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COVID-19 updates 2021-2022

Dear TLDSB families,Please see the letters below from our local public health units regarding indoor masking recommendation and other layers of protection against COVID-19.

Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit (City of Kawartha Lakes and Haliburton schools)

HKPRDHU letter to TLDSB families

Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (Muskoka schools)

SMDHU letter to TLDSB families

If you have any questions, contact your child’s school.

Dear TLDSB families,

As we look to September, Trillium Lakelands District School Board (TLDSB) is planning for in-person learning, and will once again offer at-home online learning for the 2022-2023 school year, if there is sufficient enrolment.

In order to accurately staff for in-person and at-home online learning, families/students are asked to make their choice for the 2022-2023 school year by Friday, April 1. We recognize that this may be a difficult choice at this time and ask that you carefully consider your decision, as students will not have the opportunity to switch learning options during the school year. Only those wishing to register for at-home online learning for the 2022-2023 school year are to fill out the form below.

Registration must be received by Friday, April 1.

Complete the 2022-2023 At-home Online Learning form to enroll.

Please note:

  • Students 18 and older will receive their own form to fill out via their student email.
  • Parents/guardians with multiple students within TLDSB should complete the form once for each child they would like enrolled in the at-home online learning option.

Dear parents/guardians,

Please see the letter below from your local public health unit.

Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (Muskoka area schools)

SMDHU letter

Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit (City of Kawartha Lakes and Haliburton area schools)

HKPRDHU letter

As a friendly reminder, see the COVID-19 changes that are effective today, Monday, March 21:

  • TLDSB students, staff, and visitors are no longer required to wear a mask when in a TLDSB building. Individuals may choose to continue to wear a mask should they wish to.
  • Upon return from international travel, individuals must wear a mask at all times when in public spaces (including schools and child care), maintain a list of all close contacts for the first 14 days, and monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Visit the COVID-19 travel checklist page on the Government of Canada’s website to read about the current federal travel requirements.
  • Cohorting in elementary schools has been lifted.
  • Visitors, including parents/guardians, are now allowed to enter school buildings.

Dear TLDSB families,

Earlier today, the Chief Medical Officer of Health (CMOH) announced that Ontario will be lifting the masking and other COVID-19 mandates across the province, effective Monday, March 21.

This means, Trillium Lakelands District School Board (TLDSB) students, staff, and visitors will no longer be required to wear a mask when in a TLDSB building. Individuals may choose to continue to wear a mask should they wish to. We ask that individuals be kind and respectful of the decisions made by others in all areas of personal protection.

Other COVID-19 measures that will change on Monday, March 21, include:

Visitors, including parents/guardians, will be allowed to enter school buildings.
Attestation regarding vaccination status will no longer be required (which was previously the case for essential visitors, agencies, and other non-staff workers at the school).
Cohorting for elementary schools will be lifted.
Daily self-assessment continues to be an effective way to mitigate against spreading a virus. Students and staff should continue to screen for symptoms daily using the Ontario school and child care screening tool. Note that this tool has recently been updated.

Practicing good hand hygiene continues to be a focus, as well as maintaining the HEPA filter units and ventilation strategies in each school. Families can continue to access rapid antigen tests and masks for students at their child’s school upon request.

More information will be available for our families and staff on our website soon.

If you have any questions, please reach out to your child’s school.

In consultation with the Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health, the provincial government made an announcement earlier today regarding public health measures in publicly funded schools.

Please see the update to Trillium Lakelands District School Board (TLDSB) elementary and secondary school activities:

In alignment with the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020 (ROA), schools will be allowed to resume high-contact sports and activities effective immediately.

All individuals participating in extra-curricular sports, high-contact/intensity activities, and indoor curriculum-based programs (e.g. health and physical education and music), will be required to wear a mask while on school premises. Students participating in these activities may temporarily remove their mask for active participation in the activities (e.g., masks may be removed while actively playing basketball, but must be worn while on the bench; masks may be removed while actively playing a musical instrument, but must be worn while waiting for the musical activity to begin and after it ends).

Please contact your child’s school directly if you have any questions.

In-school COVID-19 vaccination clinics

Please see the information below for the area of the Board where you are located in regard to vaccination consent and in-school COVID-19 vaccination clinics:

Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit (City of Kawartha Lakes and Haliburton County schools)

HKPRDHU parent/guardian letter and COVID-19 vaccination consent form.

Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (Muskoka schools)

SMDHU parent/guardian letter and COVID-19 vaccination consent form.

You can also view the Ontario government’s COVID-19 vaccination for children and youth fact sheet.

Dear TLDSB families,

Thank you for your resilience and perseverance through these ever-changing times. We hope you will find the information in this communication helpful as Trillium Lakelands District School Board (TLDSB) students, staff, and families respond and adapt to the varying situations within our schools. During the current wave of the COVID-19 Omicron variant, what is outlined below is our short-term plan to ensure we support learning and well-being for students and staff, and continue to be flexible and evolve as needed.

Absences within a classroom

Each day, the school principal, superintendent, and director of education are in communication with one another with respect to absences, particularly the number of individuals who are absent due to illness. If there are high levels of illnesses within a class, the superintendent and principal may jointly make the decision to move a class to remote learning for a short period of time.

In this situation, the principal will communicate this information to families of the affected class. Additionally, the principal will send a full-school letter to keep the community informed.

Please note that a student or staff member will only be able to return to school after they’ve completed and have passed the COVID-19 school and child care screening.

School-wide absence monitoring

School boards are required to report all absences daily to the Ministry of Education. Data for all Ontario school boards is posted at Ontario.ca and reflects the previous school day absence data. Please note that the information on this website includes all absences, which may not be related to COVID-19 (for example, absences due to a medical appointment or a religious holiday).

Schools are monitoring this data closely and when a school is close to the 30 percent threshold of absences due to illness, the Board will work closely with our public health units to determine the next steps together. Should the number of illnesses (either in students or staff, or both) be too high to maintain a healthy and safe school, a class or entire school may move to remote learning temporarily. If there is a situation where there are multiple staff absences due to illness, or the inability to fill those absences with occasional teachers, the school may need to close for a short period of time and asynchronous learning (without a live teacher) will be available but no remote learning will be offered. This information will be communicated with the school community.

Reminder

If a class and/or school is open to in-person learning, however parents/guardians choose to keep their child(ren) home, or if your child is isolating and/or home due to illness, or if a classroom is temporarily closed and remote learning is not available, your child’s online classroom platform will contain assignments, activities, and/or tasks for them to complete their learning asynchronously.

TLDSB’s proactive approach of temporarily moving classrooms to remote learning when there are increases of illness in the classroom is designed to keep our school buildings open. We will continue to monitor classrooms and schools daily and make decisions with the information we have to keep our community safe.

Please remember to screen your children for COVID-19 symptoms each morning, prior to attending school. If they are experiencing any symptoms commonly associated with COVID-19, they must stay home.

If you have any questions, please reach out to your child’s school directly.

Please see the letter below from the Minister of Education, Stephen Lecce, to all Ontario parents/guardians regarding the return to in-person learning:

Minister of Education letter.

Dear TLDSB families,

The Ontario government announced that schools will resume in-person learning starting on Monday, January 17. This means that all Trillium Lakelands District School Board (TLDSB) elementary and secondary schools will be open to in-person learning on January 17.

Please see the following health and safety reminders for in-person learning, as well as NEW measures put in place:

Daily self-screening

The strengthened screening requirements in the Ontario screening tool for schools and child care centres are designed to help protect students. Updated guidelines to testing and isolation are also reflected in the online screening tool.

Daily screening and monitoring of symptoms by students and staff is critical to limiting the transmission of COVID-19 and keeping schools safe and open for in-person learning. As an additional layer of protection, TLDSB schools will be performing daily on-site confirmation of screening for all students and staff.

All students who are experiencing a symptom(s) suggestive of COVID-19, as identified in the screening tool for schools and child care centres, or have received a confirmed positive test result, must not attend school, must self-isolate regardless of vaccination status, and should follow the guidance provided in the screening tool.

Masking

A friendly reminder that all TLDSB students Kindergarten to Grade 12 are required to wear a well-fitting mask, either cloth or a medical mask.

Schools will provide high-quality, three-ply cloth masks to students who need a higher quality mask than the single or two-ply masks that some are relying on.

COVID-19 case and contact management

Effective December 31, 2021, the province suspended the requirement for schools to report COVID-19 cases within schools, as outlined in the Ontario government’s interim guidance for schools and child care.

This means that schools are not required to notify the health unit if a student, staff or visitor has gone home with symptoms of COVID-19, or reports to the school that they have tested positive for COVID-19 on a rapid antigen or a PCR test. This also means that the health unit will not send letters home to dismiss a cohort if a student or staff member has symptoms or tests positive for COVID-19.

Reporting Daily Absenteeism Data

Principals will be required to report school absences to the local public health unit if the absences in the school exceed 30 percent of the school enrolment.

Absenteeism data for schools is being collected by the Ministry of Education and will be posted daily at Ontario.ca starting January 24.

Rapid antigen and PCR tests

Rapid antigen test instructions

Rapid antigen tests (RAT) will be provided to students. According to the Minister of Education’s announcement, elementary students and staff will initially receive two tests. Secondary students will also receive rapid antigen tests at a later date. More information on these kits and the frequency of their availability will be shared with families as soon as we have this information.

These tests are voluntary and therefore a negative result is not required to attend in-person learning. Students/staff must stay home if they receive a positive result from the rapid antigen at-home test. Please note that, per health unit direction, a positive rapid antigen test result will no longer require the individual to follow up with a PCR test for confirmation. Individuals must follow the isolation protocols outlined in the screening tool if they do receive a positive rapid antigen test result.

Additionally, TLDSB schools have a limited supply of take-home PCR self-collection kits for students and staff experiencing only symptoms most commonly associated with COVID-19 while at school. These individual tests come with information on how to take the test as well as where to take the completed test for processing.

Planning for potential temporary remote learning

If there is a need for a class or school to move to temporary remote learning or be closed to staff and students due to multiple illnesses in the school building, families will be notified directly as quickly as possible after the decision has been made. Please know that there are many factors considered in making this decision with the most important one being student and staff safety, as well as the safe operation of the school.

All TLDSB families should be prepared that this scenario may occur and thus should have alternative/contingency plans in place.

Individual students who are at home due to illness, isolation, or for other reasons

If a class and/or school is open to in-person learning and parents/guardians choose to keep their child(ren) home, or if your child is isolating and/or home due to illness, your child’s online classroom platform will contain assignments, activities, and/or tasks for them to complete their learning asynchronously (without a live teacher).

Transportation

Families should be aware that while our transportation providers are committed to maintaining continuity of service, there is the potential that school vehicle routes may need to be temporarily suspended for a short period of time in the event that there are driver shortages due to driver illness or isolation requirements.

Cancellations will be posted beginning at 6 a.m. daily on mybustoschool.ca. Parents should be prepared, in advance, with alternate transportation arrangements should there be a route cancellation which affects their family.

Parents may subscribe to bus cancellation or delay alerts for their student’s routes by visiting mybustoschool.ca and selecting the Parent Portal.

Elementary – enhanced cohorting measures

In an effort to limit the number of contacts, elementary students will be required to cohort with their assigned class during recess, lunch, and outdoor breaks until further notice.

Indoor high contact sports and extracurricular activities

Indoor high contact and high-intensity activities, such as wrestling or basketball, multi-cohort choirs, and wind instrument ensembles, will be paused temporarily to ensure the health and well-being of students.

Ventilation and HEPA filters

To support the focus on ventilation and air quality as part of Ontario’s plan to keep schools safe, of the 3,000 units being deployed across Ontario as announced by the Ministry of Education, TLDSB will be receiving additional HEPA filter units bringing the TLDSB total to 800 units.

Secondary school return to semesters

The Ontario government has announced that school boards may continue with a semestered timetable in February, unless directed otherwise by the local public health unit.

Thank you for assistance in keeping our school communities safe, as we move down the path of living with COVID-19. We look forward to welcoming staff and students back into schools.

If you have any questions, please reach out to your child’s school.

The Ontario government has ordered all publicly funded schools in Ontario to temporarily move to remote learning and thus Trillium Lakelands District School Board (TLDSB) elementary and secondary schools will be closed to students.

School staff are currently getting their online classrooms ready and providing technology pick-up for those who have requested it. Teachers will connect with their students on Wednesday, January 5, and full remote learning will start on Thursday, January 6, and continue until at least Monday, January 17, subject to public health trends and operational considerations.

Online learning instruction

All students have access to an online classroom using one of the following platforms: Google Classroom, Brightspace, or Seesaw. The school day schedule will continue to be followed and curriculum will be delivered via synchronous learning instruction (where student and teacher are both online) with students’ current classroom teacher.

Classroom teachers will reach out directly to students and/or their parents/guardians to ensure every student is ready for remote learning. If you have any questions or if your child requires access to a device to support their learning, please contact your child’s school directly.

Further information will be provided for families of students with special needs whose learning needs cannot be accommodated in a remote environment.

The Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health announced earlier today that all students in publicly funded schools in Ontario will have extended holiday break, returning to learning on Wednesday, January 5, 2022.

This means that Trillium Lakelands District School Board (TLDSB) elementary and secondary schools will resume learning for all students on Wednesday, January 5; students who have been attending school in-person will return to in-person learning at their school and students who have been attending [email protected] will also recommence classes. Staff will return to school buildings on Monday, January 3, to prepare for the return to learning.

If you would like to read more about the announcement made today, please visit the Ontario news release: Ontario Updating Public Health Measures and Guidance in Response to Omicron. The TLDSB Return to School Plan will be updated and shared with families next week. If you have any questions, please contact your child’s school directly.

Please see the letter below from the Government of Ontario regarding voluntary take-home rapid antigen screening kits for students over the holidays:

In an effort to promote a safer return to the classroom after the winter break, on behalf of the Government of Ontario for every child who attends a publicly-funded school in Ontario, Trillium Lakelands District School Board is providing take-home rapid antigen screening kits.

The rapid antigen screening kits are intended for use by any child that attends a publicly funded school, regardless of their vaccination status. Rapid antigen screening kits are to be distributed to students who participate in in-person learning. This testing option will not be available to students who have been learning remotely since September 2021.

Please note, your child’s participation in this rapid antigen screening is voluntary. Students are not required to participate in order to return to the classroom after the winter break.

While providing students with rapid antigen screening kits is an important tool for managing the spread of COVID-19, vaccination remains the most effective protection against the virus and its variants. Ensuring that children and youth are vaccinated will provide them with a strong level of protection and help to keep schools open and as safe as possible.

It is also important to remember that we all need to continue with key public health strategies that have been effective in keeping this pandemic under control, including staying home when sick, getting tested if you have symptoms, washing your hands frequently and wearing a face covering as required.

Take-home rapid antigen screening kits will be sent home with students next week and will include further instructions for parents/guardians. You can also learn more by reading the BTNX Rapid Response™ instructions document or by watching the Rapid Response COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test Device video.

Please see the information below from our two local health units, Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (Muskoka area) and the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit (City of Kawartha Lakes and Haliburton), regarding upcoming COVID-19 vaccine community clinics and information sessions for eligible children aged 5 to 11.

SMDHU

SMDHU letter

HKPRDHU

COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11 year webpage
COVID-19 vaccination clinics webpage. Please note, the Provincial Booking System will also have the most up-to-date listing of available clinics.
Watch this video recording of the Fast Facts on the COVID-19 Vacs for Kids Panel Discussion held December 2.
To learn more, visit the health unit’s website.

Spruce Glen Public School closure

The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) has made the difficult decision to temporarily close Spruce Glen Public School, taking effect December 1. All classes will move to remote learning, as the health unit continues to investigate the outbreak, with an established target date of Monday, December 13, to reopen the school.

Students and staff who have been identified as close contacts in the affected cohorts, and other children (18 years and under) living in the same home as those identified as close contacts, should continue to follow the isolation and testing instructions given to them in the health unit letter they received.

We will communicate directly with families once we have more information.

If you have any further questions, visit the health unit’s website or contact Health Connection at 705-721-7520 (toll free 1-877-721-7520).

Dear TLDSB parents/guardians,

Please see the letter below from the Chief Medical Officer of Health regarding availability of the COVID-19 vaccine to youth ages five to 11.

Chief Medical Officer of Health letter.

Dear TLDSB parents/guardians,

With the upcoming holiday break taking place on Monday, December 20, to Friday, December 31 (inclusive), we wanted to provide families with a friendly reminder about the federal guidelines regarding travel and public health unit guidelines with gatherings over the holidays.

Travel

Although Canada has lifted its global travel advisory that asked Canadians to avoid travel for non-essential reasons, it advises Canadians to be aware of the COVID-19 situation wherever they are headed, as well as what is required upon entry into Canada.

If you are thinking of travelling over the holidays, here are some things to consider before you make arrangements:

  • Learn about the travel advisories related to COVID-19.
  • Understand how the Quarantine Act applies to traveller’s arriving in Canada. There are different requirements for travellers who are fully vaccinated vs not fully vaccinated.
  • This includes requirements for school-aged children. Please be aware that unvaccinated children are not to attend school/child care for 14 days after returning to Canada, even if they traveled with a vaccinated companion.

More information can be found on the Government of Canada website.

Gatherings
Our Board covers two health units. Please review your local health unit guidelines on gatherings over the holiday:

Return to school after the holidays

It is important to get back into the habit of screening when children return to school after the holiday break. To help keep schools safe, please review the COVID-19 school and child care screening and complete it each day before your child goes to school.

Specifically, students cannot attend school:

  • If they or anyone in their household has COVID-19 symptoms.
  • If they have been notified as a close contact of a positive case or are an unvaccinated sibling of a close contact.
  • If they have travelled outside of Canada in the last 14 days (unless they have no symptoms and are fully vaccinated).

For more information, visit the COVID-19 school and child care screening page on the government’s website.

Dear Muskoka area families,

Please see the letter below from the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) letting families know that effective Wednesday, November 24, SMDHU will be implementing changes to the health unit’s order for self-isolation (Class Orders under Section 22).

SMDHU letter

Please see the letter below from the Board’s two local health units, the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit and the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, regarding immunization data collection.

Health unit letter.

Please see the letter below from Minister of Education, Stephen Lecce, to all Ontario parents/guardians regarding the return to school:
Minister of Education letter

Dear TLDSB parents/guardians,

As you prepare for your first day of school tomorrow, this is a friendly reminder that all Trillium Lakelands District School Board (TLDSB) students who will be attending in-school, must complete the provincial COVID-19 School Screening every day before they come to school. The health screening has changed, so please carefully read the instructions. We look forward to welcoming you to school tomorrow.

Vaccination clinics

Schools in the City of Kawartha Lakes and Haliburton County

Please find letters below from the Haliburton Kawartha Lakes Pine Ridge District Health Unit (HKPRDHU) about upcoming vaccination clinics to be held in secondary schools on specific dates in September and October. One letter is for families of elementary students, the other for families of secondary students. These vaccination clinics are being organized by the health unit and information about informed consent is detailed in their letter. Please carefully review the information with your student and contact the health unit if you have any questions.

HKPRDHU – Elementary letter
HKPRDHU – Secondary letter

Schools in the District of Muskoka

Please find a letter below from the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) about upcoming vaccination clinics to be held September 14 at Gravenhurst High School and September 17 at Huntsville High School. These vaccination clinics are being organized by the health unit and information about informed consent is detailed in their letter. Please carefully review the information with your student and contact the health unit if you have any questions.

SMDHU – Parent letter

Return to School Plan 2021 for Families

Well-being and safety are the primary focus for students and staff in Trillium Lakelands District School Board (TLDSB). The TLDSB Return to School Plan 2021 for Families offers support for a safe return to school for staff and students. To view the full plan, visit the Return to School Plan 2021 for Families page.

Parents/guardians are asked to contact their child’s school if they have any questions.

All other COVID-19 information and updates can be found on the COVID-19 Response page.

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