COVID-19 in Grand Erie Schools - Introductory Letter to Parents
September 8, 2020
Dear Grand Erie Families,
With the 2020-21 school year about to get underway, Grand Erie District School Board and the Ministry of Education want to inform you of the actions we’re taking to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 in our schools. This letter also includes details about what you can do to protect yourself and your family as well as what happens if there is a positive COVID-19 case or outbreak declared at a Grand Erie school.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 (PDF) include:
Other symptoms of COVID-19 can include:
Please consult the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 reference document for other clinical features of COVID-19, and when atypical signs and symptoms of COVID-19 should be considered, particularly in children. If you’re worried your child, or any member of your household, has been exposed to COVID-19 or has symptoms, you use Ministry of Health’s Ontario COVID-19 self-assessment tool. You will get a recommendation on what to do next.
You must screen your child for symptoms every day before they come to school. You can use the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 self-assessment tool for this purpose. If your child has any symptoms of COVID-19 or if they are ill, they should not attend school.
Students who become ill during the school day will be isolated and must be picked up as soon as possible. Additionally, students who become symptomatic during the day will not be able to use student transportation or attend after school care.
Grand Erie is working closely with the Brant County Health Unit and the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit to take steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our school. We will keep you updated with new information as it becomes available.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 in our school, multiple measures have been implemented. Here is a quick overview of what Grand Erie is doing:
All non-essential furniture, supplies and equipment have been removed from classrooms to assist with physical distancing
Masks are mandatory for students in Grades 4-12 and strongly recommended for students in Kindergarten-Grade 3, both in the classroom and on student transportation
Staff are required to wear masks and eye protection or face shields
Regular hand-washing and/or hand-sanitizing will be built into our school day and encouraged often
Where possible, adjustments have been made to the HVAC systems in schools. Additionally, windows will be opened, and ceiling/floor fans will be used to help with ventilation
There is signage placed in all schools to encourage physical distancing and the use of arrows to create one-way hallways, where required
There is increased cleaning and disinfecting of touch points, bathrooms and shared items
The Ministry of Health advises everyone to take an active role in protecting themselves from COVID-19. Here are a few things that you and your family can do:
Grand Erie will follow the Ministry of Education’s Operational Guidance for COVID-19 Management in Schools:
If a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, you will be informed as soon as possible
oUnderstandably, for privacy reasons, the identity of students or staff members who test positive for COVID-19 will not be disclosed
oThe local health unit will provide public health guidance and direction to those affected, and will be in direct contact with students, staff and families who have been deemed a close contact to a positive COVID-19 case. A close contact would include any students or staff in the case’s class, but may also include others
oIn most situations, individuals classified as a close contact to a COVID-19 case, will be told to self-isolate for 14 days. Any siblings or family members who reside in the same household will also be directed to self-isolate
If a COVID-19 outbreak is declared in a school, you will be informed as soon as possible
oAn outbreak is defined as two or more lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases within 14 days of each other
oThe local Medical Officer of Health will provide public health guidance and direction when an outbreak is declared and Grand Erie will follow this direction
oAn outbreak may result in the closure of a school, if a majority of students and staff members are directed to self-isolate for 14 days by the Medical Officer of Heath
In either situation, Grand Erie staff will work with students and their families to ensure learning continues for those who are self-isolating.