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Develop the Foundations for the Living Classroom: (4) Formalize the Collaboration, (5) Commit to the Physical Space for the Living Classroom, (6) Create Standard Operating Protocols and Formal Agreements

A Living Classroom requires rigorous planning and agreement discussions, followed by documented and signed agreements. Although these agreements take a considerable amount of time and careful planning, it is important for any formal collaboration wishing to be successful. We recommend that you have an operational viability plan, a collaboration plan, the Living Classroom physical design, standard operating protocols, and formal agreements in place before the implementation phase begins.

Standard Operating Protocols

Standard Operating Protocols (SOPs) are written documents that describe the regularly recurring operations that are relevant to the Living Classroom (LC). Typically, SOPs provide step-by-step instructions on how to perform a routine or regular activity, which maximizes the safety and operational efficiency and predictability of the LC.

The LC presence in a LTC home requires several SOPs to protect the day-to-day activities of the LTC team and residents, in accordance with the LTC home and PSE operating regulations.

These protocols address areas beyond academic policies of the college and LTC policies of the LTC home. Table 9 below provides a few examples that reflect our experience in defining practices that are important for operation of the LC.

Table 9: Standard Operating Protocols for the Conestoga College-Schlegel Villages Living Classroom

Table 9: Standard Operating Protocols for the Conestoga College-Schlegel Villages Living Classroom

Here are some sample protocols that you will need to address:

  1. Terminology and signage for communication
  2. Safety considerations for the Village
  3. Safety and security of the Living Classroom
  4. Building operations
  5. Living Classroom support services and procedures
  6. Expectations throughout the Living Classroom initiative
  7. Student support procedures

1) Protocols for terminology and signage for communication

Protocol for terminology of internal and
external signs for the LC
— to clarify where
LC signs are allowed to go on the LTC home
External signage has been placed in the
parking lot to indicate to students where to
park and how to find the LC entrance of the
LTC home.
Protocol for terminology of correspondence
with students
— to identify college programs in the LC.
Internal signage has been placed on doorways
and hallways to provide directions to the LC.
Protocol for terminology on college’s website — to manage the college’s programs and to ensure that the website aligns with College’s administrative/ financial systems, which will create clarity for students applying to the programs.Conestoga College and Schlegel Villages use
the same terminology and descriptions of the
LC, its location and how to get there.

2) Protocols for safety considerations for the Village

Protocol for privacy — to make sure that personal information about residents, LTC team members, health care practitioners, students, volunteers and contract workers is protected.All persons involved in the LC abide by Schlegel Villages “Privacy of Personal and Health Care Information” policy. All sign a Confidentiality Agreement and the LC Coordinator collects these forms and connects with the Privacy Officer at the Village.
Protocol for practicum health and safety requirements by the students — to enforce health and safety requirements for all
students attending the LC and LTC home
areas. This ensures the health and safety of
residents and the LTC team.

Students participating in the LC must meet all
practicum-related health requirements within the first month of the program, in order to be able to participate in learning activities in the LTC home.
Conestoga College’s Practicum Services is
responsible for overseeing:
• packages to be sent out to all new and returning students outlining health and
safety requirements;
• collecting and recording all health and safety documents; and
• following up with students who do not
submit appropriate documentation.

The LC Coordinator will ensure all health and safety requirements are met and connect with the General Manager of the Village to provide updates on health and safety requirements of the students.
Protocol for infection prevention control — so all are aware of the guidelines to follow if an outbreak were to occur in the LTC home.

This protocol takes into consideration additional precautions for the LTC home of students attending other health care
environments, where there may be an outbreak, before returning to the LC
The Office of Practicum Services is responsible
to update the Infection Prevention Control
documents annually and connect with the LC
Coordinator and the General Manager of the
Village to communicate any updates regarding
this protocol.
Protocol for health and safety requirements by the faculty — to enforce health and safety
requirements for all staff attending the LC and LTC home.
All Conestoga College faculty in the LC are
required to complete all health and safety
requirements. The College’s Chair of Nursing Program is accountable to ensure faculty’s compliance and monitor the reporting of these requirements.

3) Protocols for safety and security of the LC

Protocol for a smoke-free property — to inform students, LTC teams, residents, families and visitors of the smoking policy and to enforce the policy.Smoking is not permitted on the property of the Village. Individuals who wish to smoke must use the designated areas only where smoking receptacles are located (i.e., off property).
Protocol for occupational health and safety — to eliminate and prevent occupational illness and injury in the areas of the LC and the LTC home.Conestoga College employees must take “Conestoga Worker Health and Safety Awareness Training” online and report completion to the Safety Officer. Students are required to complete WHMIS training, WSIB training and AODA training.
Protocol for fire safety — includes a fire plan, which is followed by all persons in the LC in the event of a fire.Fire safety signs are posted throughout the LC. The fire plan is taught to students and college faculty by the Village team.
Protocol for key management — to describe how the keys to the LC will be monitored and who will have access to them.The LC Coordinator holds two sets of keys to the LC at the Village. One set is for the classrooms and labs and the second set is to open the faculty office. A sign-in and out sheet is available for anyone borrowing the keys.
Protocol for emergency procedures — to ensure that all LTC team members, faculty and students understand the emergency procedures of the LTC home.The Village uses a colour code system to represent fire, evacuation, bomb threat, missing person, etc. These codes are presented in a handbook that is given to all persons involved in the LC.
Protocol for entrance door access to LC — to ensure that the entrance door to the LC is locked during closing hours and is unlocked during opening hours. It is also a protocol used in case of an infectious outbreak in the LTC home.Students and faculty enter the LC through the LC entrance of the Village. Students are told when the entrance door is locked and unlocked at their orientation.

4) Protocols for building operations

Protocol for scheduling spaces in the LC — is used for anyone wishing to reserve a learning space within the LC or to use LC equipment.When scheduling spaces in the LC, Conestoga College and the Village consider the number of people taking part in the activity, noise level, hours of operation, parking in designated areas, etc. The LC Coordinator contacts the Executive Dean to receive approval to schedule space.
Protocol for maintenance and maintenance systems — to ensure that the operation and maintenance of the physical assets of the LC are based on the relationship agreed upon between the College and the LTC home.Conestoga College created a shortcut application to request a maintenance issue. A confirmation email is sent back once received.
Protocol for housekeeping — to maintain the cleanliness and attractiveness of all interior areas of the LC, by utilizing housekeeping services agreed upon between the college and the LTC home.Through the Village, environmental services provide housekeeping services in the LC. They empty garbage and recycling bins, sweep classroom areas, wipe down surface areas, wash sheets and towels, and restock consumable items.

5) Protocols for LC support services and procedures

Protocol for use of skill labs — to ensure that mannequins and lab equipment are protected and used correctly.The LC Coordinator locks all doors to skill labs at the end of each day to avoid student/ resident/ family /team access during after hours. A supervisor must be present when using any of the skill labs.
Protocol for supply management — to maintain consistency and integrity of the procurement process, to communicate direction and accountabilities to all personnel involved in the supply management function.The Practice Application Specialist requests LC supplies for the programs and sends these orders to the college’s dispensary to process the orders via an inventory system.
Protocol for furniture and equipment management — to monitor the integrity of the furniture and equipment in the LC, as well as those involved in the repair/replacement of LC items, should such a need arise. It also pertains to the members of the staff involved in initiating, processing, and receiving the necessary documentation and furniture and equipment at the LC site, when required.If Conestoga College or the Village comes across a piece of furniture or equipment that is damaged, the General Manager, Dispensary, and Conestoga’s Satellite Facilities determine whether the repair can be completed by the college or the Village, through following the normal Capital Expenditure Procurement process.
Protocol for parking — to set up standards for parking on the LTC home’s property.Students attending the LC receive notification of parking services by the LC Coordinator at the beginning of their program. A valid permit must be purchased and displayed (in order to access parking for the LC). Parking is enforced by Conestoga College’s Parking and Security Services.

6) Protocols for student, faculty and Village team member engagement and expectations throughout the LC initiative

Protocol for orientation — to ensure students, faculty and Village team members are aware of the LC initiative and what their roles are.The LC Coordinator connects with the General Manager of the Village and Conestoga’s Student Life Department to book a date, time, and place for student orientation. The LC receives appropriate communication and planning materials from the college to run the orientation (i.e., program handbooks, uniforms, parking passes, student IDs, orientation letter, etc.). The student orientation is provided by the LC Coordinator and faculty, the Village team, residents and the Village General Manager.
Protocol for student celebrations and events — to ensure that celebrations and events are held in a safe environment that does not disrupt the academic process or resident day-to-day activities.If any person wishes to book an event in conjunction with Conestoga College programs at the Village then the LC Coordinator and the Village General Manager are involved in the discussion. Once the LC Coordinator receives approval from the Executive Dean or the Chair of Nursing, the LC Coordinator books the space using the college’s scheduling system, as required and the event follows Conestoga College’s guidelines for event planning.
Protocol for the program handbook — to help students succeed academically by providing information on academic standards, guidelines and processes in the PSW Program.The LC Coordinator introduces the program handbook to students during orientation. Students are responsible for reading, understanding and following the information in the handbook or asking for clarification. The program handbook is reviewed and updated annually by the Chair of Nursing, LC Coordinator, PAS, and the General Manager of the Village.

7) Protocols for student support procedures

Protocol for off-site use of accessibility services — to provide a safe and accessible environment for students with disabilities.Conestoga College’s Protocol for Accessibility Services regarding Test Writing requires that:
• there is adequate time provided for student travel to the college campus hosting a written test;
• there is adequate time provided so that students returning from test writing with accessibility Services can return to the LC; and
• faculty returns tests to the student in a sealed envelope or the faculty will pick up the completed test at the main college campus.
Protocol for off-site use of counselling services — pertains to the availability of counselling services for any full-time or part-time student who is taking a college program within the LC.The LC Coordinator will book a time with Counselling Services during orientation to provide an introduction to students. Students wishing to book an appointment can access the Counselling Services page on Conestoga’s website.
Protocol for lockers — to provide sufficient locker storage space for students at the LC.The LC Coordinator creates a list of locker numbers and assigns these to new students at the start of the LC program. Students are responsible for providing a lock for the assigned locker. A lock found on an unassigned locker will be removed. Lockers are cleaned by housekeeping during the changing seasons. Any issues with lockers is reported to maintenance.

Formal Agreements

Although there are many SOPs that have to be considered between both organizations when a LC is developed, only two formal agreements are recommended. These formal agreements protect the interests of the PSE and the LTC home throughout the LC initiative:

The Use of Space Agreement (a unique requirement for the LC) sets out expectations related to use of space at the LTC home and by the PSE. It also defines financial, safety, insurance, and liability considerations for both parties. Table 10 outlines the elements of this agreement.

The Clinical Affiliation Agreement (typical of all PSE-LTC Home agreements when the PSE has students in the LTC home) identifies expectations of both parties related to unpaid education placements and to manage considerations regarding legal liability. Table 11 outlines the elements of this agreement.

These two agreements:

  • provide each party with enforceable rights;
  • ensure key administrative expectations related to the LC are understood by all parties involved;
  • set out financial obligations of each party;
  • show that each party is committed to the entire project; and
  • determine how to terminate or add more parties.
Table 10: Typical Elements in a Use of Space Agreement for the Living Classroom

Table 10: Typical Elements in a Use of Space Agreement for the Living Classroom

Use and OccupancyThis section lays out how the PSE or the LTC home will use the LC space to deliver programs and other related services. It outlines the maximum amount of people allowed to use the LC space at any given time.
CostsThis section details the financial contributions of each collaborator or any other financial arrangements. A budget sheet can be included in the agreement to indicate financial responsibility for the different costs.
PaymentThis section details the amount of funding or money, if any, that one party will pay or reimburse the other and the timing of the payment. The payment schedule includes a timeline of specific deliverables that will trigger payment.
HousekeepingThis section includes the usual day-to-day cleaning, garbage, recycling, and scheduling, window cleaning and day-to-day minor repairs such as replacing light bulbs and clearing blocked plumbing.
ParkingThis section includes the specific areas on the premises where students, faculty, and the Village team can park. Collaborators also determine the number of parking spaces needed, and if parking payments are required.
Occupational Health and SafetyThis section includes the responsibilities of the PSE and LTC home.
IndemnificationThis section holds other parties in the collaboration harmless from and against any and all liability, loss, expense or claims for injury or damages in the LC or other areas of the building.
Insurance and LiabilityThis section states that neither collaborator is, in law, responsible for any death or injury arising from or out of any occurrence in, upon, at or relating to the LC, or any damages that occurs in the LC. This section outlines that all items involved in the LC shall be kept and stored on the premises. The amount of liability insurance should be mentioned in this section.
ExecutionThis section outlines how collaborators will terminate the collaboration arrangement or an organization’s involvement in the collaboration.
Table 11: Typical Elements in a Clinical Affiliation Agreement for the Living Classroom

Table 11: Typical Elements in a Clinical Affiliation Agreement for the Living Classroom

Purpose of the AgreementTo promote a planned and supervised program of clinical experience for students within the setting of a LTC home.
Time Period and Renewal of AgreementCommencement and termination date of affiliation, including reference to early termination terms is specified in the agreement.
Responsibilities of the LTC HomeResponsible for supervision/provision and control over care and treatment of residents.

Determine maximum number of students the LTC home can accommodate at any given time.

Participate in orientation.

Contribute to students’ practical evaluation, and co-operate with PSE faculty and student for curricular assignments.

Ensure students do not replace scheduled LTC team members and that student are not left unsupervised when providing resident care.

Provide conference rooms, access to library facilities, areas for nutritional breaks, suitable change areas, provide special uniforms or protective clothing, provide supplies and services as required, and make emergency health care available to faculty and students.

The right to suspend a student from the LTC due to professional misconduct.
Responsibilities of the PSEResponsible for informing the LTC home of the number of students attending the LC.

Share learning objectives for the practical learning experience in the LTC home.

Provide names of faculty who will be supervising students participating in resident care.

Adhere to the policies and procedures of the LTC home.
IndemnificationBoth the LTC home and the PSE agree to save both organizations harmless from all liabilities.
InsuranceBoth the LTC home and the PSE agree to maintain comprehensive general liability insurance.