Parents » Safe Return To School, September 2020

Safe Return To School, September 2020

(Updated, September 17, 2020) In speaking with Algoma Public Health (APH) staff last week, it was noted that there is some confusion about the necessary expectations for our community members when a student (or an employee in any organization for that matter) goes home with Covid-like symptoms.
As per health unit expectations, the individual either
1. gets a Covid test (and remains home until the result is provided);
2. seeks clearance from a doctor (ie. maybe symptoms subsided and they are now feeling fine), or;
3. remains in quarantine for 14 days.
To provide further clarity for community members and families, the APH has created the attached document (CLICK HERE or see below) to provide further guidance and information. The hyperlinks in the document are active. We hope this provides further clarification for all. 
If you as a parent or family have any questions, please be sure to contact the main line at your child's elementary or secondary school. ADSB school phone numbers can be found by following this link.
(Sept 4, 2020) Tune into this Podcast featuring a number of Public Health Physicians from across Ontario including Dr. Marlene Spruyt, Algoma Medical Officer of Health, all of whom share advice with parents on back to school.
(Sept 4, 2020) Tune into this Podcast featuring staff from the Ontario Medical Association (OMA) and the Algoma Medical Officer of Health Dr. Marlene Spruyt speaking about Safe Return To Schools.  
With respect to eating and drinking at school, it is expected that:
• Cafeteria services are NOT available for intermediate and secondary students and students must eat in the classroom with the assigned cohort;
• Staff and students will perform proper hand hygiene before & after eating;
• Students will bring their own, individual meal or snack with no common food items and shall eat in the classroom;
• Students are to bring a personal drink bottle that is labelled, kept with them during the day and not shared;
• Water bottles are to be filled rather than students and staff drinking directly from the mouthpiece of water fountains;
• Schools will remove self-serving food items and microwave use is not permitted;
• Multi-use utensils must be cleaned after each use;
• Non-instructional activities that involve students in preparing or serving food are not permitted;
• Third party food services, including nutrition programs, will be delivered in a way that any student who wishes to participate can do so; all surfaces, bins and food containers for food are to be disinfected before and after use;
• Breaks will likely be staggered (depending on school layout and size);
• Weather permitting, breaks are to be outside with cohorts in designated areas (this provides a time for no masks);
• For elementary students, shorter lunch breaks with additional outdoor breaks may be implemented.
Students’ personal items and belongings brought to school (ie. backpack, clothing, sunscreen, water bottle, food) ought to be minimized, labelled and stored separately in lockers or designated areas.
In the event there is a suspected or confirmed COVID case in a school, communications and protocols for management, including testing, will be done under the direction of the local public health unit and Board policy.
Elementary Students 
If you decide to move from in-class learning to remote learning, after the year starts, there may be a transition time to allow us to establish program and staff.
If you choose remote learning, you do so with the understanding that you are not able to return to on-site learning until January, 2021 due to health measures, cohorts and contact tracing measures.
Secondary Students
If you decide to move from in-class learning to remote learning, we cannot guarantee course availability and the transition may take up to 2 weeks to establish program and staff.
If you decide to move from remote learning to in-class learning, this will only occur at the change of the quadmester (mid November, February or mid April) and you must provide 2 weeks of advance notice.
Ontario School Boards are currently in the midst of re-opening Plans for September. (Follow this link for further information).  
The Ministry of Education has released a Reopening Guideline for schools which provides guidance on how Consortia can work with the Transportation Providers to provide safer transportation for students. The guidelines encourage active forms of travel (eg. walking and cycling) and parents and caregivers to drive students to school where possible, to ease the pressure on transportation during Covid-19.
In order to support the return to school 5 days per week, Consortia will likely require more than one student per seat and to operate close to capacity. The use of non-medical masks in Grades 4 to 12 will be required on school buses. Students in Kindergarten to Grade 3 are encouraged to wear masks, recognizing this may be more difficult for younger children to do for longer periods of time (exceptions may also be made for students with medical conditions or special needs). There will also be measures put in place (where feasible) to assist with contact tracing in the event a student or driver contracts Covid-19. Students in the same household or cohort will be seated together. Masks and eye protection will be provided for school bus drivers and will not interfere with the safe operation of vehicles, but rather is intended to protect drivers during close contact with students such as boarding and exiting. Enhanced cleaning of buses will occur at least twice daily and hand sanitizer will be available on vehicles.
If there are any questions or concerns please contact the Transportation Consortium at 705-945-5642.
This summer, ADSB offered a Summer Wellness Line to provide support for all caregivers of ADSB students, as well as students themselves. Trained counselling staff provided everything from wellness tips to struggles with excessive worry and depressed mood. Our counsellors were also able to provide support to parents regarding parenting questions and talking to young people about COVID-19 in age appropriate ways.
While the Summer Wellness Line is now closed, we are moving back to school-based support services beginning on September 1st. 
In September, ADSB will have our full complement of school counsellors available along with our board’s multi-disciplinary team to assist with transitional supports. In addition, we also provide two (2) Mental Health Workers in schools that specialize in supporting high school students with more complex mental health needs. We have also established great partnerships with our community mental health service providers and hospitals throughout the district to assist with additional support services.