Return to Learning Plan (March to June 2022)

Return to Learning Plan (March to June 2022)
Posted on 03/14/2021

This Return to Learning Plan provides guidance for students and staff at in-person schools.

Learning to live with COVID-19 as restrictions are lifted

Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board continues to be committed to supporting a return to a more normal learning experience for students. Regular school attendance is one aspect of learning to live with COVID-19 and is essential to student learning and well-being. We are looking forward to the return of a number of opportunities for students and schools on March 21, 2022, while maintaining protective measures, including continued free access to rapid tests and masks, hand hygiene, ventilation improvements and daily self-screening.

The Chief Medical Officer of Health and the Province of Ontario lifted many of the pandemic restrictions on March 9, 2022. As a public education system, HPEDSB is required to follow the directives of provincial and local health officials, in addition to those of the Minister of Education.

Schools will immediately align with the provincial changes. This means schools will plan and implement measures to allow students to congregate, including removing cohorting/zoning at recess, reconfiguring learning spaces to allow students to sit in groupings and/or circles, and to facilitate peer conversation and collaboration, both during class and lunch periods.

These newly-announced changes will take some time to adjust and adapt, as we return to more normal learning environments in our schools. We encourage kindness and empathy as individuals make personal decisions in response to these changing mandates.

Changes to cohorting, distancing and masking, effective March 21, 2022

The following COVID-19 requirements are no longer required at all HPEDSB schools, administrative and maintenance offices, and on student transportation, effective March 21, 2022:

  • Cohorting and distancing
  • Restrictions to shared spaces and cross-grade programs
  • Restrictions for large gatherings
  • Mandatory masks* and eye protection for students and staff at schools, administrative and maintenance offices, and on student transportation
  • Eye protection and masks will continue to be provided for students and staff who choose to continue to wear them
  • Collection of proof of vaccination for visitors
  • Daily confirmation of screening in order to attend school

*Mask wearing will be a choice for everyone, including HPEDSB staff. Please discuss with your child(ren) that this is a personal choice and help them to understand and respect the choice of others to wear or not wear a mask.

Fit-tested N95 respirators will continue to be provided for staff who are required to perform an aerosol generating medical procedure (AGMP), or required to be in the same room when an AGMP is being performed.

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Short-term remote learning

While in-person school attendance is most effective for student learning and well-being, students and families who require support through the transition associated with the lifting of these COVID-19 restrictions within schools and classrooms should contact the school principal. Alternatively, families with online connectivity who wish to access remote learning versus attending in-person school, can do so temporarily by accessing broadcast grade-based resources available through TVO/TFO and/or each student's google classroom, where learning tasks will continue to be posted by the classroom teacher.

Families and students who do not have access to the internet for online learning should contact the principal to request remote learning packages for a temporary period of time. Please note: These packages will support access to curriculum content but will not be assessed for the purpose of evaluation.

Mental health supports for students

We're here to help! Supports for students are available at schools through child and youth workers, social service workers or social workers. Please contact your child's teacher or principal if you would like to access support.

Numerous resources are available online to support students, including links to the following:

  • School Mental Health Ontario resources for families
  • Self-harm supports
  • Kids Help Phone

Changes to vaccination disclosure, effective March 14, 2022

The following vaccination disclosure requirements are no longer required effective March 14, 2022:

  • Collecting proof of COVID-19 vaccinations, medical exemptions, or completion of an education program
  • Unvaccinated HPEDSB employees are no longer required to undertake rapid antigen screening three times per week
  • Asymptomatic screening requirements for individuals who do not provide proof of full vaccination
  • Reporting vaccination coverage to the Ministry of Education
  • Reporting test usage as part of the Provincial Antigen Screening Program to the Ministry of Health
  • In addition, as of March 1, 2022, all provincial proof of vaccination requirements were lifted for the community use of schools, consistent with the direction for broader community and recreational settings.

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Updated case and contact management guidance

Prior to going to school each day, students and staff should continue to self-screen and stay home if they have symptoms of illness. Schools will continue to encourage and expect good hand hygiene and practise cough and sneeze etiquette.

Further to the updates mentioned above, the Ministry of Health has revised the COVID-19 Integrated Testing & Case, Contact and Outbreak Management Interim Guidance: Omicron Surge, with updated guidance for close contacts in the community and in households.

Enhanced cleaning and ventilation

Schools will continue with enhanced cleaning protocols. Standalone HEPA filter units will continue to be used in Kindergarten classrooms and in all occupied learning spaces without mechanical ventilation.

Community use of schools resuming through a phased-in approach, March 16, 2022

Community use of school permits will resume through a phased-in approach effective March 16, 2022. More information (pdf).

  • Phase 1: March 21, 2022- June 24, 2022
  • Phase 2: Scheduled for September 12, 2022

Guidelines for Phase 1 permit bookings

  • Open to Group A users: Local Children's Sports and Athletics, Recreational Service Providers (Scouts, Guides)
  • Internal HPEDSB permits and childcare service providers are generally being approved, upon request

We anticipate receiving multiple requests for facility use and ask for your patience as we coordinate dates and times. Please be aware that alternate locations may be suggested as we endeavour to accommodate as many requests as possible.

Guidelines for returning from international travel

Upon return from international travel, individuals must follow current federal travel requirements, including wearing a mask at all times when in public spaces (including schools and child care), maintaining a list of all close contacts for your first 14 days in Canada, and monitoring for signs and symptoms of COVID-19.

Who to contact with questions or concerns

Families and students who have any questions or concerns, should contact their/their child's teacher or principal.

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