PVNCCDSB Christmas Break Update
Dec. 16, 2021,
Dear Staff and Families,
Over the course of the past 20 months, we have used a number of words to describe the pandemic. “Unprecedented,” “challenging,” “turbulent,” are a few that come to mind.
When we started this school year, I was really looking forward to using different ways to describe COVID such as “finished,” “behind us,” and “back to normal.”
Unfortunately, heading into the Christmas break we are once again in uncharted territory and the Omicron variant appears to be changing the rules hourly. We have included a number of updates and reminders for you below and we will continue to provide staff and families with timely and accurate information as we learn more.
Of course, the real question on everyone’s mind – what will happen to school after the break? As of the writing of this message, the Ministry of Education has given us no indication that we will be moving to virtual learning. In fact, the province has been clear that keeping schools open is a top priority.
Principals and educators will be asking students to take needed belongings home for the Christmas break, including any technology they have in the classroom just in case the decision is made to move to virtual learning for a period of time.
To ensure we are doing everything we can to keep schools open safely, we strongly encourage all eligible students, staff and families to get vaccinated and, as you become eligible, to book a booster shot. The Public Health Units in our jurisdiction will be running around the clock over the holiday break to administer vaccinations and boosters. Please take advantage of this opportunity.
I want to wish each and every student, staff member, parent and guardian a Merry Christmas and a healthy and peaceful holiday. We look forward to seeing you in the New Year.
Director of Education
IMPORTANT UPDATES AND REMINDERS
Rapid antigen testing
Schools have sent or will send a rapid antigen test kit (five tests) home with all students attending school in person.
We have created this easy-to-use instructional video to help families as they administer the tests.
The province also announced yesterday an expanded distribution of free rapid antigen tests at locations across Ontario. Find out when and where you can access free COVID-19 rapid antigen tests during the holiday season.
Daily COVID screening verification returns Jan. 3
All staff and students must self-screen every day before attending school. The Ministry of Education has asked schools to validate the daily self-screening of students prior to or upon their arrival at school for the first two weeks following the Christmas break.
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.
A message from our Mental Health Team
During the Christmas season it is important to take time to reflect and be thankful for the blessings that we have in our lives. Gratitude is a valuable practice that helps us to be grounded and humbled. We talk about connecting our dots – the mind, body and spirit, when we think about self care. We think about positive affirmations about ourselves and for others, focus on our breath and taking good care of ourselves and saying a prayer for someone in our lives or spending time in meditation. Self care does not need to be complicated but rather to focus on these simple acts for ourselves and others. If you are needing extra support for yourself or your family, our Being Well Portal contains resources that may be helpful.