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Back to School 2022-23: School Operations & COVID-19 Updates

The Upper Grand District School Board looks forward to welcoming as well as welcoming back students, staff and families this September. 

In-Person Learning

We are looking forward to welcoming back the majority of our students to in-person learning for the 2022-23 school year.  We have a few students who will be continuing their learning this year in our remote or e-learning platforms.  Thanks to everyone’s efforts, we are confident that our schools are safe and healthy spaces for students and staff. 

In-person teachers will continue to maintain a virtual learning environment (i.e. Google Classroom) as part of their classroom program. This will support individual students should they be required to isolate for a limited period of time.

Students will be able to move between cohorts and be placed in a variety of small groups with students from other cohorts and staff are permitted to go into multiple classrooms.

Remote Learning

The UGDSB is offering a fully remote learning option to elementary students and to secondary students through our e-learning platform.  Registration for the remote learning option is now closed. 

As movement between learning modes can cause disruptions for many students and classrooms, students who enrolled in the elementary remote learning option are required to remain in remote learning for the entire school year.

School Day Operations

We are looking forward to a return to a much more regular 2022-2023 school year! 

Regular Recess and Outdoor Breaks & Shared Materials 

Students do not need to stay within their cohort during outdoor recess, breaks or common spaces within schools. Shared materials are permitted outdoors.  In general, shared materials are important for learning and some examples include toys for imaginative play in kindergarten, manipulatives for math, computers and other technology, books, art supplies, physical education equipment and shared outdoor equipment. Our focus with shared materials will be on regular hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette to reduce the risk of infection, particularly when regular cleaning of shared objects is not feasible. 

Cafeteria Use, Lunch Protocols and Student Nutrition Programs

UGDSB students may eat together and the use of high school cafeterias is permitted.  Each student is encouraged to bring their own drink bottle that is labeled, kept with them during the day, and not shared. Student Nutrition Programs may resume operation as usual within schools. 

Extra-Curricular Activities (Clubs, Sports Teams, Bands)

We are excited that all clubs, activities, sport teams, bands and extracurriculars are permitted this year including all Inter-School sports and competitions.

Assemblies and Other School Events and Visitor Access

The Ministry of Education is allowing assemblies for the 2022-2023 school year and parents/guardians and visitors are permitted to access schools following their school’s protocols. 

Community Use of Schools

The Community Use of Schools (CUS) program will be approving bookings for the 2022-2023 school year. 

Protective Strategies

Schools will continue to employ multiple protective strategies to support healthier and safer environments for students and staff.  Each of the measures listed below provide some benefit in reducing spread of illness; however, it is the combination and consistent application of these layers that is most effective for reducing disease spread in schools.

Screening

All staff and students who are experiencing symptoms identified in the screening tool that are consistent with COVID-19 must not attend school and should follow the guidance provided in the screening tool, which may include seeking appropriate medical attention as required, and/or getting tested for COVID-19.

Key Protective Measures

As a school board, we want to remind everyone of the importance of all the key protective strategies to help keep staff and students safe and healthy:

Following these measures will help with pressures in schools, including student and staff absences, and staff shortages. We are very appreciative of the students, families and staff who have worked hard to ensure the continuity of learning in schools by following the preventative measures listed above. In addition to these measures, the UGDSB will continue to make approved masks available at each location and will continue to support students, staff and visitors to our schools and respect their individual choices about masking.  

Hand Hygiene and Respiratory Etiquette

Appropriate hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette are important protective strategies. Schools will continue to emphasize appropriate hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette, including the use of alcohol-based hand rub (ABHR), and reinforce its use. Students will also be given breaks to wash their hands at appropriate times during the school day.

Alcohol based hand rub (ABHR) with a minimum 60% alcohol concentration will be available throughout the school (including ideally at the entry point to each classroom) and/or plain liquid soap in dispensers, sinks and paper towels in dispensers.

Cleaning and Disinfection Standards and Protocols

The school board will continue with the program for cleaning and disinfecting schools that includes daily cleaning and disinfecting of high-touch surfaces. High-touch surfaces include, but are not limited to, washrooms, eating areas, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, push buttons, handrails, etc. 

Management of COVID-19 in Schools

Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health will continue to be responsible for managing positive COVID-19 cases and symptoms in schools; the UGDSB will continue to follow the direction of WDGPH.

Public Health will continue to update their website with the latest requirements for isolation for individuals who test positive.  Please visit their website for the most recent information: https://www.wdgpublichealth.ca/your-health/covid-19-information-schools-parents-and-teachers/schools

Please note that Public Health will be the only organization with information on the vaccination status of students. The board/schools will not have access to that information. 

Ventilation

The school board will continue to optimize air quality in classrooms and learning environments through improving ventilation and/or filtration. Ventilation is one layer of the protective strategies that will be utilized to support healthy and safe learning environments for students and staff. Additional measures such as masking, physical distancing and hand hygiene must also be followed. 

The school board will continue its work optimizing air quality in classrooms and learning environments through improving ventilation and filtration. Upgrades to ventilation and filtration systems began in the 2020-21 school year and will continue for the 2022-23 school year. 

Standardized School Ventilation Measures Report

For the 2022-23 school year, school boards will continue to communicate ventilation measures through the Standardized Ventilation Measures Report and make this information available on the board’s website. This information will continue to ensure transparency for school communities, including students, parents and staff, and provide consistent communication across the province. The information may include whether: ventilation has been inspected, measures in place in each school (such as use of higher grade filters, frequency of filter changes, HVAC systems are running longer, standalone HEPA filter units installed, windows are being opened, etc.).