Friday, Jan. 14, 2022
Dear Parents and Guardians,
Further to our letter of Wednesday, Jan. 12, this letter to families provides more information about the return to in-person learning on Monday. Near North District School Board (NNDSB) will continue to share details about the return to school as they become available.
Many workplaces are expecting to be short-staffed due to the transmissibility of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, and the new requirements around self-isolating. NNDSB is anticipating staff shortages, too.
If schools are not able to safely operate with the number of available staff, NNDSB will close schools. The announcement may be made the night before, the morning of the closure, or possibly even during the day in certain circumstances.
We understand the lack of notice will be problematic for many families. Unfortunately, it is a reality we face, and we want to give families advance notice so they may make contingency plans if their child’s school is closed.
NNDSB will work within the parameters outlined by the Ministry of Education, and situations will vary from school to school. If a school is closed, it will be communicated to affected families by the school through SchoolMessenger. Information will also be shared on NNDSB’s Facebook and Twitter accounts as soon as possible.
While schools may be closed, learning will continue online. Teachers will reach out to families about remote learning opportunities in the event of a school closure.
Effective Monday, Jan. 17, 2022, it will be mandatory that all JK/SK students wear masks.
High-quality, three-ply masks will be made available for all students at all schools. Schools also stock medical-grade masks for all students if needed.
Non-fit-tested N95 masks will be available for all staff.
The Ministry of Education announced it will be providing families with rapid antigen tests to assist in keeping schools safe for students and staff. The kits, like those sent home with students before the winter break, will be distributed next week.
NNDSB will be distributing all tests it has received. Schools and board offices do not have a stock of tests. More tests will be distributed once NNDSB receives more. Next. week, students will be given two tests each.
Instructions will be included with the tests. If the instruction sheet is misplaced, you may find the instructions for the tests here. There is also an instruction video. Rapid antigen tests are only to be used if a student is exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19.
All staff and students will be required to confirm they have successfully self-screened every day before coming to school.
If your family borrowed a device(s) from NNDSB for the return to online learning, please return all devices, charging blocks and cables to school next week.
On the advice of Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health and the local health unit, indoor high contact and high-intensity activities (such as wrestling, basketball, multi-cohort choirs and wind instrument ensembles, for example) have been paused. For the week of Jan. 17, all extra-curricular activities and practices will be paused. All interschool sports will be paused until Jan. 31, pending review by the health unit and co-terminus school boards.
As always, any important news will be shared with stakeholder groups, including families, by letter. The board’s website is also updated, with pandemic news located on the COVID-19 alerts page. News is also posted to the board’s Facebook and Twitter accounts.
NNDSB follows the direction of the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Health and the public health unit when devising COVID-19 plans. The health and safety of students and staff remains our top priority.
Near North District School Board