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What to expect in WECDSB schools

Restrictions lifted
Posted on 03/10/2022
covid info graphic

Dr. Kieran Moore, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, made an announcement yesterday regarding a significant number of COVID-19 restrictions which will be lifted in the coming days. Many of these changes directly affect school operations.


While we are certainly pleased to see that scientific evidence on a provincial level has allowed for the easing of some of these restrictions, we will proceed cautiously and remain committed to following the guidance of our local Medical Officer of Health. 


Among the changes announced yesterday, here’s what you can expect in WECDSB schools:


As of March 14:


Staff members and visitors will no longer be subject to the mandatory COVID-19 vaccination disclosure policy, which also means that unvaccinated staff will no longer be required to conduct rapid antigen tests three times per week (Click here for our current staff and essential visitor vaccination rates).


As of March 21:


Masks


The wearing of masks and eye protection will be an individual choice for staff, students and visitors as they will no longer be required; PPE will continue to be provided to school boards by the provincial government and wearing a mask and/or eye protection will be an individual choice.


Although masks are no longer required, we respect every individual’s right to make their own decisions regarding the use of PPE based on their comfort level. We are committed to making sure that those individuals who choose to continue using PPE are supported and we encourage everyone in our school communities to be considerate and respectful of individual decisions.


Screening


Although daily self-screening for symptoms with the use of the provincial screening tool is still strongly encouraged, schools will no longer be conducting onsite verification of screening or collecting any daily attestation forms. As a reminder, anyone who is sick or has any new or worsening symptoms of illness should stay home until their symptoms are improving for 24 hours (or 48 hours for nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhea) and should seek assessment from their health care provider if needed.


Individuals returning from international travel are reminded to follow current federal travel requirements, including those related to masking in public places.



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, which means we will eliminate our current elementary and secondary lunch room practices.


In-person gatherings


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, masses and assemblies).


Field trips may resume and spectators will be allowed to attend athletic events.

 

We will continue to follow other health and safety measures in our schools by promoting hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette, maintaining enhanced cleaning and disinfecting protocols, and following ventilation best practices.


In conclusion, we understand that many students, staff and families will have many more questions about these changes. As always we remain committed to providing our school communities with information in a timely fashion and we will continue to provide updates as they become available.


We would also like to acknowledge the patience and understanding of our students and their families as we have navigated through this pandemic, as well as our entire staff as they have continued to meet the needs of our school communities under extremely challenging circumstances. 


As Dr. Moore indicated in his remarks yesterday, March 11 is a National Day of Observance to commemorate the people who lost their lives and the significant impacts we have all felt because of COVID-19, and as a Catholic school community, we hope you will remember to keep those people in your prayers.


We hope all of our staff, students and their families have a wonderful March Break.


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