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Letter to Parents – Return to In-Person Learning

Dear Parents/Guardians,

We are excited to welcome your child back to school!

The Ministry of Education has announced that students will return to in-person learning on Monday, January 17th, with enhanced health and safety measures in place.

Daily Self-Screening and Confirmation Prior to Attending School

We remind families that all students are required to complete a daily self-assessment using the updated COVID-19 school and childcare screener and confirm with the school daily that the self-assessment has been completed. Schools sent information to families regarding the process for verification of the daily self-assessment prior to the Christmas break. Please refer to this information and follow the direction provided prior to attending school. Note, that this daily verification of the self-assessment will continue until further notice.

Anyone who has symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 or is a confirmed positive case must self-isolate, regardless of vaccination status.

Additional Health & Safety Measures

Building on existing efforts to date, all students will have access to three-ply cloth masks, if required. In addition, all elementary students will receive two rapid antigen tests to take home.  Secondary students will receive rapid antigen tests as they become available. Should your child develop COVID-19 related symptoms, the COVID-19 school and childcare screener will guide you on when to use the rapid antigen tests.

Staffing Challenges

Additional challenges for staffing schools may result from the continued spread of the new Omicron variant and self-isolation requirements announced by Ontario Health. Please be aware and continue to closely monitor your email, the school and board social media platforms, and the CDSBEO website COVID-19 School Closure and Reopening Notices for important messaging which will be communicated to families regarding the status of school closures due to staffing shortages.

Parents/guardians are encouraged to prepare for possible school closures if a staffing shortage becomes a reality. Should your school be required to close, parents will be notified as soon as possible. We continue to work diligently to ensure that our schools remain safe and open for in-person learning and know that we will use all resources available to us before making a school closure decision.

Changes to the Reporting of COVID-19 Cases

Please note, given the widespread transmission of the Omicron variant and changes to the provincial testing approach, families will no longer receive communication from the local health units regarding confirmed COVID-19 cases in schools and childcare. If absenteeism rises to a defined level (approximately 30% above their baseline) in schools, the school community will be notified via School Messenger email and the CDSBEO will post this data on our website at: COVID-19 School’s Reporting more than 30% Absenteeism – CDSBEO.

We will continue to work closely with our local Public Health Units to support vaccination clinics for students, staff and families of CDSBEO. We will email and clearly communicate vaccination/booster opportunities as information becomes available.

We thank you for your understanding and ongoing cooperation and support during these challenging times.