Letters from the Director of Education
Updates from David DeSantis, Director of Education
August 25, 2021
The Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School Board Return to Learning Plan
We are delighted our students and staff are returning to school in person this September. This Reopening Guide has been created to assist our Catholic learning communities in preparation for a safe return to school. All stakeholders can be assured the Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School Board (ALCDSB) is in alignment with all Public Health protocols and guidelines, and the Ministry of Education’s recently published directives.
Through the lens of our gospel values, our focus during the upcoming school year will be the wellness and safety of our students and staff, while continuing to foster healthy relationships and productive collaboration with our community partners.
We are committed to ensuring our Catholic schools and work sites continue adhering fully to all health and safety measures currently in place and receive appropriate support in the event any additional measures are enacted. Please ensure you take the time to review the items below outlining our priorities as we begin the 2021-2022 school year. If you have any questions, please contact your school.
First Day of School for all ALCDSB students is
Tuesday, September 7, 2021
- Students will return to in-person learning daily for the full school day. Elementary school students in Kindergarten through Grade 8 will remain in one cohort for the full day. Secondary students will follow the quadmester model (two courses per day), for at least the first half of the school year (September to January).
- To provide families with one final consideration regarding their child’s placement in September, parents/guardians will have until Monday, August 30th, 2021, by 4:00 p.m. to request that their child move into the remote learning school or return to bricks and mortar school. You must contact your child’s school Administration to request a change.
Elementary students placed in the remote learning school will remain in remote school for the entire school year (2021-2022) and will not be allowed to transfer back to in person learning during the school year.
Secondary students that choose to learn remotely will be placed into remote learning for the first semester and will have the option to move back to in person learning for second semester.
Students in remote learning will NOT be able to participate in extracurricular activities with their bricks and mortar school.
- As part of our integrated approach for student well-being, we have created the Soft Start to September planning resource to help school staff welcome students back to in-person and remote learning. The document combines curriculum guidance and mental health/wellbeing resources, with a strong community building focus through comprehensive plans for each week of September.
COVID 19 Safety, Distancing and Cohorting
- Distancing wherever possible between students, students and staff, and coworkers will be required along with other public health measures such as daily screening, hand hygiene, cohorting, enhanced cleaning, and masking.
- Students and Staff will continue to self-screen daily. Parents will be provided with a COVID-19 checklist for daily screening of their children before arriving at school, and staff will complete a verification each day with students to ensure awareness of symptoms of COVID-19.
- Regular updated screening tools will be shared through the Board’s social media sites and school websites.
- Accurate tracking of student attendance is important. Please ensure you report your child’s absences promptly and indicate the reason for absence.
Before and After School Programs
- Before and after school programs will continue to operate in the same places as last year with continued Health and Safety protocols in place.
Lunch Protocols and Recess
- Students may eat together outdoors, without distancing or indoors, with a minimum distance of two metres maintained between cohorts and as much distancing as possible within a cohort (for example, in their classroom).
- Outdoor recess will occur without masks, and distancing will be encouraged between cohorts along with appropriate hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette.
- Secondary students are permitted to eat off-campus.
- Cafeterias will not be serving food in semester one.
- Students may use microwaves if hand sanitizer/wipes are available after each use.
- In elementary and secondary health and physical education courses, the use of gymnasiums, swimming pools, change rooms, weight rooms, indoor physical education equipment, and shared outdoor equipment are permitted with distancing.
- High and low contact activities will be permitted indoors and outdoors.
- Masking is encouraged for indoor sports where they can be worn safely, based on the activity.
- More information about school extracurricular athletics will be forthcoming.
- Students in Grades 1 – 12 are required to wear properly fitted masks indoors.
- While not mandatory, the use of masks will be encouraged in all kindergarten classes.
Shared Spaces and Materials
- Shared spaces and use of lockers/cubbies are permitted. Shared materials are also permitted with a focus on regular hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette.
- The ventilation systems in our Catholic schools have been inspected and are in good working order. Ventilation systems will continue to be regularly inspected, maintained, and filters changed on a frequent basis throughout the school year to optimize operation. Furthermore, all classrooms in all ALCDSB schools will have portable HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) Purification unit(s) installed to increase the frequency of air filtration in these spaces.
- Further information on school ventilation will be shared on the board website in early September
Mandatory Vaccinations for Staff
- School Boards are awaiting further direction from the Ministry of Education around the application and implementation of the disclosure policy, but we anticipate that all individuals covered by this policy will be required to submit a formal attestation of being “fully vaccinated” against COVID-19 and to provide proof of vaccination or participate in regular rapid antigen testing if not fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Ministry of Education Protective Strategies
ALCDSB School Year Calendar
ALCDSB Multi-Year Strategic Plan
Our Catholic learning communities wait in anticipation and hope for staff and students this September. "I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us." Romans 8:18
Director of Education
Other Communication from the Director of Education:
Letter from the Director of Education, April 7, 2020
Letter from the Director of Education, March 31, 2020
Letter from the Director of Education, March 16, 200
Letter from the Director of Education, March 22, 2020
Letter from the Director of Education, March 24, 2020