Dear parents and guardians,
We are pleased to welcome students back to in-person learning this week. We understand that this can be stressful for parents who are worried about the nature of the omicron variant in the community, and the given new regulations, schools will no longer be receiving notice from the RCDHU if a student is a confirmed positive COVID-19 case. We understand the concern this has caused, and we hope to alleviate some reservations you may have as we return to in-person learning.
Under the recommendation of the Chief Medical Officer of Heath, school boards must inform their local Health Unit when the absenteeism rate within a school has increased 30% above the ‘baseline’. When this threshold is hit, parents of students will receive a letter from their child’s school principal and the Chief Medical Officer of the local Health Unit indicating this threshold has passed.
As a layer of additional transparency between the school board and the community, and because we no longer have reliable COVID-19 case reporting within schools, RCCDSB will be reporting DAILY on the absences in each school in our district. We have created a board-wide reporting tool that can be easily accessed on our webpage. This will include the combined average of student and staff absences beginning January 19th, 2022, and the ‘baseline’ absenteeism rate for comparison. The RCCDSB baseline absenteeism average ranges from 5.9% to 12.1% on a typical instructional day. Parents will be able to view updated absence reporting charts daily by visiting:
As of Wednesday, January 19th, 2022, school boards are required to report absenteeism rates to the Ministry of Education. RCCDSB has decided to take this one step further and report daily school absences into the tracker. This will allow parents to monitor for potential illness within each school and decide on whether to send their children to school during periods of high absenteeism.
There have been questions and concerns on whether RCCDSB will continue to report the COVID-19 cases that have been disclosed to us voluntarily by parents. As parents are under no obligation to share this information, RCCDSB will not be reporting on voluntarily reported COVID-19 cases because of the possibility that sharing this information would be misleading and under-represent the potential illness within the schools.
As students return to school, it is vital that we continue our vigilance with COVID-19 safety precautions in our communities. Students must complete the daily screener prior to leaving for school or the bus in the morning. This is an additional layer of protection that we have in an effort to keep our schools as safe as possible.
Our Vision at RCCDSB calls us to ‘sustain safe school environments characterized by warmth, hospitality, good humour and joy’. We are working hard to answer this call and Omicron has once again sent another shock wave but if we continue to work together, and each do our part, we can keep our schools as safe as possible.
Yours In Catholic Education,
Director of Education
This is what Yahweh asks of you: only this, to act justly, to love tenderly and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8.