COVID School Closure – What this means for St. Louis Programs

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April 13th, 2021

Dear St. Louis Adult Learning and Continuing Education Community –

As you know we have commenced our well-deserved April Break and we hope that for each of you, it is starting as well as it can under our current circumstances.  No doubt you are likely also aware, the Premier of the Province has indicated that the return to school after the April Break will be remote.  That means that, on April 19th all schools in the WCDSB, including St. Louis, will continue their learning virtually.  The decision is being made with an abundance of caution.  Experience has shown us that our schools are generally quite safe.  Our protocols have served us well, and the cases of COVID are not starting, nor are they generally spreading, in our schools – but we are a reflection of the community.  We have also seen an increase in the variants, and they are proving more concerning.  Closing the schools to in person learning for the remainder of April will help us contain the cases that come into schools and ensure that when we return to our buildings, we are doing so in the safest manner possible.

We do not yet have a firm return date for in-person learning, but we know that we will pivot to virtual for a minimum of 2 weeks.  Once we have a firm return date for in-person learning we share that information with the school community. Visit https://stlouis.wcdsb.ca often for updates.

The move to remote learning for our programs will be as it was in January.  The first day back to learning remains the same as planned for your program, beginning April 19th. There are no changes to the days or times of your programs. All learning that was occurring remotely will continue unchanged.

Students who were learning in-person in any of our campuses will be joining their classes or programs online for the duration of the school closure. They are as follows:

  • Culinary
  • Hairstyling
  • Personal Support Worker (*those in theory classes)
  • LBS — Core Essentials
  • ESL
  • LINC
  • Childminding & Licensed Child Care

Our students who are working on Co-operative education credits (Credits@Work and School to Work placements in essential services) may continue their placement following all COVID protocols and safety measures.

Thank you all for adhering to public health and safety measures that have ensured schools remain a safe place for our students and staff.  This will be more important than ever now – both for our schools and for our community at large.  During the April Break we all must adhere to the public health guidance to limit our contacts and social gatherings.

Once again, we encourage you to visit Ontario.ca/covidresponse to learn what public health measures are in place in our community – but also please be aware that these could change depending on the most current public health advice.

We also suggest checking out these helpful resources and supports:

I will also take this opportunity to once again point out that mental health resources are available to students and families through:

  • Kids Help Phone, which offers 24/7 counselling and referral services across the province. To use this free resource, children can call 1-800-668-6868, or text CONNECT to 686868.
  • For adults in the region there is crisis line support available through Here 24 Seven 1-844-437-3247.
  • Need COVID-19 support? Check out here4help.ca/.
  • Other online resources to check out for information and tools regarding mental wellness and health are https://mindyourmind.ca/, wellbeingwaterloo.ca (community collaborative to improve well-being) and https://anxietycanada.com/.

Vaccination does continue to roll out and while we are in the darkest of days right now, there is reason to believe there is light at the end of this dark tunnel. Please be sure to follow the media and be aware of Public Health announcements for vaccine registrations that may be available to you based on age and postal codes within the region as that information is being updated as new information becomes available. Let us continue to be an Easter people, anchored in faith.  Please remain confident that we are here to support you, as we walk together as a hope-filled community.  #InThisTogether  #WeGotThis

Please keep in mind that most of our school staff and teachers are on a well-deserved break and will be available for questions, guidance and updates as of April 19th, 2021.

Sincerely,

Lisa Mackay

Principal

For Staff & Students During “April Break”

Additional Asymptomatic COVID-19 Testing for Staff & Students During “April Break”

The Ontario government has announced several opportunities to access COVID-19 testing for staff and students during the upcoming April Break.

Asymptomatic targeted testing expansion

The following options will be available to staff and students in the community.

In-Pharmacy Testing:

Existing Pharmacies

  • For the week of April 12-18 only, pharmacies that currently offer asymptomatic testing for education staff, will now accept appointments from students.
  • Children attending child care located within schools will also be eligible to access this testing. Please check with your local pharmacy on minimum testing age.
  • While students/children can access testing in pharmacies for April 12-18 only, this testing will continue to be available for all staff.
  • To book an appointment, visit the Covid-19 Testing Locations website, and select “pharmacy” as your location type, with the booking details requested.

New Pharmacies

  • In addition to these pharmacies, Shoppers Drug Mart is also able to offer additional in-pharmacy Rapid Antigen Screening for students and staff beginning April 14, 2021
  • Please see the accompanying list of participating stores
  • To book an appointment, please contact the store directly.

Assessment Centres

  • For the week of April 12-18, students and staff will also be able to access asymptomatic testing at local assessment centres.
  • Children attending child care located within schools, and child care staff, will also be eligible to access this testing.
  • This testing is only being offered to students, children and staff from April 12-18.
  • To book an appointment, visit the Covid-19 Testing Locations website, and select “assessment centre” as your location type, with the booking details requested

Participating Shoppers Drug Mart Stores

St. Louis Closed April 12-17. Stay Home, Stay Safe.

St. Louis will be closed for the April Break (April 12 to 17) to all in-person and remote learning. ESL, Citizenship and International Languages classes offered on Saturday, April 9, yet not on Saturday April 17.   We expect to return to current learning formats on Monday, April 19, however we respond to Provincial orders daily.

Please visit https://stlouis.wcdsb.ca for updates!

Letter to Students (and Parents) below:

Dear Students and Parents,

Thank you for continuing to follow the public health and safety measures that have kept schools open and safe for students and staff. It is our collective effort that continues to ensure you (and your children) can learn in the classroom.

As per recent announcements, the province has implemented a provincewide shutdown for four weeks in response to worsening trends in key health indicators across the province.

Schools will remain open for in-person learning through the Provincial Emergency and Stay at Home Order. The Spring Break will continue as planned, from April 12th to 16th, and schools including St. Louis will reopen for in-person learning and other learning formats on April 19th.

In light of the recently announced measures, it is more important than ever that we continue to follow health advice over the Spring Break to do our part to keep schools open, for in-person student learning.

At this critical point in the pandemic, the following  public health measures are crucial to help prevent and limit the spread of COVID-19:

  • Socialize with your own household only.
  • Stay home.
  • Get tested, if you feel ill.
  • Participate in the targeted testing offered by your school board.
  • Screen every day, including during spring break, for COVID-19 symptoms before going to other approved locations (the COVID-19 School and Child Care Screening Tool is available to assist families with symptom screening).
  • Practice good hand hygiene habits, masking, and physical distancing.
  • Refer to ca/covidresponse to learn what public health measures are in place in our community.
  • Refrain from travelling.
  • Check wcdsb.ca and https://stlouis.wcdsb.ca websites for updates.

For the week of April 12-18, pharmacies that currently offer testing and assessment centres across the province will accept appointments from students and education staff for asymptomatic testing. The Ministry of Education will be working with school boards to offer school-based clinics. People are encouraged to take advantage of this testing capacity to be tested to support a safe return to school on April 19. Children attending St. Louis or any other childcare, and childcare staff, will also be eligible to access this testing.

As a reminder, before coming back to school on April 19th, you must screen for COVID-19 symptoms. If you, your child or anyone in your household is ill, stay home and follow the guidance in the school screener.

Your mental health and well-being and that of our school’s children continues to be a key government priority.  If as a St. Louis student, you wish to learn how to manage your stress better, drop-in to a virtual St. Louis student presentation https://meet.google.com/msp-bxwf-csj on Monday, April 12 at 2:00pm or Wednesday, April 14 at 10:30am. There is no need to register.

By following public health advice, we can all enjoy a safe Spring Break and continue to support in-person learning in our school. Have a safe, fun and restful break.

Sincerely,

Lisa Mackay, Principal

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