Learner Education During COVID-19

Last Updated: 2021-09-22

At Sinai Health, we are looking forward to greeting new learners as they complete their training and become the health care providers of the future.

We have made adjustments to adapt to COVID-19, including how we approach teaching and learning at our hospitals. Through everything, the safety of our learners, employees, and patients remains our highest priority.

To support learners, we have provided information below related to learning and placements during COVID-19.

What to expect while on placement during COVID-19 – Learner FAQs

Pre-Screening/Hospital Entrance Procedures

Will I be screened when entering the hospital? What are the restrictions?

Learners will be asked to confirm they meet the current screening requirements in order to enter our buildings. Please carefully read the screening questions here before you arrive. Contact Occupational Health and Safety if you have any concerns about being able to pass screening.

Occupational Health & Safety

Are learners required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to attend placement at Sinai Health?

Beginning September 7, 2021, learners at all campuses/locations of Sinai Health must report vaccination status to their sending college or university. Learners beginning placement between September 7 and October 15, 2021 must have at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine to begin placement, and must obtain regular point of care rapid antigen testing (twice weekly at least 48 hours apart) until fully vaccinated. All learners beginning placement after October 15, 2021 must be fully vaccinated to receive a placement at Sinai Health. The sending college or university is required to notify Sinai Health if a learner has an approved medical exemption and requires accommodation.

What should I do if I develop one of the symptoms of COVID-19?

Learners should notify their preceptor and school if they will be absent due to illness or other reasons. If a learner develops new symptoms of an infectious illness and has been working within the past 48 hours, they should call the SICK reporting line at Mount Sinai: 416-586-4800 ext. 7425 or at Bridgepoint: 416-461-8252 ext. 2803 or email [email protected] for COVID-19 related inquiries and updates or general occupational health inquiries. Learners requiring prolonged sick leave will need to notify their academic lead. Visit our Reporting Symptoms and Back to Work page for more information.

Personal Protective Equipment

What PPE will I be provided with?

Learners will be provided with up to three medical-grade procedure masks per day at the screening station (number is dependent on role). Procedure masks must be worn at all times in clinical and shared areas of the hospital under our Universal Masking policy. Face shields are required to be worn when in clinical areas where you will be within two metres of a patient (and/or anywhere there is risk of being within two metres of a patient). Other PPE (gowns, gloves, face shields, respirators, etc.) are available in your work area on an as-needed basis for your role.

Can I take off my procedure mask when I am in the hospital?

Learners at Sinai Health must follow our Universal Masking Policy. This means that you will wear your extended wear procedure mask at all times in clinical and shared areas in the hospital. Masks may be removed for eating/drinking during break times in dedicated spaces where physical distancing can be maintained.

My N95 mask fit testing certificate has expired, what should I do?

A learner’s school should ensure clinical learners have a valid mask fit certificate that has been updated within the last 24 months prior to starting a clinical placement. Learners will be asked to input the date and their mask fit model upon registration at Sinai Health. If a learner who is confirmed for a placement at Bridgepoint or Mount Sinai Hospital has a valid mask fit certificate but their model is unavailable at the site, this will be flagged at registration and a refit test will be provided. The academic lead for your site/program will assist eligible learners to book a session either before their start date or during the first days of their placement.

Staying Safe While on Placement

Will students be required to provide care to COVID-19 positive patients?

Sinai Health has endorsed the Toronto Academic Health Sciences Network (TAHSN) recommendation to enable students to participate in the direct care of COVID-19 positive patients. Only students deemed by their preceptor to have the required knowledge, skills, judgement, and access to PPE to interact safely will be assigned to these patients.

Appropriate signage will be posted on a Patient Space (room door, curtain, etc.), that indicates what Additional Precautions, including PPE, are required to be donned prior to entering patient space and doffed prior to exit of the patient space.

Some academic partners/programs may still be placing restrictions on students’ scope regarding COVID-19. It is up to the academic lead/preceptor and student to have this conversation at the start of placement and identify any restrictions to learner scope of practice that are unique to the student’s school/program.

How can I stay safe and protect my colleagues and patients in the hospital?

Maintain physical distancing throughout your time in the hospital, and clean your hands frequently. Follow the Universal Masking Policy and wear your procedure mask at all times in clinical and common areas. Do not attend placement if you have any symptoms – no matter how mild.

What happens if the unit I am assigned to experiences a COVID-19 outbreak?

In the event of a COVID-19 outbreak, Occupational Health and Safety and Infection Prevention and Control teams work together to provide recommendations. Decisions around whether a learner would stay on the unit, change to an alternate preceptor on a different unit, or transition to another model of learning will be made on a case-by-case basis with the support of the academic lead and the learner’s school.

It is important to note that there can be many organisms that result in the declaration of an outbreak by IPAC on an inpatient unit, and each will have its own separate implications.