On February 3rd, the Minister of Education announced that in-person learning will resume in schools that fall within 13 additional public health units, including Halton Region.
This means that all HCDSB elementary and secondary schools will reopen for in-person learning on Monday, February 8, 2021.
What does this mean for elementary students?
- All HCDSB Catholic elementary schools will reopen for in-person learning on Monday, February 8th.
- Students will return to the learning format that was in place prior to the Christmas break. This means, that if your child was attending their home school and learning in-person, they will return to that format. If your child was enrolled in the Virtual Elementary School before Christmas, they will remain in the Virtual School.
Transition in Learning Formats
At the end of November 2020, parents were invited to request a change in learning format for their children. The changes were originally scheduled to take effect on January 11th, however were delayed due to the closure of our schools and the move to teacher-led remote learning.
For students where a change in learning format was requested, the transition to the new format will now take place on Tuesday, February 16th.
This will offer a coordinated transition to ensure that student transportation is in place for all eligible students, and provide teachers with an opportunity to complete Term 1 assessments (report cards) for their current students.
Before and After School Program
- All Before and After School Programs will reopen on Monday, February 8th.
- Child care centres will remain open.
What does this mean for secondary students?
- All HCDSB Catholic secondary schools will reopen for in-person learning on Monday, February 8th, following the same hybrid learning model that has been in place throughout the school year.
- Students will remain in the same cohort (A, B, or C) and follow their cohort schedule.
- Quadmester 3 will begin on Monday, February 8th, with Cohort A at school on Monday, while students in Cohort B and C will be learning online from home.
Enhanced Health & Safety Protocols
As we prepare for a safe and healthy return to in-person learning, students and families are reminded to review the Health and Safety Protocols available on our website.
In addition to the protocols that have been in place all year, the Ministry of Education has also implemented additional health and safety measures.
Monitor for Symptoms – for Elementary Students
Parents are asked to continue monitoring their children for symptoms of COVID-19 and complete the Ontario School Screening Tool for each child each morning, before the start of school: https://covid-19.ontario.ca/school-screening/.
Confirmation of Screening – for Secondary Students
Effective Monday, February 8th, secondary students attending in-person learning will need to provide confirmation that they have completed the self-screening and received a ‘pass’ to attend school. Any student who does not pass the School Screening Tool must stay home and self-isolate until they meet the criteria for return.
- A daily reminder sent to students each morning from the school. The reminder will include a link to the Ontario School Screening Tool.
- Students will be required to show their classroom teacher the “pass” confirmation on their personal device (e.g., phone, laptop) as they enter the classroom, or show a printed copy of the “pass” confirmation.
- Students who require the use of a school device to complete the screening are asked to report to the office or area designated by the school Principal prior to going to class to complete their daily screening.
- Parents and guardians of students requiring assistance, including students with special education needs, are asked to contact their child’s teacher to make arrangements for alternate ways to confirm that they have completed the Ontario School Screening and received a pass to attend school. This may include setting up an electronic practice, verbal communication, or the provision of paper copies of the screening tool that can be sent with the student in the morning.
- No student data (e.g., screenshot, pdf, paper confirmation, etc.) will be retained by the school.
All HCDSB students must wear a mask at all times when at school. Up until the Christmas break, student were required to wear masks indoors only. The Ministry now requires that masks be worn outdoors where physical distancing cannot be maintained.
As we cannot ensure physical distancing is being maintained while students are outside during recess or on school grounds, effective Monday, February 8th, all students will now be required to wear their masks when outside at recess and outside after lunch. Your child’s school will ensure that mask breaks are provided throughout the day.
You may want to consider sending your child to school with multiple masks so that masks can be replaced when they become wet during outdoor use. You are encouraged to read this tip sheet created by Halton Region Public Health on the Use of Non-Medical Masks or Face Coverings in Schools.
To help minimize the spread of COVID-19, we have received Ministry direction to continue to follow physical distancing measures both inside our schools and in outside areas. School staff will be monitoring to ensure that students are not gathering in groups before school starts and after school. Parents are encouraged to review with their families the need to follow physical distancing guidelines and to remind older children to refrain from congregating in groups before and after school.
As a reminder, parents are also asked not to gather during drop off and pick up times, and to refrain from carpooling if physical distancing and the use of PPE (masks) cannot be maintained.
Targeted Asymptomatic Testing
The Ontario government has indicated that it will offer targeted asymptomatic testing for school communities that receive higher rates of positive COVID-19 cases. This testing would be offered on a voluntary basis. Halton Region Public Health is currently developing a plan for Halton schools and details will be shared at a later date.
Halton Student Transportation Services (HSTS) will resume for eligible students on Monday, February 8, 2021. Students who ride the bus must be wearing masks, and for contact tracing purposes, students must adhere to their bus seating plans.
Technology & Devices
Elementary school principals will provide further information about the return of any borrowed devices.
Mental Health Supports
The shift from remote to in-person learning can be a very stressful time for many families. Parents are welcome to visit our website for Mental Health & Well-Being resources and support. School Mental Health Ontario also has a number of excellent resources to help our HCDSB community navigate through this difficult period: www.smho-smso.ca.
We look forward to welcoming our students and staff safely back to school for in-person learning on Monday, February 8th!