All schools to resume in-person learning on Jan. 17, 2022
Jan. 12, 2022,
Dear Parents/Guardians and PVNC Staff,
As you may be aware, the provincial government has officially announced this afternoon that all Ontario schools will be resuming in-person learning on Monday.
There is a lot of information to share as we get ready to welcome students and staff back to the classroom. Please read the updates below carefully.
We would also encourage all families and staff to join us for The ABCs of Back to In-Person Learning, a webinar hosted by the local school boards and local health agencies to answer questions from parents/guardians of elementary and secondary school students. The webinar will take place Thursday (Jan. 13) at 6:30 p.m. and will provide answers to many of the questions we have been receiving about the return to in-person learning next week.
Rapid Antigen Tests
The Ministry of Education has committed to providing school boards with Rapid Antigen Tests to provide to staff and students. We are awaiting delivery of these tests and will be distributing them to schools to go home with staff and students as soon as supplies are available.
We will provide more information as supplies are received and distributed.
Daily COVID screening verification returns
For everyone’s safety, students and staff must not attend school if they are sick, even if symptoms resemble a mild cold. Students who are at home isolating will continue to have access to school work posted to Google Classroom by their classroom teacher.
As you know, every day before coming to school, staff and families must complete the Ontario government’s school screening tool https://covid-19.ontario.ca/school-screening
Those who DO NOT PASS the screening cannot attend school and must follow the guidance provided, including recommendations regarding isolation and testing.
The Ministry of Education has asked schools to validate the daily self-screening of students prior to their arrival at school until further notice.
Schools will be sending families school-specific instructions and a link to a COVID Screening Verification Form to be completed before arrival each day. Parents who are completing the form on behalf of their child will have to log-in to their child’s Board-issued Google account (this will have to be done for each student) to access the form. Older students can complete the form on their own using their Google accounts.
We ask families and staff to give themselves enough time to complete this important screening requirement prior to arrival at school. This rigorous self-screening of all students and staff is an integral part of keeping schools open for in-person learning.
If staff absenteeism at a specific school reaches a level where we are no longer able to operate the school safely, students may be asked to transition to virtual learning on a temporary basis.
Changes to COVID-19 management and reporting
In response to the evolving situation related to the COVID-19 Omicron variant of concern, the Ministry has made significant changes to how COVID-19 will be managed and reported in school communities.
We are awaiting further information from the government about absenteeism reporting and will provide more information when it is available.
Based on recommendations by our local public health authorities we are changing our masking protocol for Kindergarten students.
Effective immediately, PVNC will be requiring all students from Kindergarten to Grade 12 to wear properly fitted non-medical or cloth masks indoors in school, including in hallways and during classes, as well as on school buses and other school vehicles, with reasonable exceptions for medical conditions.
The Ministry of Education has provided us with a supply of three-ply cloth masks for all students. Two masks per student will be sent home with students next week.
The Ministry of Education has provided us with a supply of non-fit-tested N95 masks as an optional alternative to medical/surgical masks for all staff. We have received an adequate supply this week and all masks have been shipped to school locations.
Over the summer months, PVNC focused on optimizing air quality in schools and classrooms, making improvements at specific schools such as replacing older portables and replacing or upgrading HVAC systems and installing HEPA units in classroom spaces that have either partial or no mechanical ventilation to improve air quality.
Our Board School Ventilation/HVAC and Air Quality page provides more information including a downloadable report that details all provincial funding allocated to PVNC to improve ventilation for the 2020-21 and 2021-22 school years, the total number of standalone high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter units deployed in schools and a school-by-school breakdown of the ventilation and filtration measures being utilized in each school, including the number of standalone HEPA filter units deployed.
Families who picked up technology from schools and/or who borrowed a board-provided hotspot to support virtual learning are asked to return all equipment to the school on Monday. Please return all associated accessories such as adapters, cords and power bricks together with the device.