On January 26, 2022, the Trustees of the Upper Canada District School Board received an update on school operations, presented by Superintendent Marhsa McNair, and an update on remote learning by Susan Rutters.
Since the return to in-person learning on January 17, students started to receive two rapid antigen test kits last week, to use if they develop symptoms. If a student tests positive, they will be required to self-isolate for a period of time determined by their age, and vaccination status.
Marsha McNair informed the board that under the Education Act and Health Protection and Promotion Act, school principals have a legal obligation to report communicable disease in the school, or if they suspect that a student may have a communicable disease.
Also, Principals are to email their respective health units if there are any cases where a student attending in person shows COVID-19 symptoms while at school. These emails should be sent daily, and provide the number of students showing COVID-19 symptoms at school, and include the students grade, and age only, not their name.
COVID-19 Info pages have been created on the school website to provide daily information on the number of students sent home with COVID-19 symptoms, and what classroom they are part of.
“As we will no longer be sending families notifications when there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 within our schools, a new COVID-19 Info page has been created on each school website as a means to provide transparency.”, said Superintendent McNair.
The Ministry will also be requiring schools to monitor their own absenteeism rates, and can be seen publicly on Ontario.ca. If absenteeism rises above 30%, principals are required to notify their local Public Health Unit.
If schools have several staff absences, they have until 8 p.m to shift to remote learning for the next day, to give parents time to come up with alternate arrangements.
Superintendent Susan Rutters delivered the last portion of the presentation, and gave the board an update on remote learning.
The increased presence of COVID-19 in the community has resulted in some students remaining in remote learning.
“Students who have requested to remain in a remote learning program, as of January 19th, have been able to do so, with very little, or no delay”, said Susan Rutters.
The presentation shows that as of January 19, 2022, 7.5 per cent of elementary school students are in a remote learning program, compared to 2.4 per cent in winter break. 8.5 per cent of secondary school students are in a remote learning program, compared to 2.7 per cent in winter break.
Susan Rutters updated the board on the Return to Semester Model in Secondary Schools, which is being supported by public health partners EOHU and LGLDHU, to have students return to UCDSB schools on February 2, 2022. Students will adopt the District-Wide Timetable (originally implemented in September 2020), and take the same 4 courses from February 2 to June 27.