March 11th, 2022
Dear Parents and Guardians,
With March break fast approaching, we wanted to reach out to parents and guardians with an update on the lifting of restrictions in Ontario. The Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health (CMOH) announced that many of the existing COVID-19 measures will come to an end, effective March 21st, 2022. This is exciting news for some, while others may be more cautious in their response. Both feelings are valid, and as a school system, we will continue to be respectful of your choices.
The Ministry of Education and RCCDSB continue to be committed to supporting a return to the normal learning experience for students and will guide parents, guardians, and students in what that will look like in our schools upon the return from March break.
Key School-Related Changes
- Masks will no longer be required for students, staff, visitors in schools, school board offices, and on student transportation. Students and staff may choose to continue wearing protective equipment and this choice will be respected by RCCDSB. We encourage all students and staff to promote respectful, welcoming, and inclusive practices within our school community.
- A reminder for those who may travel over the March break: Under the 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 close contacts for your first 14 days in Canada, and monitor yourself for signs and symptoms.
Lifting of Cohorting and Distancing
- Cohorting and distancing will no longer be required in schools. Assigned seats and cohorting will no longer be required on student transportation.
- Elementary students can play and learn together across cohorts, classes, and grades, both indoors and outdoors and during lunch and recess.
- Shared spaces, such as libraries, tech labs, theatres and music rooms can be fully utilized without distancing. Programs across grades, such as reading buddies, can return.
- Limitations on in-person gatherings and assemblies will also be removed; therefore, schools can plan and host in-person events (e.g., proms, graduation ceremonies, and assemblies).
- Staff and students must continue to self-screen every day before attending school. Please use the following screening tool: COVID-19 school and child care screening tool. Daily on-site confirmation of screening for all students and staff will no longer be required.
- After completing the daily screener, be sure to scroll down the page for further information and instructions based on the answers provided.
Please note that because restrictions in shared spaces are lifting, timetables and daily schedules may be affected.
What hasn’t changed?
- Hand hygiene, enhanced cleaning, and improved ventilation will continue in all schools.
- PPE will continue to be provided until the end of this school year.
- Attendance data will continue to be reported to the Ministry of Education and on the RCCDSB web site until April 14th, 2022.
- Rapid Antigen tests will remain available to staff and students to replace kits that have been used when symptomatic.
- If a student becomes symptomatic at school, we will provide a mask and call parents/guardians to pick them up.
Short Term Remote Learning
Many students at RCCDSB learn best in person. We feel that in-person learning best supports student’s academic, social, physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. However, over the last two years our staff have done an amazing job adapting and accommodating to virtual learning. Our virtual school St. Kateri Tekakwitha is a great option for those who may be more comfortable learning remotely. It is important to note that some classes have a wait list however, for families who are very concerned about these changes SKT may be an option worth exploring. Please note that registering at St. Kateri Tekakwitha is a commitment for the rest of the 2021 – 2022 school year.
Positive Case and Contact Management
To view the updated guidance for case and contact management, please see the COVID-19 Integrated Testing & Case, Contact and Outbreak Management Interim Guidance: Omicron Surge
- Asymptomatic individuals who are close contacts of either a positive case or a symptomatic individual in the community are no longer required to isolate but must self-monitor for 10 days following last exposure. During the self-monitoring period, close contacts must wear a well-fitted mask in all public settings and avoid activities where they need to take off their mask (for example, playing a wind instrument in music class or playing high-contact sports).
- Asymptomatic household contacts of either a positive case or a symptomatic individual are also not required to isolate if they are 17 or younger and fully vaccinated; 18 and older and have already received their COVID-19 booster; or tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 90 days and have completed their isolation period. Asymptomatic household contacts who are not required to isolate are also required to self-monitor for 10 days following last exposure, as outlined above. Children under 5 who are asymptomatic household contacts are required to isolate for 5 days.
As we know, the COVID-19 pandemic is unpredictable. Please be assured that we will be prepared to adapt as necessary and provide any updates to our parent/guardian community.
With restrictions lifting, we can be hopeful and appreciate a return to a more ‘normal’ learning environment for students. We understand that this may look different for everyone, and some staff and students may continue to wear protective equipment and remain cautious of COVID-19. RCCDSB has been called to love unconditionally and educate hearts and minds in the way of Christ. In our Catholic faith, we reverence the dignity of the whole person and nurture the well-being, self-worth, and potential of everyone. We know the RCCDSB community will be welcoming, inclusive and respectful to the personal choices of those who remain cautious of COVID-19.
We wish our RCCDSB community a restful and joyous March break.
Yours in Catholic Education,
Director of Education
This is what the Lord asks of you: only this, to act justly, to love tenderly and to walk humbly with your
God. -Micah 6:8