With the support of the Ontario Ministry of Education and the Medical Officers of Health for Chatham-Kent and Sarnia-Lambton, the St. Clair Catholic District School Board has taken the decision to return to full semester classes for Semester Two, beginning in February 2022. This change is for students who are enrolled in in-person classroom learning only.
We believe this model to be the best option for student learning and student success. Four classes per day permits a more measured rollout of the curriculum with a greater continuity of learning and less learning loss, due to week-long gaps between classes.
However, the full semester model will increase the number of student-to-student and student-to-staff contacts over the course of a day. In the event of a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the school, there will be an escalation in the number of exposures with more students and staff identified as close contacts. For students who are not fully immunized against COVID-19, this will mean a greater number of isolations during Semester Two. Fully immunized students who are identified as close contacts are not required to isolate; only to self-monitor for symptoms. They may continue to attend school as long as they are symptom-free.
Our Board and our schools will continue to follow all public health guidance, including daily screening using the Ontario government screening tool, hand hygiene, physical distancing, and enhanced cleaning protocols for high-touch surfaces.
It is important to note that, although the return to full semester in February 2022 represents our current planning, we are all well aware that in a pandemic public health measures are subject to sudden and rapid change. We will, of course, revisit this decision in the event of a change in direction from our local Medical Officers of Health or Public Health Ontario.
Thank you again for your support, as we continue to balance offering high quality and effective educational programming with the necessary protocols to keep our students and staff safe throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Director of Education