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Update- Details about Jan. 5 Return to School
Update to Families & Students - Details about the Return to School
Posted on 01/01/2022

Dear Parents, Guardians and Students, 

As we shared on Thursday, Dec. 30 via email and on social media, the provincial government has delayed the return to school  until Wednesday, Jan. 5. There will be no remote learning for students on Monday, Jan. 3 or Tuesday, Jan. 4 – it is a true extended winter break for them.

For Monday, Jan. 3 and Tuesday, Jan. 4, child care sites located in UCDSB schools may be offering full-day child care to school age children if they typically do so on non-instructional days.
 Please reach out to your provider to inquire about availability. 

On Monday and Tuesday, school staff will be getting up to date on the new health requirements that are now in place and preparing digital learning platforms. We recognize that students may need to move to remote learning for short periods as the cases of COVID-19 in our communities increase. 

Although information is changing rapidly, I want to provide you with some details that will be important for the return to school on Wednesday, Jan. 5 and this next phase of the pandemic. 

Screening and Isolation Practices
The provincial screening tool is being updated.
New symptoms are being added and there has been a change to isolation requirements. A significant change that families need to be aware of is that individuals with symptoms of COVID-19 will be required to isolate for five days or 10 days, depending on vaccination status. All household contacts must also isolate.

This means that if a student has symptoms of COVID-19, the student and their siblings must stay home from school for the duration of the isolation period. More details about isolationrequirements and steps the province is taking to keep families and staff safe is outlined in this joint letter from the Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health and the Minister of Education.

As mentioned prior to the break, all students will need to self-screen or be screened by a family member using the provincial school screening tool and return the signed Confirmation of Daily Screening Form each day. Please be sure to use the online provincial school screening tool (linked through the QR code on the Daily Screening Form) or here and not the printed version that was shared prior to the winter break as that version needs to be updated. 

Students are also encouraged to continue to use the Rapid Antigen Tests that were sent home prior to winter break in preparation for the return to in-person learning on Wednesday. If a student receives a positive test result, they must self-isolate according to the new public health guidelines, as outlined in the letter from the Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health and the Minster of Education.

Possible Class or School Closures due to Staffing Shortages
Since the beginning of this pandemic, school boards across the province have been impacted by staffing shortages. Now, with the new isolation requirements, in addition to the rapid spread of COVID-19, it will be even more difficult to secure staffing when the regular classroom teacher or educator is away. 

There may be times when a class or an entire school will need to close and move to remote learning on short notice. We want families to be aware of this reality so they can plan for it. Moving a class or a school to remote learning for even a short period of time will always be a last resortHowever, student safety is our top priority and we must ensure that we have proper supervision for students while they are at school. 

Remote Learning Options
If 
students are not able to attend school in-person, either because they need to self-isolateor for other reasons related to COVID-19, they will have two remote learning options: synchronous learning (in real-time), or asynchronous digital learning (independently, on their own time). 

In both cases, the student will be part of the regular class at their home school and will access digital learning materials that will be provided by the regular classroom teacher through Microsoft Teams or D2L.

If students who were previously learning in-person need to access remote learning, please contact your school principal directly

Over the coming days and weeks, as information changes and we receive additional guidance from our public health partners and the Ministry of Education, we will share that information with you and help to provide clarity on what it means for your family


As always, I want to thank you for your patience and understanding during these uncertain times. I’m wishing each of you, health and happiness for 2022. 


Sincerely, 

Ron Ferguson 

Director of Education

Upper Canada District School Board

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