We are 9 days into the school year, and we thank you and our students for the tremendous energy and commitment to safety you have exemplified in our schools. Our students are again showing us the way in their dedication to precautions like wearing masks and practising sound hand hygiene. We also want to thank our remote and on-line learners for your patience as we have launched our RCCDSB virtual school as quickly as possible.
With schools re-opened, the difficult task of keeping them open by keeping the COVID virus out and mitigating its spread should it get in, requires focus and persistence. We cannot let our guard down. As well, the challenge of reacting swiftly and appropriately when illness arises becomes more important.
A few notes and reminders as we move further into week two:
Key Messages from Renfrew County and District Health Unit as of September 18th
- Complete the Ontario school screening tool every day at https://covid-19.ontario.ca/school-screening/. If you have any symptoms, stay home and call VTAC to arrange to be tested.
- Anyone in the same household as someone with symptoms must stay home and self-isolate until the symptomatic person receives a negative test. No test is necessary for anyone with no symptoms but DO self-isolate.
- Once the negative test is confirmed, household contacts can return to work/school.
- Once the person who was tested has received a negative test, they may return to school/work 24 hours after symptoms have started to improve and no fever.
These are the key symptoms to watch for. Please stay home if you have any of the following that are new, worsening and not related to other known causes or conditions:
- Fever/temperature of 37.8 degrees Celsius/100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher
- Cough that’s new or worsening, continuous, more than usual, not related to other known causes or conditions (for example, COPD)
- Barking cough, making a whistling noise when breathing, croup, not related to other known causes or conditions
- Shortness of breath/out of breath, unable to breathe deeply, not related to other known causes or conditions (for example, asthma)
- Sore throat/not related to other known causes or conditions (for example, seasonal allergies, acid reflux)
- Difficulty swallowing/painful swallowing, not related to other known causes or conditions
- Runny nose/not related to other known causes or conditions (for example, seasonal allergies, being outside in cold weather)
- Stuffy or congested nose/not related to other known causes or conditions (for example, seasonal allergies)
- Decrease or loss of taste or smell/not related to other known causes or conditions (for example, allergies, neurological disorders)
- Pink eye/conjunctivitis, not related to other known causes or conditions (for example, reoccurring styes)
- Headache that’s unusual or long lasting/not related to other known causes or conditions (for example, tension-type headaches, chronic migraines)
- Digestive issues like nausea/vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain/not related to other known causes or conditions (for example, irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety in children, menstrual cramps)
- Muscle aches that are unusual or long lasting/not related to other known causes or conditions (for example, a sudden injury, fibromyalgia)
- Extreme tiredness that is unusual/fatigue, lack of energy, not related to other known causes or conditions (for example, depression, insomnia, thyroid disfunction)
- Falling down often/for older people
- Sluggishness or lack of appetite (for young children and infants)
Please be patient with your school – the situation is always evolving – if we ask you to pick up your child, it is out of an abundance of caution and on the advice of our public health guidance. Our goal is to keep our schools open and the surest way to do this is to keep the virus out.
In the Event of Positive COVID Cases
In terms of managing COVID, we will be adhering to the guidance provided in this document Operational Guidance: COVID-19 Management in Schools. Communication will occur from the Board, School and Health Unit should this occur. Currently, we have no cases in our school board.
Other Early School Year Challenges
As you know, we are currently experiencing bus driver shortages in some areas. As we progress further into the school year, we can anticipate shortages of other staff such as teachers, educational assistants and early childhood educators, which may result in periodic disruptions to the school’s daily organization. In all cases, our primary concern is student and staff safety.
In the event of any disruption to your child’s face-to-face learning due to the need to self-isolate or due to illness, each classroom’s blended learning environment is active and employed fully so that learning can continue. In the event we have an entire class or school that needs to self-isolate, we will utilize this platform to ensure the continuity of learning.
Finally, as a faith community, let us continue to pray together for safety and well-being as we all continue to learn from our experiences.