Dear Parents and Guardians,
Earlier this week, Wellington-Guelph-Dufferin Public Health extended virtual learning for all elementary and secondary school students from January 25 to 29, inclusive. We have since learned that this is to be extended until further notice. We anticipate further clarity from the Ministry of Education on an exact timeline for return. Any further extension to the period of remote learning will be determined by the Ministry of Education and will be communicated closer to the planned return to in-person learning. Current arrangements to support special education students should continue as is for this period.
The Government has announced that there will be additional health and safety measures when students return to in-person learning. They include:
- Mandatory masking outdoors where physical distancing cannot be maintained.
- Enhanced screening protocols (confirmation of self-screening for all secondary students prior to or upon arrival to school)
- Discouraging students from congregating before and after school
- Targeted testing for schools identified by WDG Public Health
the enhanced screening protocols, an additional process to confirm that secondary students participating in in-person learning have completed a daily screening for COVID-19 will be in place – more details on this process will be forthcoming. All students, elementary and secondary, should continue to screen daily using the tool provided by the Ministry of Health and Education – https://covid-19.ontario.ca/school-screening/
We would also like to remind families, of the following dates of note:
- Friday, January 29 is an Elementary PD Day for elementary staff as they prepare report cards. As such, there will be no virtual instruction planned on this day.
- Monday, February 1 and Tuesday February 2 are Secondary PD Days as staff complete report cards and prepare for the start of 3. There will be no virtual instruction planned for these days.
Mental Health Supports for Students and Families
We recognize that this extension of remote learning will be challenging for many families as you balance various responsibilities. We understand this difficulty and encourage our families to prioritize mental health and personal well-being .
If you are concerned about your child’s mental health, resources are available to students and families through Kids Help Phone, which offers 24/7 counselling and referral services across the province. To use this free resource, children can call 1-800-668-6868, or text CONNECT to 686868 for immediate access to support.
As well, school board staff, including social workers and child and youth workers, may be available to offer support. Please feel free to contact the school, if you require assistance. School Mental Health Ontario also has many great resources for students, parents and families on their website at www.smho-smso.ca
We remain committed to providing updates from the Ministry of Education to families as they are available.
We thank you for your understanding as we respond to these changing circumstances and continue to pray for the safety and wellbeing of all in our community.