The Ontario Ministry of Education would like to share the following information with parents as you prepare for spring break next week.
Schools remain open during stay-at-home order
The province implemented a province-wide stay-at-home order for four weeks in response to worsening trends in key health indicators across the province. Children’s mental health and well-being continue to be a key government priority. Schools will remain open for in-person learning through the Provincial Emergency and Stay at Home Order. The spring break will continue as planned, from April 12 to 16, and schools will reopen for in-person learning on April 19.
Follow public health measures during spring break
In light of the recently announced measures, it is more important than ever that we continue to follow health advice over the spring break to do our part to keep schools open for in-person student learning.
At this critical point in the pandemic, the following public health measures are crucial to help prevent and limit the spread of COVID-19:
- Socialize with your household only.
- Stay home and get tested if you feel ill.
- Participate in the targeted testing offered by our school board.
- Screen every day, including during spring break, for COVID-19 symptoms before attending child care (the COVID-19 School and Child Care Screening Tool is available to assist families with symptom screening).
- Practice good hand hygiene habits, masking, and physical distancing.
- Refer to Ontario.ca/covidresponse to learn what public health measures are in place in our community.
- Refrain from travelling.
Keeping schools safe when students return April 19
The Ontario government is introducing new measures to protect schools against COVID-19, including refresher COVID-19 training, enhanced cleaning, and asymptomatic testing. Education workers will begin registering for vaccinations during the spring break and beyond.
With appropriate health and safety measures in place, Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, confirmed that schools remain safe. The new measures are intended to further protect schools and communities against the spread of COVID-19 and include:
- On-site confirmation of self-screening;
- Refresher COVID 19 training upon return from April break;
- Outdoor instruction when possible;
- Enhanced cleaning during the April break;
- Curriculum-linked activities for students; and
- Asymptomatic testing expansion.
Asymptomatic testing for students and education staff
For the week of April 12-18, pharmacies that currently offer testing and assessment centres across the province will accept appointments from students and education staff for asymptomatic testing. The Ministry of Education will be working with school boards to offer school-based clinics. Parents are encouraged to take advantage of this testing capacity to have their children tested to support a safe return to school on April 19. Children attending child care, and child care staff, will also be eligible to access this testing.
COVID-19 vaccination for education workers
Next week, education workers who provide direct support to students with special education needs across the province and all education workers in select hot spot areas will be eligible to register for vaccination. Vaccinations will commence during the April break, starting with priority neighbourhoods in Toronto and Peel, then rolling out to priority neighbourhoods in other hot spot regions, including Ottawa. A rollout across the province will follow this as supply allows.
Check your child for COVID symptoms before returning to school
As a reminder, before coming back to school on April 19, you must screen for COVID-19 symptoms. If your child or anyone in your household is ill, stay home and follow the guidance in the school screener.
By following public health advice, we can all enjoy a safe spring break and continue to support in-person learning in our school.