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Lifting of Health and Safety Measures in Schools

Thursday, March 10, 2022
Monday, March 21, 2022
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Monday, March 21, 2022
Dear SCDSB Families,

On March 9, the Chief Medical Officer of Health (CMOH) announced that the majority of COVID-19 public health and safety measures will be lifted in response to the evolving health environment in Ontario.

The Simcoe County District School Board (SCDSB) continues to work closely with, and take our direction from the CMOH, Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) and the Ministry of Education on all matters related to COVID-19. SCDSB staff have received and reviewed updated direction from the Ministry of Education regarding COVID-19 health and safety protocols in schools and have consulted with the SMDHU on this direction. The following is a summary of the health and safety measures that will be lifted effective March 21, 2022:

Masks
• Students from Kindergarten to Grade 12, staff and visitors will no longer be required to wear masks in schools, school board offices and on student transportation.
• SCDSB schools will continue to be mask-friendly environments. Masks will remain available to students and staff who choose to continue to wear them while in schools.
• Please encourage your child(ren) to be respectful and understanding of everyone’s choice with respect to masking so that SCDSB schools remain the safe, inclusive and welcoming teaching and learning environments they are meant to be for all.

Cohorting and Physical Distancing
• Cohorting and physical distancing measures will be lifted in schools. Students will be permitted to play and learn together across cohorts, classes and grades, both indoors and outdoors and during lunch and recess.
• Assigned seats and cohorting will no longer be required on student transportation.
The following are current health and safety protocols that will remain in place in SCDSB schools and facilities:
• COVID-19 self-assessment screening daily by both students and staff. Please note, the screening tool has been updated and is available on the Government of Ontario website.
• Enhanced cleaning and disinfecting at least twice daily of frequently touched surfaces and shared resources.
• Promotion of and training on proper hand hygiene including instruction on hand washing, sanitizing and respiratory etiquette. Hand sanitizer will be provided in each classroom for student and staff use.
• Standalone high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter units will remain in place in all learning spaces without mechanical ventilation. HEPA filter units will also remain in place in all Kindergarten classrooms.
• Rapid antigen test (RAT) kits will continue to be available to symptomatic students and staff.

As a reminder, March Break is March 14 to 18, 2022. If you are planning to travel, please be aware of the current federal travel requirements. Upon return from international travel, students and staff will be required to wear a mask for 14 days while in schools, school board offices, on student transportation and when in public spaces.

We want to assure you that the health and well-being of our students and staff remains a top priority. Recognizing that each individual is experiencing the COVID-19 pandemic differently and may have a range of emotions and reactions to these changes, the SCDSB will ensure continued access to mental health and well-being resources through the SCDSB website.

We will continue to provide updates as information becomes available. We look forward to welcoming students back to a more normal learning environment following the March Break.

For ongoing updates, visit the COVID-19 page on our website, or follow us on social media (Twitter: @SCDSB_Schools or Facebook: www.facebook.com/SCDSB).
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