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Letter to Families - Sept. 3 2021

September 03, 2021


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Dear Families,  

On behalf of our Board of Trustees and senior team I want to reiterate our commitment to the safety, and ongoing well-being of our students and staff as we return to our Catholic schools in person next week.

This letter is intended to provide updates and further details on the return to school, and what students and their families can expect once school begins.

As we return to school in person this fall, the Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School Board will continue working closely with our local public health units to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our Catholic schools. 

Daily Screening

  • All staff and students must self-screen every day before attending their Catholic school.
  • The Provincial Government online screening tool for school and child care is available here, and will be updated throughout the year.
  • The most recently updated downloadable/printable screening tool for school and child care is available here.
  • Any staff and/or students experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19 as identified in the screening tool 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.
  • Students and staff are expected to confirm their completion of self-screening daily, prior to entering their Catholic school.
  • Any staff, student or visitor that does not pass the screening procedures should not attend school.


Key updates to the screening tools include:

  • More specific symptom lists: in alignment with the updated COVID-19 Reference Document for Symptoms,
  • Consideration for immunization status: asymptomatic individuals who are fully immunized are not required to isolate if they are identified as a high-risk close contact of an individual who is symptomatic or who tests positive for COVID-19, unless otherwise directed by their local public health unit.
  • Consideration for previously positive individuals: similarly, individuals who were diagnosed with COVID-19 within the past 90 days and have since been cleared are not required to isolate unless otherwise directed by their local public health unit
  • Revised isolation period: asymptomatic high-risk close contacts of a case are now required to isolate for 10 days (previously 14), unless they are fully immunized or previously positive, as above.
  • Consideration for rapid testing: the screening tool now includes a question about a positive screen on a rapid antigen or home-based self-testing kit.

Placement of students

  • There will be no transition permitted for elementary students between remote and
    in-person learning once the school year begins.
  • Secondary students who are learning remotely during first semester will have the opportunity to return to their bricks-and-mortar schools for second semester if they wish.
  • Students in remote learning are not permitted to participate in extra-curricular activities with their bricks-and-mortar schools.
  • Exceptional circumstances will be considered on a case-by-case basis for families who feel a transition to, or from remote learning is warranted for their child(ren).


  • Students in Grades 1 to 12 are required to wear properly fitted non-medical or cloth masks indoors in school, including in hallways and during classes. 
  • Students are not required to wear masks outdoors, but distancing should be encouraged between cohorts as much as possible.
  • Students are expected to bring their own masks to wear on student transportation and at school. Non-medical masks will also be made available by schools for students if needed.
  • Medical masks are required to be worn by school staff and visitors indoors in school, including in hallways and during classes.
  • Medical masks are required to be worn by school staff outdoors if two metres of distance from others cannot be maintained. Eye protection is also required if a staff member comes within two metres of an unmasked individual both indoors and outdoors, as per occupational health and safety requirements.

School arrival and departure

  • Our Catholic schools will make use of all feasible entrances and exits toward ensuring appropriate distancing during school arrival and departure periods.
  • Designated routes will be established for students moving to and from their classrooms during the school day.
  • Visual cues and physical guides will be present in our Catholic schools to assist appropriate distancing and the safe movement of students within the school.


  • The use of non-medical masks for students in grades 1 to 12 is required on student transportation. Students in kindergarten are encouraged to wear masks on student transportation. 
  • Students will use assigned seats while on student transportation to assist contact tracing efforts in the event a student or a driver contracts COVID-19.

Secondary School Athletics

  • At our secondary schools, students in grades 9-12 will resume extra-curricular athletics with a 'return to training' focus. Secondary schools will communicate the details of this program to families in early September.


  • Any visitors to a school are required to self-screen and to wear a medical mask while on school premises. A medical mask will be provided by the school if needed.

As recently communicated in the Statement of Support from Local Medical Officers of Health Regarding the Return to School: β€œWith preventive infection control measures continuing in schools, increasing rates of COVID-19 vaccination in our region, and relatively stable rates of COVID-19, we are well positioned to ensure a safe and successful return to
in-person learning." 


β€œBut blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him." Jeremiah 17:7



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David DeSantis

Director of Education

Important Links 

ALCDSB Return to Learning Plan

ALCDSB Ventilation Strategy and Updates

ALCDSB School Year Calendar 

ALCDSB Multi-Year Strategic Plan 

*Families and staff will be notified by email of any further updates or changes as we receive them from the Ministry of Education.