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TLDSB Issues Guidance On Return To In-Person Learning

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COVID-19 update: January 13

Dear TLDSB families,

The Ontario government announced that schools will resume in-person learning starting on Monday, January 17. This means that all Trillium Lakelands District School Board (TLDSB) elementary and secondary schools will be open to in-person learning on January 17.

Please see the following health and safety reminders for in-person learning, as well as NEW measures put in place:

Daily self-screening

The strengthened screening requirements in the Ontario screening tool for schools and child care centres are designed to help protect students. Updated guidelines to testing and isolation are also reflected in the online screening tool.

Daily screening and monitoring of symptoms by students and staff is critical to limiting the transmission of COVID-19 and keeping schools safe and open for in-person learning. As an additional layer of protection, TLDSB schools will be performing daily on-site confirmation of screening for all students and staff.

All students who are experiencing a symptom(s) suggestive of COVID-19, as identified in the screening tool for schools and child care centres, or have received a confirmed positive test result, must not attend school, must self-isolate regardless of vaccination status, and should follow the guidance provided in the screening tool.

Masking

A friendly reminder that all TLDSB students Kindergarten to Grade 12 are required to wear a well-fitting mask, either cloth or a medical mask.

Schools will provide high-quality, three-ply cloth masks to students who need a higher quality mask than the single or two-ply masks that some are relying on.

COVID-19 case and contact management

Effective December 31, 2021, the province suspended the requirement for schools to report COVID-19 cases within schools, as outlined in the Ontario government’s interim guidance for schools and child care. 

This means that schools are not required to notify the health unit if a student, staff or visitor has gone home with symptoms of COVID-19, or reports to the school that they have tested positive for COVID-19 on a rapid antigen or a PCR test. This also means that the health unit will not send letters home to dismiss a cohort if a student or staff member has symptoms or tests positive for COVID-19.

Reporting Daily Absenteeism Data

Principals will be required to report school absences to the local public health unit if the absences in the school exceed 30 percent of the school enrollment.

Absenteeism data for schools is being collected by the Ministry of Education and will be posted daily at Ontario.ca starting January 24.

Rapid antigen and PCR tests

Rapid antigen tests (RAT) will be provided to students. According to the Minister of Education’s announcement, elementary students and staff will initially receive two tests. Secondary students will also receive rapid antigen tests at a later date. More information on these kits and the frequency of their availability will be shared with families as soon as we have this information.

These tests are voluntary and a negative result is not required to attend in-person learning. Students/staff must stay home if they receive a positive result from the rapid antigen at-home test. Please note that, per health unit direction, a positive rapid antigen test result will no longer require the individual to follow up with a PCR test for confirmation. Individuals must follow the isolation protocols outlined in the screening tool if they do receive a positive rapid antigen test result.

Additionally, TLDSB schools have a limited supply of take-home PCR self-collection kits for students and staff experiencing only symptoms most commonly associated with COVID-19 while at school. These individual tests come with information on how to take the test as well as where to take the completed test for processing.

Planning for potential temporary remote learning

If there is a need for a class or school to move to temporary remote learning or be closed to staff and students due to multiple illnesses in the school building, families will be notified directly as quickly as possible after the decision has been made. Please know that there are many factors considered in making this decision with the most important one being student and staff safety, as well as the safe operation of the school.

All TLDSB families should be prepared that this scenario may occur and thus should have alternative/contingency plans in place.

Individual students who are at home due to illness, isolation, or for other reasons

If a class and/or school is open to in-person learning and parents/guardians choose to keep their child(ren) home, or if your child is isolating and/or home due to illness, your child’s online classroom platform will contain assignments, activities, and/or tasks for them to complete  their learning asynchronously (without a live teacher).

Transportation

Families should be aware that while our transportation providers are committed to maintaining continuity of service, there is the potential that school vehicle routes may need to be temporarily suspended for a short period of time in the event that there are driver shortages due to driver illness or isolation requirements.

Cancellations will be posted beginning at 6 a.m. daily on mybustoschool.ca. Parents should be prepared, in advance, with alternate transportation arrangements should there be a route cancellation which affects their family.

Parents may subscribe to bus cancellation or delay alerts for their student’s routes by visiting mybustoschool.ca and selecting the Parent Portal.

Elementary – enhanced cohorting measures

In an effort to limit the number of contacts, elementary students will be required to cohort with their assigned class during recess, lunch, and outdoor breaks until further notice.

Indoor high contact sports and extracurricular activities 

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.

Ventilation and HEPA filters

To support the focus on ventilation and air quality as part of Ontario’s plan to keep schools safe, of the 3,000 units being deployed across Ontario as announced by the Ministry of Education, TLDSB will be receiving additional HEPA filter units bringing the TLDSB total to 800 units.

Secondary school return to semesters 

The Ontario government has announced that school boards may continue with a semestered timetable in February, unless directed otherwise by the local public health unit.

Thank you for assistance in keeping our school communities safe, as we move down the path of living with COVID-19. We look forward to welcoming staff and students back into schools.

If you have any questions, please reach out to your child’s school.

All COVID-19 information and updates can be found at tldsb.ca/covid19/.

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