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What are the new enhanced health and safety measures announced by the Ontario government in February 2021?
New – February 19, 2021
The Ontario government has enhanced a number of health and safety measures, outlined below.
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.
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
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.
The School Year and Timelines
The Ministry of Education, with guidance from public health determines when it is safe for students to be at school.
Parents can choose between having their child for in-person, full-time classroom learning or participate in online teacher-led learning at home in our virtual school. At this time, in-person learning will take place through a conventional delivery with enhanced health measures (all students attending daily). If needed, we are prepared to modify the model based on advice and guidance from the Ministry of Education and public health.
What if my family wants to switch the school experience from remote online learning to face-to-face instruction?
Requests to switch learning platforms are considered on a case by case basis, and depend on class sizes and timetabling restrictions.
Your Child’s School Experience
If you are new to our board or have moved to another area within Chatham-Kent or the County of Lambton, you are able to register your child at www.st-clair.net and click on Register for School.
Chatham-Kent Lambton Administrative School Services (CLASS), the regional transportation consortium, follows public health directives about student health and safety on busses. CLASS provides transportation services for all eligible students.
For information, visit www.cklass.ca/covid.
The St. Clair Catholic is works collaboratively with municipal partners (Chatham-Kent and County of Lambton), childcare operators, and Chatham-Kent Lambton Administrative School Services (CLASS). The child care supports include: Extended Day Programs, Before and After School Programs, Licensed Child Care Programs; and EarlyON Centres.
For up-to-date information, visit www.cklass.ca/services/child-care/.
Students who participate in these programs are part of two cohorts (classroom and childcare). Student information is maintained for contact tracing purposes as needed.
As much distancing as possible between students, between students and staff, and between staff members is promoted. Full physical distancing may not be possible in all classrooms settings. Therefore, it is recommended by public health authorities that other public health measures be put in place, such as masking, screening, cohorting, hand hygiene and enhanced cleaning measures.
Cohorting refers to the practice of keeping students together in a single group throughout their school day, with limited exposure to multiple teachers or other students in the school. The purpose is to limit the number of other students that a single student is in contact with and facilitate contact tracing, should that become necessary.
The key school experience is as similar as possible to before COVID-19. While at school, efforts are being made to limit student movement around the school, with specialist teachers coming to the students instead of students moving to teachers, with the exception of Physical Education. If weather conditions permit, outdoor learning takes place to allow for more physical distancing. There have been changes in the timing of recesses, lunches, and bathroom breaks as they are staggered to support cohorting.
Lockers are not used at secondary schools. Lockers may be used at elementary schools following appropriate health and safety procedures (i.e. physical distancing, etc.) Students are asked to limit the personal belongings that they bring back and forth to school each day.
In elementary and applicable secondary Health and Physical Education courses (optional), students continue instruction with additional health and safety considerations. Planned activities will support physical distancing (non-contact) while also limiting the use of shared equipment. Equipment is disinfected regularly. Students practice proper hand hygiene before and after participating in physical activity.
French instruction continues.
The library / collaborative learning space is closed. Resources will be made available to students in alternative ways.
School assemblies or other large gatherings such as liturgies and masses are suspended while there continues to be gathering restrictions. If possible, virtual options will be offered instead of in person gatherings.
Individual Education Plans (IEP) continue to outline the student’s strengths, needs, accommodations and modifications. These plans are followed to support the learning needs of students.
Mental health and well-being are core elements of the school reopening plan. Students on the current caseload continue to be supported. If a student is experiencing issues that are affecting their school experience or general well-being, school social workers or child and youth workers will help them to find solutions and to make a wellness plan. To access the school well-being team, please contact the principal of your school directly to inquire about support. For more information go to www.st-clair.net
Families also have the option to choose the Voluntary Learn at Home Model. If families require additional technology support please contact the school.
Elementary Voluntary Learn at Home
- Students will participate in full days of learning, with a combination of synchronous (live teacher led learning) and asynchronous (student learning using digital platform) activities, as prescribed by the Ministry
- Students will be using a digital learning platform (e.g., Edsby, Google Classroom, D2L) and will learn how to use these platforms effectively
- Synchronous learning will include direct instruction, whole group and small group learning opportunities
- Asynchronous learning will include a variety of learning opportunities posted to a digital platform (e.g. videos, recorded lessons, learning tasks, independent practice)
- Classes will be taught by qualified teachers but may not be from the child’s home school and will include students from across the system in grade groupings
- Attendance will be monitored; students expected to participate fully every day
- For students in French Immersion we will make every effort to provide instruction in French; students will be able to return to French Immersion program regardless of availability through distance learning
- Ontario curriculum will be taught, assessed and evaluated
- Student learning daily minimum learning time by grade level:
- 180 minutes of live (or synchronous) learning each day.
- 120 minutes of on-demand (or asynchronous) learning each day.
- Gr 1 – 8:
- 225 minutes of live (or synchronous) learning each day.
- 75 minutes of on-demand (or asynchronous) learning each day.
Secondary Voluntary Learn at Home
- Enhanced distance/remote learning with access to learning materials posted online to support both synchronous and asynchronous learning
- Online courses will be available to students offered by St. Clair Catholic teachers
- Students should expect to have different teachers deliver the online course rather than their scheduled teacher at the student’s home school
- Students may also have access to e-learning courses offered via E-Learning Consortia
- Fully independent learning models are also available through the TVO Independent Learning Centre (ILC)
- All reasonable requests by students for independent study will be considered and students should be able to access guidance counsellors to confirm that credits support their academic pathway.
All field trips are suspended until further notice.
All extra curricular sports and activities are suspended until further notice.
The Secondary School Experience
Students attend school in-person for a full day (300 instructional minutes) Monday to Friday. Students take two courses at a time for a 10 week period, in an alternating week schedule. Students take the first subject for a full day, each day, for one week. Students take the second subject for a full day, each day, the following week. Courses will alternate week by week for the remainder of the Quadmester.
Staff use their professional judgement and course proficiency to adapt and adjust the delivery of the curriculum in this model with appropriate activities and breaks to maximize student engagement and success.
The Quadmester model was developed to reduce student contact by limiting students to a single cohort per week. The timetable limits direct and indirect student contacts to approximately 100 students per week, as outlined in Ministry documents and advised by Public Health Ontario.
My child has a hard time focusing for long periods of time. I am concerned they will not be able to pass their course (math, science, etc.) with this much of an accelerated timeline in a Quadmester model.
Having one teacher for an entire day provides teachers many opportunities to provide feedback to support student achievement. Student success and special education will work collectively with classroom teachers to support student achievement.
Similar to the rules in place during dress down days, student attire including masks will need to align with the student dress code.
My child uses the Learning Centre for extra support, extra time, writing tests…. can they still use it?
Academic supports remain in place to support the implementation of accommodations outlined in an IEP and IPRC.
What happens when a child is sick with a cold/flu/COVID and needs to stay home in case it is COVID for 14 days. How will their instructions be given during this time? Will they only receive homework during that time?
Teachers use a digital learning management system that will allow students to submit and receive work and to have their work evaluated while the student is ill/symptomatic at home.
If I choose Voluntary Learn from Home for secondary school, are courses like foods and technology offered?
Not all courses will be offered in an on-line environment. Contact your school guidance office for further details.
Students are expected to be in uniform. On-line orders can be made at https://www.mccarthyuniforms.ca/
If we chose Voluntary Learn from Home, will my child still feel like they are part of the school community? (ie. grad photos, year book, etc.)
Students who choose Voluntary Learn from Home may or may not be placed with staff or students from their home school. Opportunities such as graduation photos and yearbooks will continue to be available for all students in the school regardless of the learning platform they select.
Students/families who do not have sufficient technology or internet access are asked to contact the school Principal to receive support.
How will Grade 9 students be integrated into the school without typical grade 9 orientation and spirit days?
St Patrick’s and UCC both offer transition opportunities for students entering Grade 9.
School extracurricular activities have not commenced. Once it is safe to do so we will revisit the introduction of extracurriculars.
Co-operative education is offered in both face to face and virtual environments. Placements are vetted for safety by the Co-op Department and with the support of our Co-operative Education Lead. Students are able to earn 2 co-op credits over the course of one Quadmester; or four co-operative education credits over two Quadmesters.
LKSSAA student athletic activities are cancelled until further notice. All OFSAA and SWOSSAA activities have been cancelled for the remainder of the school year. This means that there will be no organized activities for athletics. No practices or gatherings of student athletes and coaches in any capacity will be permitted. LKSSAA student athletic activities may resume in the future when it is deemed safe to do so by school boards in consultation with local public health authorities. Updated information will be posted to the LKSSAA website when it becomes available.
Does Secondary online learning follow the Quadmester model, or do students take their regular four courses each day?
Secondary on-line learning taught by St. Clair Catholic teachers will be instructed via the Quadmester model. Depending on student requests and qualifications of remote learning teachers, we cannot guarantee that every student will have all 4 courses delivered in this model. When this is not possible students may be placed into the provincial e-learning consortia, which typically works on a 5 month model.
Fully online (e-Learning) courses offered through the e-Learning consortia are taught by Ontario teachers from across the province. These courses follow a five-month (semestered) asynchronous model. Courses offered by TVO’s Independent Learning Centre happen outside of the St. Clair Catholic District School Board. Courses are fully online and asynchronous.
Requests to switch learning platforms are considered on a case by case basis, and depend on class sizes and timetabling restrictions.
Learn at home is delivered using a digital platform. In the majority of cases textbooks are not used.
Is additional technology available to families who need devices or internet access to learn at home?
St. Clair Catholic is committed to working with families to support learning at home. Our Helpdesk is available to answer questions and assist families in finding solutions.
Synchronous learning lessons may be recorded as needed. Speak to the school Principal for more information.
Unplanned internet outages are bound to happen from time to time. As soon as your connection is restored, send a message to your teacher(s) to let them know the time period missed and the last item for which your children were present online.
St. Clair Catholic is committed to working with families to support learning at home. Contact the school Principal to discuss your individual needs.
If students choose online learning, will they be able to have grad photos taken and be included in the yearbook?
We will make every effort to facilitate this with the support and advice of our public health units. Contact the school Principal for more information.
Yes, the St. Clair Catholic team works closely with the Lambton and Chatham-Kent Medical Officers of health to develop measures which promote health, safety and well-being of all students and staff.
Read a letter to parents/guardians from CK and Lambton Public Health at:
The Ontario government has released an updated COVID-19 daily school screening assessment tool, which is available at https://covid-19.ontario.ca/school-screening/
All students (or parents/guardians on behalf of students), staff and visitors must complete the screening before attending a school or facility of the St. Clair Catholic District School Board. All staff and secondary school students are required to confirm each day that they have completed and passed the daily screening.
A printable pdf version of the screening tool is also available by clicking here.
Physical distancing is supported by extensive school signage throughout the school building, both inside and outside. The timing of recesses, lunches, bathroom breaks, and entry / exit to the building help to support physical distancing. Surplus furniture has been removed from classrooms to maximize useable space.
Building access is significantly limited under the advisements of our local public health units. Parents and all other visitors are asked to call the school office ahead of time to schedule meetings with the school principal or speak with other school staff. Any visitors to the school will be required to self-screen and to wear a medical mask while on school premises.
The Ontario Ministry of Education has mandated the requirement to wear masks at school for all students in Grades 1 to 12.
Students in Kindergarten are encouraged, but not required to wear masks.
Students in Grades 1 to 12 who ride buses must be wearing a mask when they get on board.
St. Clair Catholic has developed a helpful new resource for parents/guardians. Click here for more information.
Many preventative practices and supports are in place to support the health, safety and well-being of the students and staff to manage risk and support the health of all.
- Daily student and staff self screening before attending school.
- All staff and secondary school students are required to confirm each day that they have completed and passed the daily screening.
- The teacher and the students within a classroom are a cohort. Cohorting refers to the practice of keeping students together throughout the school day with limited exposure to multiple teachers and other students in the school.
- Hand hygiene measures (hand washing or sanitizing) are scheduled and part of classroom routines. Students are taught proper procedures and signage, as outlined by Ontario Public Health officials, will be posted.
- School signage is located both inside and outside school buildings, to help direct the movement of students and to promote health, safety and wellness. Types of signage include directional signs, physical distancing reminders, handwashing/sanitizing reminders and directing visitor access to schools.
- Physical distancing is practiced whenever possible. To maximize physical distancing, movement of students both inside and outside the building is controlled to reduce contact among students and staff.
- Classroom furniture has been arranged strategically and unnecessary furniture removed.
- Recess/snack, lunch and class transition times are staggered.
- Procedures for hallway/staircase flow are in place.
- Large group gatherings and assemblies are suspended.
- Outside activities are encouraged, weather permitting.
- Enhanced cleaning measures are in place at all schools and Board facilities to reduce the risk of transmission.
- Health and safety training took place for all St. Clair Catholic personnel prior to the return to school.
- Developmentally appropriate health and safety training for students.
Based on direction from the Ontario Ministry of Education and public health, any student who becomes ill with one or more symptoms of COVID-19 while attending class will be immediately removed from the classroom to a designated area at the school.
Parents/guardians will be called and required to pick up their child, along with any siblings that attend the school, as soon as possible.
Bused students who become ill during the school day will not be permitted to ride the bus home.
St. Clair Catholic is prepared to respond to changes as necessary, based on directions from the Ministry and provincial and local Medical Officers of Health.
Health and safety training took place for all St. Clair Catholic personnel prior to the return to school in September 2020 and continues for new staff hired.
Students received an orientation to our enhanced health, safety and well-being measures and continues for new students when they arrive at school.