IMPORTANT UPDATE: Return to School Message for PVNC Families
Dec. 30, 2021,
We hope that you are enjoying the winter break and we look forward to soon welcoming back our students and staff.
As you may be aware, the provincial government announced this afternoon an extension of the winter break until Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2022. As such, all schools will re-open to in-person learning on Wednesday. There will be no virtual learning requirements on Monday or Tuesday. The St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Virtual School will also resume learning on Wednesday.
During today’s announcement, the provincial government introduced a number of changes to testing availability and isolation requirements that will impact students and families including:
- Effective Dec. 31, publicly-funded PCR testing will be available only for high-risk individuals who are symptomatic and/or are at risk of severe illness from COVID-19.
- Most individuals with a positive result from a rapid antigen test will no longer be required or encouraged to get a confirmatory PCR or rapid molecular test.
- Individuals with COVID-19 who are vaccinated, as well as children under 12, will be required to isolate for five days following the onset of symptoms.
The following additional measures were also announced to help ensure safer schools and protect in-person learning:
- Updating the COVID-19 school and child care screener ahead of the return to school on Jan. 5 and asking students, parents and staff for rigorous screening and monitoring of symptoms.
- Providing non-fit-tested N95 masks for staff in schools and licensed child care settings as an optional alternative to medical/surgical masks, and additional supply of high-quality three-ply cloth masks that are strongly encouraged and free for students and children in January.
- Continuing PCR testing eligibility for symptomatic elementary and secondary students and education staff who have received a PCR self-collection kit through their school.
- Starting in January, temporarily permitting only low-contact indoor sports and safe extra-curricular activities in schools.
- Updating COVID-19 reporting requirements for school boards and child care in January.
More details can be found in the provincial press release here: https://news.ontario.ca/en/release/1001386/ontario-updating-public-health-measures-and-guidance-in-response-to-omicron
In the coming days and weeks we will be providing families with critical updates with respect to the management of COVID-19 in our schools as we receive more direction from the Ministry of Education and our local public health units.
This new direction will represent a significant change in the way COVID-19 will be managed and communicated in schools. We know it will take time for staff, students and families to adjust to these changes and we remain committed to providing regular updates so that our school communities have access to timely and accurate information.
We wish everyone a happy New Year and look forward to the return of school next week.
Director of Education