School in September

Dear Friends

June 4, 2020

What’s School going to look like in September?

There is a short answer: No one knows, but lots of people are working on possible scenarios.

There are so many unknowns at this point, what happens with the virus between now and then will really be the guide. We know that all School Divisions across the province are collaborating and they are working on details for three possible scenarios. Which scenario that is chosen will depend on the current Alberta Health Services and Provincial Minister of Education directions.

Scenario one is normal operations and hours. This would be far from normal of course but this is one of the scenarios being contemplated

Scenario two is like a staggered operation and hours. A combination of reducing the total amount of students in the schools at any one time. Like shifts, or off days, to achieve fewer people in the building as the desired outcome.

Scenario three is like what they are doing now, a delivery of education online.

When will we know? I think it would be pretty logical to assume that some kind of decision will have to be made in early August, at the latest.

Our Superintendent has asked for the Locals input on what cleaning schools would look like in each scenario. Everyone agrees that our current processes for cleaning schools during a pandemic will have to be adjusted. Everyone agrees that you can’t cut staff one day and then ask them to ramp up their cleaning the next. Everyone sees that it’s not reasonable to ask a custodian or a custodial assistant to do pandemic cleaning as well as all of our regular work. We will keep you updated on how that develops.

CUPE 474 Celebrates Asian Heritage Month

Asian Heritage Month has been celebrated across Canada since the 1990s and was officially recognized by the federal government in May 2002. CUPE 474 recognizes and celebrates the contributions that members of Asian communities have made to Canada.

CUPE 474 acknowledges and honours the activism of people of Asian descent in their fight for human rights and social justice. Their ongoing struggles against multiple forms of oppression have been instrumental in strengthening our labour movement and our communities.

In current times, COVID-19 has amplified anti-Asian racism. The current pandemic has been made worse by xenophobia, increased feelings of isolation, exclusion and hate. These struggles are not tolerable. 


Areas to Clean within Edmonton Schools

We always recommend following the direction of your supervisor, none the less,

some of our Members at Edmonton Public Schools have asked what kind of work we could do now that there are no students around. We have prepared a list of suggested things that could be considered for work in the coming days.


Light fixtures                    dust inside and out

wash lens covers if needed

change burnt out lights

High Dusting                    dust or vacuum metal beams, tops of door frames

maps, screens, speakers, clocks

tops of smart/white boards and bulletin boards

and wash high shelves including the top

Windows                        wash, remove tape, sticky tack and any foreign matter

Drapery/Blinds                 vacuum and or dust

Walls                              wash, remove staples, tape, sticky tack and marks

Coat/Boot racks              wash, dust, remove tape, sticky tack etc.

Shelves                            wash and remove stickers, dust, move books to clean shelves

Desks, tables                    wash tops, trays, legs, underneath and remove marks, tape, stickers, gum etc.

Chairs                             wash seats, backs, legs, underneath, remove marks, tape, stickers etc.

Computer carts               dust and wash

Computers                      clean equipment and monitors

Telephones                     wash receivers and keys

White boards                   wash and remove sticky tack, wash metal frame

Bulletin boards                 remove all staples and wash metal frames

Smart boards                    wash (use glass cleaner) and surrounding framing, clean chalk ledges, clean brushes

Doors and frames             wash and remove tape, sticky tack. Clean glass around doors. Polish, clean knobs and handles, kick plates and hinges

Sinks/water fountains       wash, remove hard water marks

Light switches                  wash

Garbage/Recycle bins       wash inside and out

Baseboards                      wash, remove staples and tape

Carpets/area rugs             vacuum and remove staples, gum, tape and stains

Floors                              sweep, vacuum including corners, remove tape and stickers

Please feel free to contact your Union office if you have any questions.

Thanks, stay safe

CUPE 474


Recommendations for Custodial Staff

The following are suggestions for Custodial staff to Navigate the Cleaning and their Personal Protection through COVID 19:

During a pandemic, more stringent cleaning methods must be adopted in order to protect the safety and health of staff and students once they return. Given the concern regarding the spread of COVID -19 through contaminated objects and surfaces, additional measures will be required to minimize the transmission of the virus through environmental surfaces such as sinks, handles, railings, desktops, counters or other shared work surfaces. The additional disinfecting requirements contained in this document will assist in reducing the spread of COVID – 19.

Personal Protection

Social Distance

Alberta Health Services recommends that people do not come within 6 feet (2 meters) of each other.


Handwashing, when done correctly, is the single most effective way to prevent the spread of communicable diseases. Good handwashing technique can significantly reduce the spread of infectious diseases among both children and adults. Wash your hands prior to the start of your shift, at the end of your shift and every 1.5 hours, for a minimum of 5 times per 8-hour shift. Or more. Wash your hands like this:


  • Remove all rings and wet your hands with warm running water.
  • Put a small amount of liquid soap in the palm of one hand. Bar soaps are not as hygienic as liquid soaps because they stay moist and attract germs. If a bar soap is the only option it should be stored on a rack so that the bar doesn’t sit in water.
  • Rub your hands together for 30-60 seconds so you produce lather. Make sure you scrub between your fingers, under your fingernails and the backs of your hands.
  • Rinse your hands well with clean running water for at least 10 seconds. Try not to touch the faucets once your hands are clean. Use a paper towel to turn off the water.
  • Dry your hands with a single use paper towel. If no paper towel is available, use the air dryer, but do not touch the activation button with your hand (use your elbow/sleeve).
  • Use hand lotion to put moisture back into your skin if your hands are dry.


Wash hands frequently using soap and water, especially after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose. When soap and water are not available, hand sanitizers are an excellent alternative to use.

Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth or after touching hard surfaces like counters and door handles or other surfaces that may have influenza and other viruses on them.

Cover your cough and sneeze

Sneeze and cough into your elbow or sleeve or use a tissue.  After wiping or blowing your nose with a tissue, throw away the tissue and wash your hands.  Keep your fingers away from your eyes, nose and mouth.

If you are sick – stay at home and avoid social gatherings

If you are sick, avoid going to work and being in large crowds as you can spread the virus easily to others.  You should also visit those who are sick only if necessary. Symptoms from the AHS website may include fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat, body aches, fatigue and lack of appetite.   If you have flu like symptoms, do not come to work, stay at home. Do not go out, do not use public transit. Call in and report your illness to the school, and they will request a replacement worker for you. Clean your house using the cleaning disinfection procedures below. Refer to AHS website for more information if you think you may be infected.

Call Alberta Health Services Health link

24 hours a day, seven days a week, you can call with a health concern at 811 to get health advice or information. You can also visit their website for complete information and updates.

General PPE

In all cases, where an additional cleaning product or solution is recommended, staff must adhere to the WHMIS requirements and consult the Safety Data Sheet.

Cleaning, Disinfecting and Frequencies

The words clean, sanitize and disinfect get tossed around a lot. In casual uses, they’re often even used interchangeably, though there is a big difference between them.

  • Cleaning refers to the removal of germs, dirt, and impurities from surfaces. Cleaning does not kill germs, but by removing them, it lowers their numbers and the risk of spreading infection. Cleaning is done by using soap, detergent or another cleaning product and water, then physically scrubbing with a clean cloth to remove germs from the surface. It is important to remember that cleaning does not kill germs, mold or fungi; it just removes visible, dirt. Before you can sanitize or disinfect, the dirt and debris must be removed.
  • Sanitization is reducing a contamination or bacteria on a surface to a safe level, and is used primarily in food preparation areas because sanitizers are not meant to kill all microorganisms, but rather reduce the number of microorganisms to a safe level.
  • Disinfecting is intended to destroy or irreversibly inactivate all infectious fungi and bacteria on surfaces. This process does not necessarily clean dirty surfaces or remove germs, but by killing germs on a surface after cleaning, and most importantly, it can further lower the risk of spreading infection. Disinfecting cleaners can give a false sense of security if they are not used properly. The key areas to address are surfaces that are shared by staff members and those that come in close contact with bodily fluids. If your windows are dirty, they aren’t a big concern to everyone’s health but a doorknob touched after a sneeze can be.

The frequency of cleaning and disinfecting should be done to all hard surfaces in our sites with two things in mind.

  1. Areas that are not occupied. Clean and disinfect once and they are done.
  2. Common Areas, while most staff are not in the building, some are and therefore, areas like washrooms, work stations, entrances, door handles, areas that the people in the building are touching. It is recommended that these areas should be cleaned and disinfected twice per day. Cleaning expectations in other areas of the building may have to be adjusted in order to ensure that this is possible. Work with your Administration to determine how this works best for your site.

These are some examples of surfaces in a building:

  • Desks and tables. Tops, bottoms and legs
  • Chairs. Seat, back and bottom and legs.
  • Staff desks – priority given to shared desk surfaces
  • Empty garbage containers
  • Counters and hand railings
  • Lifts, stairwells, elevator buttons
  • Doors, door handles and push plates
  • Light switches and lift buttons
  • Washbasins, toilet bowls and urinals
  • Drinking fountains
  • Kitchen surfaces including counters, taps, and handles on microwaves, stoves and fridges
  • Shared telephones and keyboards in common areas e.g. reception, library, gym equipment, computer rooms, halls and lobbies
  • Walls – classrooms, meeting rooms, hallways and washrooms