pelleboer and from Durham Region Health Department (DRHD), Program Manager, Regina Elliott and Public Health Nurse Sabrina Pirmohamed.

The presentations focused on the most recent health and safety procedures implemented due to COVID-19 in schools and how everyone can support the mental health and well-being of students and staff.

Pelleboer emphasized that well-being and mental health are fundamental to student achievement.

She said, “Now more than ever students and staff need a chance to learn, a safe place to risk. Someone who notices when something is wrong, someone who reaches out when they notice. Someone who listens and tries to find help for them and someone who believes in them and instills hope.”

Elliott and Pirmohamed informed attendees about how the DRHD is working to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and how they are supporting the needs of schools and the community at large.

“We advise schools and school boards on COVID-19 prevention and preparedness strategies,” Elliott said.

As a public health nurse, Pirmohamed reminded everyone that each school has a nurse assigned to them and that they should be the first point of contact, if the school has a confirmed positive case of COVID-19.    

Pirmohamed said, “Most importantly, our role is to work together to promote the health and safety of students and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic. Continuous communication and collaboration is key.”

The open house was recorded and can be viewed at:

Fire Drill at a Distance

Glen Dhu PS held their first official fire drill while following physical distancing measures on September 22nd.

The students came out of their classrooms in an orderly fashion, with a minimum of one metre apart from each other, in addition to staff and students in Grades 4 to 8 wearing masks.

“I would say that the fire drill went well,” said Keith Wainwright, Principal at Glen Dhu PS. “The students were well prepared for it by their teachers and they took the drill seriously and calmly.  It does take some coordination, extra instruction and more time than normal because of the need for physical distancing. However, it only took about 45 seconds longer than normal.  The whole drill still was done in good time.”