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Update on Health Measures in Schools Starting Monday, March 21

March 10, 2022
SUBJECT: Update on Health Measures in Schools Starting Monday, March 21
Dear Parent or Guardian,
On March 9, 2022 the Government of Ontario announced the easing of certain Covid-19 measures, most of which will come into effect Monday, March 21, 2022. In partnership with local health units, the Conseil scolaire catholique Providence wishes to inform you of these changes and will continue to ensure that our schools remain safe and welcoming environments.  
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): As of March 21, students, staff, and visitors will no longer be required to wear a mask or eye protection both inside and outside our schools or administrative offices, including in the halls, classrooms, meeting rooms, or student transportation.  Some students and staff may choose to continue to wear masks or eye protection and will be supported in this choice.   
Travel during school breaks: Under current federal travel requirements, upon return from international travel, all individuals (regardless of their immunization status) must wear a mask at all times, for the first 14 days in Canada, when in public spaces (including schools and child care settings). They must also maintain a list of all close contacts and monitor themselves for signs and symptoms of COVID-19.  
Physical Distancing, Groups, and Gatherings: Cohorting and physical distancing will no longer be required in schools or in student transportation. Students will be able to play and learn together across cohorts, classes and grades, both indoors and outdoors, and during lunch and recess. Shared spaces, such as libraries, tech labs, theatres and music rooms can be fully utilized without distancing. Schools staff will be able to plan and host in-person events (e.g., proms, graduation ceremonies, and assemblies), with no capacity restrictions.  
Daily screening: Daily on-site confirmation of screening for all students and staff will no longer be required. However, staff and students should continue to self-screen daily before attending school using either the COVID-19 school and child care screening tool, or a screening tool designated by the local public health unit.
Staff and students who are sick or have any new or worsening symptoms of illness should stay home, follow guidelines provided by the screening tool, and seek assessment from a health care provider if needed. If your child develops symptoms during the day, the administrative team will ask you to come pick your child up and bring him or her back home. Rapid antigen tests (RATs) will continue to be available for symptomatic students and staff.  
Please note that school administrators are still required to report absenteeism rates to local public health units should they rise above 30%. Absenteeism rates will continue to be published on the Ontario government website at COVID-19: School Closures and Absenteeism.
We wish to remind families that good hand hygiene habits and respiratory etiquette are one of the most effective strategies to protect yourself and will continue to be integrated throughout the school day:  
  • Wash your hands frequently;
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze;
  • If you do not have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow;
  • Wash your hands after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose;
  • Wash your hands and your child’s hands after wiping their nose;
  • Stay home when you are sick (fever, cough, cold).
With your cooperation and support, we have been able to overcome the many challenges of the past 2 years and still provide a quality education to your children and ensure their well-being.  A measured approach will be used while implementing these recent changes.  We want to return as quickly as possible to a normal learning environment, however, all measures may not be in place on March 21st, 2022.  Dependent upon student age and learning profile, it may be preferable to work with them while we transition to this new reality.
Finally, we would like to take this opportunity to wish you a great spring break with your family.  
Yours sincerely,    
Joseph Picard
Director of Education