As most of you will be aware, yesterday the Ministers of Health and Education jointly announced that schools (both public and independent) will be returning to classes on a graduated basis in January.Most students will return to classes on January 10th.
Students whose guardians are health care workers will be eligible to return to work on January 4th as was originally scheduled.This return to school is being described as “phased” and is being mandated by a provincial health order.
The Ministry’s mandate is that schools use the week of January 4-7 to:
- Update the school’s communicable disease plan
- Plan for increased spacing wherever possible
- Plan for limiting student gatherings
- Plan to allow entrance only for visitors who are supporting the educational program or mental well-being
- Plan for reinforcing all safety measures, including masking mandate
- Pause all sports tournaments
- Plan on shifting staff meetings and Pro D to virtual settings whenever possible
- Understand changes in medical health protocols particularly with respect to contact tracing and attendance record keeping
- Assess your workforce: what is the state of all staff members’ health?
- Communicate safety updates and changes to students and parents
- Remind/retrain/reiterate/reorient staff, parents and students on all safety measures as outlined in the school communicable disease plan
- Reinforce the importance of any students and staff to stay home when sick and to use daily health check
- Work with staff to ensure continuity of learning for the balance of the school year, recognizing that classes or schools may need to shift to remote learning for functional or Medical Health ordered closures throughout the balance of this year
- Initiate cleaning protocols as outlined
Over the next several days, school leadership will be meeting to discuss how to implement these requirements. You can anticipate an additional communication tomorrow (Friday) by end-of-day with instructions on how to register eligible students for on-site instruction during the week of January 4-7.
At this point, we have confirmed that our preschool is not covered by the new government order and as such it will continue to operate normally next week.
We understand that school not being in session will cause significant inconvenience and hardship. Like you, we continue to pray for the pandemic’s end. We appreciate your patience and are looking forward to welcoming your children back to school.