In its on-going commitment to keep schools open and safe, the Ontario government has enhanced a number of health and safety measures, which are outlined below. They include:
- Changes to the provincial school and child care screening tool
- New isolation requirements for household members
- Asymptomatic voluntary COVID testing in schools
Provincial School and Child Care Screening Tool
All students, children and staff are required to screen for symptoms of illness every day before coming to school or child care. A link to the daily screening tool can be found on the main page of the Board website at www.st-clair.net or at the following link: https://covid-19.ontario.ca/school-screening/
The daily screening tool has been updated to include new provincial direction that staff, students and children with any new or worsening symptom of COVID-19, as indicated in the screening tool, even those with only one symptom, must stay home until:
- They receive a negative COVID-19 test result.
- They receive an alternative diagnosis by a health care professional, or
- It has been 10 days since their symptom onset and they are feeling better.
As a reminder, secondary school students and all staff are now required to provide daily confirmation of having self-screened prior to or upon their arrival at their school or work location. Any individual who does not pass this on-site screening procedure will be asked to return home and self-isolate until they meet the criteria for return.
Isolation Requirements for Household Contacts of Symptomatic Individuals
Parents/guardians should follow the advice of the daily provincial screening tool, which has been updated to include direction regarding isolation of household contacts for symptomatic individuals. Any questions regarding isolation of persons living in the same household as symptomatic individuals should be directed to public health.
Asymptomatic Voluntary COVID Testing in Schools
In a further effort to combat the spread of COVID-19 in our communities, the Ontario Ministry of Education has directed that voluntary asymptomatic testing of students will be conducted in all elementary and secondary schools in the province, including schools of the St. Clair Catholic District School Board.
At St. Clair Catholic, this initiative will be led by CLASS, a joint consortium with the Lambton Kent District School Board, which also manages transportation, child care and community use of schools. CLASS will be working with third party vendors to conduct the testing, which will take place in schools after hours. Only asymptomatic students (students with no COVID symptoms) will be tested. In addition, the tests are voluntary and only students whose parents/guardians have signed consent (or consenting students 18 years of age or older) will be tested. In order to protect privacy, test results will only be shared with parents/guardians/students and local public health authorities. Asymptomatic school staff who wish to be tested may also participate.
Lambton and Chatham-Kent Public Health will advise which school communities they believe should be prioritized for testing. The government has set a goal of five percent of elementary and secondary schools per week for testing.
St. Clair Catholic and CLASS are currently awaiting further information regarding which vendors will be conducting the tests.
More information regarding this initiative will be shared as it becomes available.
The St. Clair Catholic District School Board continues to follow direction from the Ontario government, Ontario Public Health and the Medical Officers of Health for the Chatham-Kent and Lambton public health units. We thank you in advance for following these important new health and safety measures, as together we work to keep our schools, our students and our staff safe and healthy.
Director of Education