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Board Meeting Highlights for January 2022

For Immediate Release
January 26, 2022


GUELPH, Ontario – The January meeting of the Upper Grand District School Board was held on January 25, 2022. The following provides highlights from the meeting.

UGDSB Reopening Schools

Throughout the month, staff provided numerous updates on the many measures that the board has taken to prepare to reopen schools to in-person learning following the Winter Break and required remote learning period. Topics covered included absence tracking and reporting, monitoring of staff and bus driver absences, updates on masks and rapid antigen tests for staff and students, mental health supports, Semester 2 information for secondary schools, upcoming Public Health vaccination clinics and more.

Daily Absence Tracking Pilot

When in-person learning resumed in January, the UGDSB launched our Daily Absence Tracking Pilot to report daily on school absence rates. This process is a pilot program and may evolve as required. 

The rationale for this pilot program is in response to the change in direction provincially on testing and tracking of COVID-19. COVID-19 testing and outbreak management has changed to focus provincial resources on the highest risk settings (e.g. hospitals, long term care homes, etc.).  Staff and student contact tracing in schools will no longer be a part of the process and COVID-19 cases will not routinely be reported to schools. The UGDSB’s pilot program is meant to give a sense of the impact of COVID-19 on schools, as positive cases will no longer be reported.

To the best of the board’s ability the process tries to exclude absences that are not related to COVID-19 from the tracking data (e.g. student away for vacation or religious holiday).  

For a more fulsome explanation of the pilot program, as well the daily data on the board’s website, visit: https://www.ugdsb.ca/community/coronavirus/2021-22-school-operations/daily-absence-tracking-pilot/

Masks and Rapid Antigen Tests

The UGDSB received 138,226 3-ply reusable cloth masks from the province for student use, which were distributed directly to schools. The UGDSB also purchased an additional 71,220 3-ply reusable cloth masks for students, making the total number of cloth masks for students 209,446. Masks received and purchased were in a variety of sizes and schools are working diligently to ensure each student’s mask fits properly. The board also shared tips for the proper use and care of cloth masks.

The Ministry of Education provided 121,000 non-fit N95 masks for staff and these were shipped directly to schools. Staff who choose this as a mask option are provided with one non-fit-tested N95 mask per day. Staff may also choose to wear an ASTM Level 2 medical mask provided by UGDSB or a NIOSH or Health Canada approved non-fit-tested N95 mask provided by the employee at their own expense.

Prior to in-person learning resuming approximately 60,000 Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) were received and distributed to elementary schools for staff and student use. The UGDSB anticipates over 20,000 more rapid tests this week for delivery to secondary schools.

UGDSB Multi-Year Plan

Staff presented an Executive Report on the UGDSB’s Multi-Year Plan Development Process. Trustees approved two motions, that:

  1. Executive Report “Multi-Year Plan Development Process” dated January 25, 2022 be received.
  2. The Upper Grand District School Board undertake a multi-year plan (MYP) development process as outlined in Executive Report “Multi-Year Plan Development Process,” including student, staff and community engagement and consultation.

A school board’s multi-year plan establishes the key directions that guide the organization’s actions for the students and communities that it serves. The multi-year plan should articulate priorities that are future oriented, inclusive and measurable. The UGDSB’s current multi-year plan was developed in 2015 for a four-year period (2015-19) and remains in effect until a new MYP is approved by the Board.

The Multi-Year Plan Report includes information about the legislative framework for developing a MYP, and details on the UGDSB MYP Development Process.

The report is posted on the UGDSB website.

Mental Health Updates

The UGDSB’s Mental Health and Addictions Lead Jenny Marino provided an update on mental health. Highlights included information on an upcoming parent/caregiver webinar on social and civic engagement, and work being done in data collection to explore current areas of needs and develop a strategic and collaborative plan for reducing pressure areas while continuing to support arising needs. To view the presentation slides, please visit the board website.

The PIVOT Project

Staff gave a presentation on the UGDSB’s PIVOT Project (which, for background, was named prior to the beginning of the pandemic and is not related to COVID-19). The PIVOT Project is an experiential learning opportunity focused on changemaking through the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, integrating these goals into everyday classrooms as a way of supporting authentic learning tasks, the development of global competencies, student well-being, and pathway exploration. The project began in 2018-2019 as a Social Justice through the Arts Project, following which staff wanted to take it further. In their overview of the project, staff explained that the Pivot Project is about connections:

It is a collaboration between Curriculum, Well-Being, Community and Belonging, Global Competencies, and Pathway Exploration. For a more fulsome overview of the PIVOT Project, please visit the UGDSB website.

Report on Anti-Sex Trafficking Protocol

Trustees received the UGDSB’s Anti-Sex Trafficking Protocol as information.

On July 6, 2021, the Ministry of Education released Policy/Program Memorandum (PPM) 166 Keeping Students Safe: Policy Framework for School Board Anti-Sex Trafficking Protocols. In an effort to continue responding to issues of student safety, this PPM directs school boards to develop a local Anti-Sex Trafficking protocol to be in place by January 31, 2022.

This protocol outlines the roles and responsibilities of UGDSB staff in raising awareness, identifying, and responding to incidences of sex trafficking. The protocol will be posted on the UGDSB website at www.ugdsb.ca/policy.

EQAO Assessments

Trustees passed a motion that due to the current mental health needs of Upper Grand DSB students, that the Board write a letter to the Minister of Education to request that EQAO testing for grades 3 and 6 be considered for deferral outside of this school year to another year.

The next regular monthly meeting will be held on Tuesday February 22, 2022. Meeting details will be posted online at https://www.ugdsb.ca/board/board-meetings/.

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