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Letter to Parents: Lifting of Restrictions

Dear Parents/Guardians,

Based on advice from the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health (OCMOH), and the Ministry of Education, the province is restoring schools to align with community measures in place, while maintaining protective measures like rapid tests, ventilation improvements, enhanced cleaning, and screening.

To view a copy of Dr. Moore’s press release please click here. For more detailed information related to the decisions that were announced today, please refer to the Ministry of Health’s summary of information

Summary of Key Changes

Key school-related changes include:

  • Effective March 21st, masks will no longer be required for students, staff and visitors in schools, school board offices and on student transportation. We know that many students and staff may choose to continue to wear masks at times, or consistently for the remainder of the school year. Masks will continue to be provided for those who need them.
  • There will no longer be requirements for cohorting or distancing indoors or outdoors. Limitations on in-person gatherings, assemblies and field trips will also be removed; therefore, schools can plan and host in-person events (e.g., proms, graduation ceremonies, school masses, and assemblies).
  • Daily on-site confirmation of screening for all students and staff will no longer be required. Staff and students should continue to self-screen every day before attending school using the COVID-19 school and child care screening tool. Updates have been made to the provincial screening tool including new isolation requirements depending on vaccination status.

What has not changed under the lifting of restrictions:

  • Staff and students are still required to self-screen using the provincial screening tool before attending school.
  • Masks will continue to be provided until the end of this school year.
  • Hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette, improvements to ventilation and filtration, and enhanced cleaning will continue in all schools and on school vehicles.
  • The attendance data will continue to be posted on the Ministry website until April 14th.
  • RATs will continue to be available for symptomatic testing only for staff, students and children as required. As a reminder, RATs are also available at participating community locations. Please see https://covid-19.ontario.ca/rapid-test-locator for specific locations.

A reminder to families that under current federal travel requirements, upon return from international travel, individuals must, wear a mask at all times when in public spaces (including schools and childcare), maintain a list of all close contacts for the first 14 days in Canada, and monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19.

Supporting the Transition

As a Catholic community, we are called to kindness and concern for each other. This has been the hallmark of what we have undertaken in the last two years. It has taken us two years to come to this place, and it will take kindness, patience, tolerance, and compassion to move us forward to our shared future of hope. We must validate our individual choices and acknowledge that a range of feelings is natural.

Students and their families can find an inclusive list of mental health supports, resources, and links to our community mental health partners on the CDSBEO website at: CDSBEO Student/Parent Mental Health Resources. We encourage our families to explore these resources and seek out support when needed.

We hope, over the March Break, you will find time to talk to your children about these changes and let them share their feelings with you. There is no right or wrong feeling at this point in our history, and we recognize that children, families, and staff, adapt at different comfort levels.

We so appreciate the cooperation, patience, and support from our families over the last two years and trust their good grace to assist us in moving forward.

With renewed hope and promise,

Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario