Return to Campus

Healthy Campus

Ridley’s Facilities Department has worked diligently to prepare campus for the return of students in September. A multi-layered approach to implementing healthy building strategies and best practices has been developed as a defense against COVID-19. 

Increased Outdoor Air Ventilation

Bringing fresh outdoor air into a room is proven to be one of the most important measures that can be taken to dilute or displace any airborne virus. In Ridley’s buildings, this will be done in one of two ways:

  • In buildings with mechanical ventilation systems, the ventilation equipment will be assessed and adjusted where necessary to ensure that the maximum amount of outdoor air possible is brought into and distributed throughout the building.
  • In buildings or rooms without mechanical ventilation, windows will be maintained in an open position (weather permitting) to provide natural ventilation. Opening windows will bring in fresh outdoor air in, and dilute and remove contaminants.

Improved Indoor Air Filtration & Performance

The filters installed on mechanical ventilation systems can help mitigate airborne viral transmission by removing airborne particles from any air that is recirculated through the building. To reduce the potential for airborne transmission, Ridley is upgrading all recirculating air filters to high efficiency filters with efficiency ratings of at least MERV 13. As an added measure, all mechanical ventilation systems are being inspected to ensure the proper fitting and placement of filters in order to provide optimal functioning. Additionally, exhaust fans will be continuously run to ensure contaminants are expelled from the building.

Room Capacity & Physical Distancing

Capacity in areas such as classrooms, study rooms, dining halls, libraries, etc. is being reduced and furniture reconfigured to permit safe physical distancing. Excess tables and desks will be reallocated to other areas to create additional study spaces for students.

Installation of Plexiglass Barriers

Plexiglass is a clear, solid material that acts to block transmission of large droplets between two people in close contact. Where physical distancing cannot be ensured, plexiglass will be installed as a physical barrier in places such as reception areas, food service locations, teacher desks, or any other area where a barrier is needed.

Increased Hand Sanitization Stations

As soap and water are not always conveniently available for washing hands—or cannot be frequently accessed without bathroom crowding—added hand sanitization stations with 70 per cent ABHR are being installed throughout campus. Sanitization stations will be available in every classroom, at entrances and exits to buildings, in corridors, and other nearby and convenient locations.

To limit viral transmission, touchless water faucets are being installed in public washrooms located in classroom buildings, sports facilities, administrative areas, and other general use areas. Additionally, to prevent water spray during handwashing, plexiglass barriers are being installed between sinks.

Disinfection & Cleaning Schedules

Enhanced cleaning protocols are being implemented that include more frequent cleaning and disinfection of surfaces, including all high-touch points. Additionally, the College has acquired two new electrostatic disinfection units which will provide rapid, best-in-class disinfection to virtually any surface. These will be incorporated into the enhanced cleaning schedules.

Our cleaning team from Chartwells only use products approved by Health Canada that are supported by evidence following drug review, demonstrating that they are likely to be effective and may be used against SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

Products used for cleaning and disinfecting on campus:

Oxivir Tb.disinfectant chemical for hard surfaces
Oxivir Tb wipes are used on hard surfaces in smaller spaces.
Unitab product used in our DUSTBANE electrostatic disinfection units to clean soft and hard surfaces on campus.

Wayfinding Signage

Directional wayfinding and signage can be used to reduce crowding and assist in maintaining physical distancing of two metres. For example, floor markings (“queuing dots”) and wall signage will be installed to indicate appropriate physical spacing and traffic flow.


List of 17 frequently asked questions.

  • Will Ridley have clear signage and instructions for start of school? 

    Yes. Signage, including line-up 'queuing dots,' directional signage and other health-related informational signage will be installed. 

  • How is Ridley evaluating and changing the design/usage of classrooms, the dining halls, athletic facilities and other spaces for safe usage? 

    The usage of classrooms, dining halls and other academic spaces is being assessed and the rooms measured to determine the number of people that can safely occupy a space based on recommended physical distancing.  

  • What modifications has Ridley made to classrooms? 

    Furniture has been arranged to permit physical distancing and excess tables and chairs removed from classrooms. 

  • What modifications has Ridley made to the Dining Hall?

    As in classrooms, Dining Hall furniture has been arranged to permit physical distancing and excess tables and chairs removed from the space. 

  • What is Ridley doing about HVAC/airflow considerations? 

    HVAC systems are being inspected to ensure optimal performance and will be set so that the maximum amount of fresh air is brought into and circulated throughout buildings. Filters are being upgraded to high efficiency type. Exhaust fans will be run full time where possible and, weather permitting, windows will be opened to increase fresh air flow. 

  • What cleaning and disinfection protocols and procedures has Ridley instituted? 

    Enhanced cleaning protocols will include more frequent cleaning and disinfection of surfaces, including all high-touch points. Electrostatic disinfection units will provide rapid, best-in-class disinfection to virtually any surface.  

  • Will physical barriers be installed on campus? If so, where? 

    Plexiglass barriers will be installed at reception areas, food service stations and other locations where frequent interaction occurs between people and where physical distancing cannot be maintained. 

  • Where will the sanitation stations be located in academic buildings and student dorms? 

    Sanitation stations will be available in every classroom, at entrances and exits to buildings, in corridors, and other nearby and convenient locations. 

  • What other safety measures will be implemented on campus? 

    Ridley has developed numerous strategies which will be deployed as layers of an approach to mitigate risk. Working together, these layers will serve to minimize and reduce the risk of infection and spread of COVID-19. They include:   
    • Physical Distancing 
    • De-densifying 
    • Hygiene practices 
    • Mask Zones 
    • Daily health screening 
    • Cohorting 
    • Health teaching and education 
  • How will Ridley minimize the number of people/traffic on campus?  

    For operations to run smoothly, contractors, food suppliers and waste management services will need to come to campus at regular intervals. As part of our containment plan, visitors can come by appointment only and must report to the main office and/or reception areas of the Lower or Upper Schools. Departments that have frequent visitors have been informed of our Visitor Management Policy, and will follow protocols to limit the number of campus visitors and subsequent traffic. 

  • How will Ridley limit in-person meetings and interactions in academic and administrative buildings?  

    While we won't take measures to limit in-person meetings and interactions, in order to mitigate the risk of transmission, we will reinforce general physical distancing practices amongst students, faculty, staff, and/or visitors. Where possible, a two-metre separation between individuals must be maintained. If a two-metre distance cannot be maintained, individuals will need to wear masks.  

  • How will Ridley manage faculty, staff and students coming and going from campus?  

    Once they arrive in the morning, day students are not permitted to leave campus until academic and/or co-curricular programming concludes for the day. This has always been the expectation for day and boarding students, in order to promote programme engagement and maintain student wellbeing and safety. Similarly, staff and faculty will be expected to arrive on campus and, for the most part, stay on campus to perform their daily tasks in their various areas of work.  

  • Will Ridley allow visitors? Can families visit children on campus?  

    Our Visitor Management Policy allows families to visit their children on campus, however, the visit must be planned in advance with the child's Head of House. Additionally, parents must complete a COVID-19 health screening questionnaire and have their temperature checked when they arrive. Exceptions to this rule include if a parent is dropping off or picking up either their child or the child's belongings.  

  • How has Ridley enhanced campus health services? 

    In terms of accessing our health care professionals, on-site nursing care is available 24/7 at the Schmon Health and Wellness Centre. Here, students will also have access to the school's doctors. Our doctors also hold in-person or virtual clinics for students on-site four days a week. Additionally, a nurse will be stationed at Lower School at the start of the 2020-21 school year.  
    Teaching healthy practices is key in preventing the spread of COVID-19 and building healthy communities. Our Health team has developed robust programmes to increase knowledge amongst our community members. Furthermore, we have ongoing collaborations with our local hospital and Pathstone Mental Health to support health and wellbeing on campus. 

  • Will masks be encouraged and/or required in all settings—or only settings where social distancing is not possible? 

    On campus, students, faculty and staff are encouraged to wear, at minimum, a non-medical mask for source control. There are areas that are designated as mandatory 'mask zones' and where all will be required to wear a mask. Ridley will provide all students, faculty, and staff with three cloth masks each upon their return to school, and they will be required to complete training on how to safely use, clean and store masks. 

  • Will students be required to have the flu vaccination? 

    The flu vaccine is an annual, optional vaccination in Ontario and encouraged to keep our community healthy and safe. Each year, the Health Centre works in collaboration with Niagara Region Public health to hold on-site flu vaccine clinics—health teachings and education on the vaccine are part of these yearly efforts. Questions regarding the flu vaccine or other vaccinations should be sent to 

  • What health guidelines and protocols will be posted on campus? Where? 

    Signage will be posted at entrances, exits, corridors, classrooms, dorm houses, and appropriate areas around campus, and will alert visitors and members of our community to: 

    • Signs and symptoms of COVID-19;  
    • Instructions to not enter or visit campus if they are ill; 
    • What to do if they feeling unwell with symptoms of COVID-19; 
    • How to access health services; 
    • What to do if someone around them is feeling ill and needs help; and 
    • Posters on hand hygiene, mask zones and respiratory etiquette. 

P.O. Box 3013, 2 Ridley Road St. Catharines, Ontario L2R 7C3 Canada 905 684 1889
With more than 700 students from 60 countries, the largest boarding programme in Ontario and the third largest in Canada, Ridley College is a truly international, co-educational, day and boarding school of the world that prepares students for the world. It has provided enriching learning and life-shaping experiences focused on the arts, academics, and athletics since 1889. Ridley’s Lower School offers JK-Grade 8, its Upper School consists of Grade 9-PG, and Ridley graduates attend some of the top universities and colleges around the world. Ridley is the only   co-ed independent boarding school in Canada and one of only three in North America authorized to offer the International Baccalaureate (IB) continuum programme.