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COVID-19 - Ontario Schools Reopen for In-Person Learning
COVID-19 - Ontario Schools Reopen for In-Person Learning

NOTICE TO FAMILIES OF KPDSB STUDENTS

KPDSB Schools Reopening for In-Person Learning on Monday, January 17, 2022

January 13, 2022

The Ontario Government confirmed this week that Ontario schools will return to in-person learning on Monday, January 17, 2022.  You can view recent media releases at this link.

This announcement means that all KPDSB schools will reopen to students and staff for in-person learning on Monday. School bus transportation will also resume on Monday with regular routes and schedules.  Students learning virtually prior to the winter break are not impacted by this announcement and will continue to learn virtually.

School Screening Tool

As we prepare to return to our schools on Monday, we wanted to remind families of the importance of completing the Ontario School Screening online tool each day before sending your child(ren) to school - https://covid-19.ontario.ca/school-screening/It is extremely important that any students who have symptoms of illness that could be COVID-19, or students who did not pass the school screening do not attend school.  As an added level of protection, families/students will be required to provide confirmation of having completed the screen each day.  Your child’s school will have school-specific protocols they will share with families around this, please watch for further communication from your child’s school this week.

What to do if your Child has Symptoms of Illness, is Exposed to Someone with Symptoms of COVID-19 or is Exposed to Someone who has Tested Positive for COVID-19

Anyone who has symptoms of illness or is a confirmed positive case must self-isolate, regardless of vaccination status.  For more information on recently updated guidance with regards to what to do if individuals have symptoms of illness, are exposed to someone who has symptoms of COVID-19 or tests positive for COVID-19, please use the resources below.

Extra-Curricular

As a part of recent announcements, indoor high contact and high-intensity activities, such as wrestling or basketball, multi-cohort choirs and wind instrument ensembles, will be paused temporarily to ensure the health and well-being of students.  More information will be shared next week on which specific activities will be paused until further notice.

Masking

The Ontario government will be providing students with access to free high-quality three-ply cloth masks for use at school. We are awaiting the arrival of the shipments with the student masks and will distribute them to families as soon as possible. 

We also wanted families to be aware that shipments of non-fit-tested N95 masks for our staff have been received at all KPDSB schools.  These masks meet the same National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health (NIOSH) standards as fit-tested N95s.

Ventilation in Schools

Ventilation is coupled with other health and safety protocols in our schools like enhanced cleaning, masking, physical distancing, cohorting and screening.  All KPDSB schools meet the ventilation standards that are required by the Ontario Ministry of Education.  Schools’ mechanical ventilation systems provide as much fresh air as possible and contain filtered supply air. 

Ventilation systems run during school hours and have also been scheduled to run following school dismissal or overnight prior to school arrival, in order to purge and refresh the spaces with exchange ventilation during non-occupied hours.  This is a new practice since the start of the pandemic.

Rapid Antigen Tests

It was also announced that the Ontario government will be providing two rapid tests for every student and staff member for use should staff or students become symptomatic/develop symptoms of illness.  

We have received notification that the rapid tests for our schools have shipped but do not yet have an anticipated delivery date for the shipments.  Distribution of the tests will prioritize elementary staff and students and childcares as per direction from the Ministry of Education.  We will distribute the rapid antigen test kits to staff and families as soon as they arrive however, we do not anticipate having enough kits to distribute to our secondary students and staff from our first shipments.   

Elementary Enhanced Cohorting Measures

To mitigate risks associated with the colder weather and to limit the number of contacts for more vulnerable populations, elementary students will be required to cohort during recess and outdoor breaks, as well as additional lunch cohort requirements to limit contacts as much as possible.  

Secondary Quadmester Announcement

Given the current COVID-19 context within our communities and with a recommendation from the Northwestern Health Unit, KPDSB secondary schools will continue with the current quadmester model (two periods per day) to maintain a limited number of contacts for students during the school day.  We feel it is the best model at this time to support student and staff safety.

Potential Class and/or School Closures Due to Staffing Shortages

We wish to advise families that as a result of recent changes to isolation requirements, we anticipate that our schools will experience staffing shortages in the coming weeks.  While the closure of classes and/or schools will be a last resort, it is important that families are aware this could happen.  We will give as much notice as possible should classes or schools have to be closed. Families should also be aware that in an effort to keep classes open, cohorts and/or classes may have to be combined periodically for supervision purposes. 

We will continue to share information with families as it becomes available.  We appreciate your patience and cooperation as we prepare to reopen our schools to in-person learning.

Sincerely,

Sherri-Lynne Pharand
Director of Education

Have questions?  Email us at questions@kpdsb.ca 

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