Letter to Families – Masking Requirement and Board Motion
We hope you all have enjoyed a relaxing March Break with your families and friends, and we look forward to welcoming back students next week.
With Monday just around the corner, we wanted to provide some clarity on what to expect when students return to class. Changes have been made to last week’s mask requirement, allowing for a two-week transition period to mitigate spread of COVID after March Break and accommodate students seeking to transition to remote learning.
Here’s what you need to know before heading back to school:
Masks in Schools
At a March 15 Special Board Meeting, the Board of Trustees rescinded previous motions on masking for students and staff, and passed an updated motion in its place. This motion continues the mask mandate until April 1, 2022, to allow for a transition period after the March break and for students seeking to transition to remote learning.
Students and staff will be required to wear masks (non-medical or medical) while indoors at school and on buses until April 1, and will be strongly encouraged to continue masking after this date.
Visitors in schools, while not required to wear masks, will be offered a mask upon sign-in and strongly encouraged to wear one while in schools in order to align with Board of Trustees direction. Visitors include anyone who is not a staff member or student: volunteers, spectators, third party service providers, and contractors.
Please note that under current federal regulations, all individuals exempt from quarantine who are returning from international travel continue to be required to wear a mask in all public spaces for 14 days after their return to Canada. Masks are also required under certain conditions under the updated screening rules, and families are reminded to continue screening daily.
Students without a mask will be reminded of the Board direction and be directed to the mask exemption process as required. All student mask exemptions previously submitted will be honoured. There is no requirement for staff to verify mask exemptions. For new exemptions, we ask that any parent wishing a mask exemption for their student complete the Mask Exemption Form before returning to school on Monday morning in order to provide a smooth entry back to school. The form is available online and in the Parent Portal.
Remote Learning Requests
Students who want to consider a move to remote learning due to the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions can request a transition to full-time remote learning (elementary) through the exceptional circumstance process or eLearning (secondary) through a request at their Student Services department at their home school. There will be no formal survey period to transition to or from remote learning at this time.
Requests for remote or eLearning will be accommodated within existing classes. Spaces are limited and we may not be able to honour all requests. Please contact your child’s school to submit your request.
Summary and Supports
We understand that some families may be feeling anxious ahead of Monday’s return to school and recognize the divisive opinions surrounding the mask requirements. The two-week extension of the mask requirement will help us mitigate any increased risk of COVID spread following March Break, support students needing to request a move to remote learning and support the well-being of all students and staff through these changes. By remaining cautious and taking a strategic, gradual approach, we hope to best support our medically-vulnerable students and community members during this time of transition.
As comfort levels regarding the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions continue to evolve, we ask our communities members to be kind, respectful and compassionate during this period of change. Families looking for additional support are encouraged to explore our existing mental health and well-being resources.
Dawn Danko, Chair of the Board
John Bryant, Interim Director of Education
- Letter to Families – March 11, 2022
- Chair’s Statement on Extension of Mask Requirements
- Lifting Health and Safety Measures in Schools
- Letter to Medical Officer of Health Regarding Mask Requirements in School
- Letter to Ministry of Education, Lifting of Health and Safety Measures in Schools
- COVID-19 Travel – Government of Canada