Important Updates for All Families
Nov. 19, 2021,
Vaccinations for Students Aged 5-11
Peterborough Victoria Northumberland and Clarington (PVNC) Catholic District School Board is pleased that Health Canada has approved COVID-19 vaccinations for children aged five to 11. This is great news for our elementary school communities. We have been working closely with the three health units in our jurisdiction to plan and facilitate after-hour vaccination clinics in select schools. In coming weeks, parents/guardians with children aged 5 to 11 will have multiple ways to access vaccinations such as mass immunization clinics in your community or after-hour clinics in a school setting.
We will be collaborating with Public Health to provide families with more information as clinic dates and locations are confirmed.
We strongly encourage all eligible students to get vaccinated. We have seen how effective high vaccination rates have been in our secondary schools this year. Vaccinations are safe and remain the most effective way to help us return to normal school routines and reintroduce extracurricular activities at the elementary level in the new year.
Expanded Access to COVID Testing for Families
On Thursday, the Government of Ontario announced it would be enhancing COVID-19 testing by expanding the number of testing locations and making it more convenient to access publicly funded testing for those who need it.
We know that access to timely tests and test results has been challenging for families this fall and we hope these expanded testing opportunities help reduce the time students spend out of the classroom.
In addition, the government announced it would be distributing rapid antigen screening tests to schools ahead of the December break to add an additional layer of protection over the holiday period and as students return to school in January. The government has announced that each student will be provided a pack of five rapid antigen tests for use over the holidays and throughout the return to in-person learning. These tests are voluntary and will not be required for students to return to school. Students and staff will be required to follow the screening procedures currently in place at schools.
Secondary School Timetabling
The Ministry of Education announced yesterday that secondary schools can move back to a regular timetable with students taking up to four courses a day from the current quadmester schedule with students taking up to two courses a day.
All PVNC secondary schools (including our virtual school and e-learners) will be transitioning back to a regular semester schedule at the beginning of Semester 2 in February.
We anticipate the shift back to a semester schedule will have a positive impact on student engagement. It also represents an important milestone in returning to normal school routines and is a testament to the high vaccination rate among secondary students. We appreciate everyone’s efforts to make the quadmester schedule work during the height of the pandemic. In consultation with the local public health units, we will continue to ensure appropriate health and safety measures are in place.
As we enter the winter months, a reminder that our inclement weather practices remain the same as previous school years.
On inclement weather days, schools will remain open for students and staff. We recognize, however, that many students will still not be able to attend school when buses are cancelled due to weather.
We encourage families to check the status of buses when weather and driving conditions are bad, before heading to school. You can check the Student Transportation Services of Central Ontario website at stsco.ca. Kawartha Lakes families can access bus notifications at: www.mybustoschool.ca/Alert. Please remember that if you choose to drive your child to school on inclement weather days, you are responsible for picking them up as well.
Holiday Trip Considerations
With holidays approaching, and families starting to consider traveling during the holiday break, it is important to note that as per the federal guidelines for international travel, there are still requirements for unvaccinated children who will be traveling internationally with fully vaccinated parents/guardians.
What if my child travelled outside of Canada and is not fully vaccinated against COVID-19?
For 14 days after arrival the child MUST NOT:
- Attend school, camp or daycare.
- Attend a setting where they may have contact with vulnerable people (e.g. long term care facility), including people who are immunocompromised, regardless of that person’s vaccination status or public health measures.
- Travel on crowded public transportation that does not ensure physical distancing and masking
- Attend large crowded settings, indoors or outdoors, such as an amusement park or sporting event.
The child must take COVID-19 molecular tests as instructed, unless they have evidence that the child had a positive COVID-19 test taken 14 to 180 days prior to arrival in Canada or the child is under 5 years of age.