On January 12, 2022, the Ministry of Education confirmed that schools will reopen to in-person learning beginning on Monday, January 17, 2022. Today we are providing you with additional information to support a safe and successful return next week.
Readiness to Return to In-Person Learning: We know that schools provide the best environment for learning and much needed support for mental health and well-being, social-emotional development and faith formation. On January 2, a communication was provided to families which included updates on COVID-19 Health and Safety Guidelines, protective strategies, and various government initiatives. These items are summarized in the updated, Readiness to Return to In-Person Learning post that can be found on our school board website here: Readiness to Return to In-Person Learning. We are looking forward to having our students back this upcoming Monday.
Additional Important Updates for Parents
Daily COVID-19 Screening: Students should complete the COVID-19 Daily Screening Tool before leaving for school each day. Students who are feeling unwell should stay home, monitor for symptoms and complete the COVID-19 Daily Screening Tool – https://covid-19.ontario.ca/school-screening/ The provincial tool was updated on January 6, 2022, families should refer to the tool’s guidance when determining whether to attend school in-person.
Updated Guidance for Families on COVID-19 Procedures: The following link, What to Do if You’ve Been Exposed to COVID-19 - https://covid-19.ontario.ca/exposed, shares important information for families explaining the updated guidance on what to do if they are symptomatic or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19.
Rapid Antigen Testing Kits: In yesterday’s announcement, the Ministry of Education shared that they will be deploying two Rapid Antigen Test per student and staff member. This deployment will begin as early as next week for our elementary students and staff, and additional supplies will follow for secondary students. The Ministry will provide additional instructions for these tests.
Expanded Opportunities for Vaccinations and Booster Shots: Students and staff have been prioritized by Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health in receiving first, second, or third (booster) doses of vaccinations at local WDGPH Vaccination clinics. Families can schedule an appointment or drop-in. Additional opportunities for vaccinations will be announced in the future, as per Ministry announcement.
Staff and Student Absence Tracking: The Wellington Catholic District School Board will continue tracking daily staff and student absence data and will be reporting information to the provincial government and public health. This information will be available publicly beginning the week of January 24, 2022.
Anticipated Staff Shortages: We have been advised by the Chief Medical Officer of Health that all sectors, including education, may experience staffing challenges resulting from changing guidance for individuals with COVID-19 symptoms and household members required to self-isolate. We have been working through various contingency plans and we will continue to offer in-person learning to the extent we are able. We have taken steps to increase staff availability to avoid disruptions. However, there may be times where individual classes or schools will be required to transition to remote learning as a temporary, time limited measure to mitigate against operational challenges, including staffing, safety and supervision, in these unique circumstances. Families will be notified as early as possible in these circumstances, we would advise families to monitor e-mails from your child’s school and consider alternate plans in case there is a short-term disruption to in-person learning.
Student Absences: Families are asked to continue to report absences through the school office. If you intend to have your child away for school for a period of time, for any reason, please notify the school office.
Temporary Options for Student Learning: We are looking forward to having our students return to in-person learning. We recognize that some families may be feeling apprehensive about this transition back. If you intend to keep your children home, please contact the school. Daily work will be posted through your child’s D2L page and asynchronous learning activities will be available. Students will remain connected to their class throughout this period of time. For families considering longer term move to our Virtual elementary school for the remainder of the school year, please contact your school principal for more details.
Device Loans: We had a number of families access loaned devices at the start of this period of remote learning. Please continue to hold onto devices until you receive further information from your schools. Schools will be providing additional details on the timelines for return of these devices.
Planning for Return to In-Person: On Friday, January 14, 2022, staff will be meeting principals in the afternoon to review new Ministry guidance, review safety protocols and complete any remaining COVID-19 training required. Staff will be connecting with students in the morning and posting asynchronous learning tasks for the afternoon.
We are looking forward to a safe return to learning and faith formation in our schools next week. The return to routines and reconnections with our staff and students through in-person learning will be of benefit to student learning, mental health and well-being. Our staff are committed to doing their best to support the learning needs of our students and we will be ready to do so when we welcome them back on Monday, January 17, 2022.
Thank you for your ongoing partnership in Catholic education.