Friday, Sept. 2, 2022
Dear Parents and Guardians,
We hope that all Near North District School Board (NNDSB) students, staff and their families had a safe and enjoyable summer. We are eager to begin a new school year that will inspire, educate and support our families. We look forward to continuing supporting our rightsholders and stakeholders as appropriate.
The monthly Letter to Families, distributed on the first Friday of the month, is intended to keep you apprised of news that affects all students and families of NNDSB.
The past few years have been difficult for all of us, and we are proud of the efforts of students, staff and families who persevered through the pandemic. Student achievement and well-being are at the centre of everything we do at NNDSB, as illustrated in our Multi-Year Strategic Plan.
Circumstances of the last two years have shown the significant connection between mental health, well-being and learning. Mental health was recently announced as one of the five components of the Ministry of Education’s Plan to Catch Up.
NNDSB is working hard to ensure that students are returning to school next week to environments that are safe, warm and welcoming. Mental health supports are in place for learners and educators. Students and families who require mental health supports can visit this section of NNDSB’s website, and are encouraged to speak with a trusted staff member at their school.
The North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit will be following Ministry of Health guidance without any additional local measures in place to start the school year.
Based on the advice of the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, masks will be optional in schools, the board office and on school transportation vehicles. The government will continue to provide masks at schools for students, staff and visitors who choose to wear them, and hand sanitizer will continue to be provided at schools. Hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette should be promoted and integrated into the day.
The government recently announced changes to the five-day isolation period for COVID-19 patients. A person with any respiratory illnesses is being asked to stay home until they have seen an improvement in symptoms for 24 hours. After isolating, masks are to be work for 10 days from symptom onset when going back to school or work, and people should avoid contact with high-risk people and places. Staff and students are being urged to stay home if they are sick.
Families that are concerned about symptoms, exposure or testing can contact Ontario’s Testing and Isolation Information Line from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week at 1-888-777-0730 or by following the directions available on Ontario.ca/Exposed.
It is recommended that all staff and students self-screen daily before they attend school and stay home if they are feeling unwell to prevent the spread of illness.
NNDSB has an inventory of rapid antigen tests and will be able to access more through the school year to be used in accordance with provincial testing guidance. The board has tests available in pack of two or five tests.
Nipissing Parry Sound Student Transportation Services (NPSSTS), also known as the Consortium, provides school transportation services for NNDSB and the other three co-terminus boards.
Masking is not mandatory but is recommended on school vehicles. NPSSTS drivers who have an inventory may have masks for student use on board, but families that prefer their children to mask should send them to the bus with a mask from home.
Families will notice a change in the lights on school buses. Effective July 1, 2022, changes to the Highway Traffic Act provide for the use of amber warning lights at the top of the bus, along with the red stop lights. In addition, the wording on the back of the bus now reads “STOP WHEN RED LIGHTS FLASHING”.
Near North District School Board