As we approach the first day of school, we are all very excited to welcome back our students and staff. It has been five months since we have had students in our school buildings and we appreciate the efforts everyone in our communities have made to support a safe return for all.
Below are some reminders and new information that we have recently received from the provincial government and York Region Public Health.
A new screening tool for the 2021-2022 school year has been provided by York Region Public Health (please click on Check for Symptoms Daily). This screening tool replaces previous versions and all students and staff must complete the screening prior to attending any YRDSB school or facility.
Secondary students will have to provide confirmation of a successful screening as follows:
- After completing the screening tool, secondary students (or parents/guardians of students who may not be able to complete the form independently) must complete the Secondary School Confirmation Form. Upon completion of the form confirming successful screening, students will receive an email. For students who may not be able to complete the self-assessment process independently, parents/guardians are asked to complete it.
- After receiving this email, students can then attend their school and will have to show the email response in one of the following ways to school staff:
- Show email on phone (showing the email or a photo of the email)
- Hard copy printout of the email
- If neither option is available, students can provide verbal response confirming completion.
Parents/guardians of elementary students (or the students themselves depending on their age) will have to provide confirmation of a successful screening as follows:
- Parents/Guardians of Elementary students are required to complete on-line self-assessment COVID-19 School and Child-Care Screening Tool (please click on Check for Symptoms Daily), prior to their child entering the school
- Upon completion of the self-assessment, Parents/Guardians will complete the response to the question: “Have you completed the self-screening tool?” in the Confirmation Form, using their child’s GAPPS account login information. Information on how to access your child’s GAPPS account is available on the Board’s website. If you do not have a student number/username, one will be provided by your child’s teacher.
Any students who are experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19 as identified in the screening tool (not related to a COVID-19 vaccine) or answer yes to any of the screening questions, must not enter any school and follow the guidance in the screening tool.
In collaboration with our funding partners, the Federal and Provincial governments, York Region District School Board has invested over $24 million on ventilation upgrades. Classrooms with a mechanical ventilation system have been fitted with MERV13 filters and where appropriate, HEPA filters have been installed. The Board has also increased fresh air rates to the maximum system can provide before discomfort and increased maximum outdoor air ventilation. We have created a Ventilation in Schools page on our website to demonstrate the ventilation systems in place at each school site.
The Ministry of Health and York Region Public Health encourage all those eligible to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as one of the best measures to mitigate the spread of this virus. Vaccine appointments and information is available on Public Health’s website.
In accordance with requirements from the Ministry of Education, York Region District School Board is implementing a mandatory vaccine disclosure protocol for staff members, including all school staff members. Disclosure by staff members will commence on September 7, the aggregate (Board total) depersonalized statistical percentage of vaccinations will be made public by September 15 and updated monthly. Staff members who are not vaccinated, and do not have a medical reason, are required to attend an education session on the benefits of the vaccine and will undergo minimum weekly testing for COVID-19. The Board’s Immunization Disclosure protocol is available on the Board’s website and will be subject to updates as more information becomes available.
Properly fitted masks are required for all students in Grades 1 to 12 and strongly recommended for students in Kindergarten.
Parents/guardians must provide their child with at least three personal masks (non-medical) to wear at school. Public Health Agency of Canada recommends Canadians wear three-layer masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19. For more information about how to use face coverings properly, visit www.york.ca/covid19. All school staff will wear a medical mask and other personal protective equipment as required.
Letter from the Minister of Education
The Minister of Education has asked school boards to share a letter to families.
We appreciate that families have many questions about what to expect when their children return to school. In an effort to answer your questions,we:
- continue to update frequently asked questions
- held a virtual town hall responding to family questions
- are recording a two-part podcast responding to common questions with York Region Public Health
Our health and safety measures are available on the Board website and we will continue to communicate with families as information is updated. Thank you for partnering with us to ensure these important guidelines are adhered to, as we work together to protect the health and safety of our students, staff and families.
Once again, we appreciate the efforts of all families, students and staff to ensure our schools are safe and welcoming environments to work and learn.