Letter to Families about Continued Health Measures and Masks at HWDSB
Throughout the pandemic, we have been committed to the health and safety of our students and staff.
COVID-19 remains a concern in our community as the pandemic enters a resurgence in cases.
We thank everyone for continuing to follow the continued health measures. Also, we appreciate students and staff doing their part to help to keep our schools open, including masking indoors, screening and staying home when ill.
We remind families that masks are strongly recommended and encouraged indoors at all HWDSB schools and buildings. Masks continue to be provided to staff and students on request.
Recently, we have received information from Public Health Ontario that recommends masks be worn in schools to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19. The Board of Trustees has written a letter to the Minster of Education and Hamilton Public Health Services to support indoor mask wearing as a priority health measure in schools, particularly during the resurgence of COVID-19 at this time.
Also, we wish to share the following message from Hamilton’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Elizabeth Richardson:
“We know that what happens in schools reflects what is happening in the community and we continue to remind all Hamiltonians that COVID-19 is still present in Hamilton. The COVID-19 pandemic isn’t over. In this time of increased COVID-19 transmission that can mean higher rates of absenteeism in local schools, Hamilton Public Health Services strongly recommends community members wear a well-fitting mask indoors as a key layer of protection, especially if it’s crowded and individuals can’t physically distance.
We encourage all Hamiltonians – including students 5 years of age and over, teachers and school staff – to ensure that they are up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines. Booster doses for those 12 years of age and over save lives and antivirals for those eligible, reduce hospitalizations and risk of severe illness. It’s critical community members at higher risk of severe outcomes talk to their doctor or nurse practitioner in advance of being infected by COVID-19, so they know if they are eligible for antivirals. Students, teachers and school staff should screen daily for COVID-19 symptoms, should screen daily for COVID-19 symptoms, stay home if they’re feeling unwell and take a rapid antigen test to see if they have COVID-19. Individual public health measures are most effective when layered together.”
As we navigate the this time of the pandemic following provincial directions for health and safety measures we expect continued increased absences in our schools that may lead to temporary school or classroom closures.
We are doing everything we can to minimize the risk of a closure; however, a school may temporarily transition to remote learning or some classes may close if there is not an educator available. In the event of a school closure due to a public health concern or challenges with staffing, we will give as much notice as possible.
A decision could be made as early as possible on the day impacted. Families will be notified via phone and email through our School Messenger service.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your child/ren’s school.
Thank you for your continued support. We hope that you have a safe long weekend.
Chair of the Board
Interim Director of Education