by Stephen Sliwa, Director of Education, UCDSB
This school year has been about balancing our students’ academic needs and the obligation to keep them, and our staff, safe while at school. Late this afternoon, the Ministry of Education informed us that schools in the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) which are schools in the areas of Stormont, Glengarry and Dundas (SDG), Prescott Russell and Cornwall will continue to be closed with students learning remotely until February 10. In person learning for students who are currently attending school will continue.
Schools in the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit (LGL) will reopen to all students for in person learning on January 25.
If you are unsure which health unit jurisdiction your school is in, you can check the map. As a large school district that has two separate health units now operating under different requirements, the Upper Canada District School Board will proceed forward the following ways:
Elementary schools served by the Leeds, Grenville, and Lanark Health Unit will welcome students back to in person learning on January 25. Your school principal will be sending out a welcome back letter and informing you of any changes in health practices that will be taking place at your school for the return. If a student lives in EOHU but attends school in LGL, then they can attend.
Elementary and secondary schools served by the Eastern Ontario Health Unit jurisdiction will continue with remote learning until February 10. If this extended period of remote learning requires your family to change how your child is receiving instruction, please talk to your teacher or school principal.
Grade 9 12 students in the LGL health unit area will continue with remote learning until the end of Quadmester 2 (Friday, Jan. 29). This delayed re start will allow Grades 9 12 students the opportunity to start with a new cohort of students at the beginning of Quadmester 3 on Tuesday, February 2, and limit their number of contacts.
Grades 9 12 students in the EOHU area will continue with remote learning until February 10. Students with special education needs who are currently attending in person may continue to attend school in person during the extension of the school closures.
As announced earlier this month, it is required that all students in Grades 1 12 will need to wear non medical or cloth masks indoors at school, including in hallways and during class times, on school transportation and outdoors during recess where students cannot maintain physical distancing. Masking in Kindergarten is optional but encouraged.
For Grade 9 12 students currently using non digital resources, new packages need to be picked up on Thursday, Jan. 21 and completed packages returned. The final package for the quadmester will need to be returned to your teacher no later than Thursday, Jan. 28 for evaluation. Please contact your teacher if you have any questions.
For Grades 9 12 students who go to school in the Eastern Ontario Health Unit, teachers will be in touch on the designated PA day on Monday, February 1 to find out if those students want to proceed with Quadmester 3 synchronously or asynchronously with digital or non digital resources.
While we want to see all students back in our schools, we understand the government’s decision to remain vigilant to slow the spread of COVID 19 and to keep our students and staff safe. We need to ensure that we continue with daily screening for symptoms and follow public health protocols that are in place.