Local Schools to Reopen Monday, January 25 with Enhanced Public Health Measures
Written by Comms Team, January 21, 2021
In-person Learning Resumes While Stay at Home Order
Remains in Effect Until February 11
Publicly-funded elementary and secondary schools in Peterborough City and County will be permitted to resume in-person learning on January 25, 2021.
After reviewing the most recent COVID-19 data and on the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, Peterborough Public Health (PPH) is one of the seven public health units given the green light to allow students return on Monday. This means that most schools in the following schools boards will resume in-person learning:
- Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board (Peterborough City and County, Northumberland County, Hastings County only)
- Peterborough Victoria Northumberland and Clarington Catholic District School Board (Peterborough City and County, Northumberland County and Kawartha Lakes only)
- Conseil scolaire catholique MonAvenir (Peterborough City and County only)
Dr. Salvaterra, Peterborough Public Health’s Medical Officer of Health, explained local COVID-19 rates in children haven’t risen as much as in other areas to warrant keeping area schools closed. “In our community, the testing positivity rate is relatively low at 1.1%. We are closely following our numbers and monitoring the trends. If the situation in our region changes, we will take appropriate action,” she said.
For local students and staff currently exhibiting any COVID-19 symptoms, Dr. Salvaterra strongly encouraged them to get tested now so they have their test results before school resumes on January 25. Even though schools will reopen for in-person learning, staff and students must stay home if they have symptoms and while waiting for test results.
Dr. Salvaterra also noted that the provincial shutdown with enhanced measures as well as the stay at home order, remains in effect for all of Ontario until at least February 11, which means no socialization or gatherings before or after school even with cohorts. It also means that organized sports and activities remain prohibited.
With this reopening, the province requires schools to add additional public health measures, such as masking in younger grades and enhanced screening requirements to ensure students can safely return to school and reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
To ensure schools remain safe, the government introduced the following enhanced measures:
- Mandatory masking for students in Grades 1 – 3. Therefore, all students in Grade 1 -12 are required to wear a mask. This also applies to before and after school programs, as well as on student transportation. Masks will be highly recommended, but not mandatory, for Kindergarten students. Reasonable exceptions on the requirement to wear masks will apply.
- Mandatory masking for students (Grade 1 – 12) and staff outdoors where physical distancing cannot be maintained.
- Effective February 10, secondary students are required to provide daily confirmation/proof of having completed the daily self-screen prior to or upon arrival to school.
- Effective January 25, all staff are required to provide daily confirmation/proof of having completed the daily self-screen prior to or upon arrival to school.
- Effective January 25, any visitors to a school are required to complete and provide daily confirmation/proof that they have self-screened and to wear a medical mask while on school premises.
Similarly, additional measures will be implemented, effective immediately, for child care including:
- Mandatory masking for all children in Grades 1 and up while inside a licensed child care setting, including in hallways; all younger children (aged 2 years to SK) are encouraged but not required to wear a non-medical mask or face covering while inside a child care setting, including in hallways.
- Mandatory masking for all children in Grades 1 and above and staff outdoors where physical distancing cannot be maintained. All younger children (aged 2 years to SK) are also encouraged to do this, but it is not required.
- Effective January 25, child care staff, before and after school providers, visitors and students completing post-secondary placements are required to complete and provide daily confirmation/proof that they have self-screened.
- Parents and guardians continue to be responsible for screening their children for symptoms of illness every day using the provincial COVID-19 school and childcare screening tool.
Carolyn Doris, Program Manager and Business Continuity Lead during PPH’s emergency response, encouraged the school community to continue their diligence in following public health safety measures to keep local transmission rates low. “Completing the daily screen and staying home when you don’t feel well, proper handwashing and respiratory etiquette, wearing a mask when you can’t be physically distanced and limiting non-essential trips in the community are some of the main things we can do to keep our schools open,” she stated. Residents are advised to check with their local school board for additional requirements on a safe return to school.
For more information on COVID-19 visit www.peterboroughpublichealth.ca.
For further information, please contact:
705-743-1000, ext. 391