Christmas Holiday Reminders 2021

Christmas Holiday Reminders
Posted on 12/13/2021

Dear Parents and Guardians:

We would like to extend our appreciation to all of our families for your continued support during the school reopening process over the past few months. Your continued efforts to adhere to our local public health and safety requirements have ensured our schools remain safe and healthy learning spaces for all our students and staff. 

As we enter the Christmas holiday break, it is important to continue exercising caution and to remember that we can all do our part to limit the spread of COVID-19 by reviewing and following the guidance on the government’s holiday webpage. This guidance shares tips and information on how to celebrate holidays and festive events safely. 

Student’s Personal Items

A reminder to ensure students bring home any items they may require over the coming weeks during their time away from school.  Items that are sometimes forgotten during the holidays include hearing aids, inhalers, any required medication that may be stored at the school, personal technology, winter clothes, etc.  As per usual practice, NPSC schools will be closed over the holidays and students will be unable to access the buildings during this time.

International Travel Over the Christmas Holidays

As the Christmas season quickly approaches, families may be choosing to make travel plans for the holidays. As such, we wish to share important information related to international travel during the holidays and quarantine requirements. Individuals must follow federal testing and quarantine requirements upon return from travel. A recent update to the COVID-19 school and child care screening tool includes information about individuals returning from international travel, including:  

  • A fully vaccinated student returning from international travel is permitted to attend school/child care unless they test positive for COVID-19.  
  • Travelers who are not fully vaccinated, including students under 12 who are exempt from quarantine due to having travelled with a vaccinated companion, are not permitted to attend school/child care for 14 days upon their return.
  • Individuals with all other quarantine exemptions (e.g., travelling for cross-border custody arrangements; travelling for medical treatment) may continue to attend school or child care.

It is important to note that these requirements are subject to change as directed by the Government of Canada, the Provincial Government and/or Public Health.  

Take-Home Rapid Antigen Screening Test Kits For Students

In an effort to promote a safer return to the classroom after the winter break, the Government of Ontario has provided school boards with take-home voluntary rapid antigen screening test kits for student use during the Christmas break.  A letter with instructions and the test kits will be distributed to students on December 15.  Should you have any questions, kindly contact your principal.

Returning in January: Student Self-screening

On January 5 and on each school day through to January 19, daily confirmation of self-screening for all students and staff will be required

Please complete the screen for COVID-19 symptoms daily and either return a completed self-screening confirmation form (see Edsby post), or complete your school’s online Google Form (if applicable).   

Students who are ill or showing any symptoms of COVID-19 must stay home, immediately self-isolate and follow the steps directed by public health. Anyone who is sick or develops any symptoms of illness, including those not listed in the school and child care screening tool, should stay home and seek assessment from their health care provider, if needed.  

Time-limited Health and Safety Measures in School

To mitigate the risks associated with the colder weather and gatherings/travel over the winter holidays and to limit the number of contacts for unvaccinated populations especially in elementary schools, the ministry is implementing enhanced health and safety measures for schools. While this approach will allow for vaccine rates to rise in children, following the approval by Health Canada of a COVID-19 vaccine for children 5-11 years old, these measures will remain in place until the Chief Medical Officer of Health (CMOH) recommends they be lifted. To allow for more time to roll-out the COVID-19 vaccine to eligible groups, the CMOH has recommended a cautious approach in the operation of schools including:

  • Virtual-only parent teacher conferences/interviews in elementary and secondary schools;
  • Starting in January, virtual-only assemblies in elementary schools unless a local PHU/school board chooses to enforce this measure earlier; and
  • Restricting lunches/breaks to a single classroom cohort when indoors, where distancing between cohorts cannot be maintained in elementary schools. 

Our schools will continue to support as normal conditions as possible for our students within classroom cohorts during lunch and breaks to allow for interaction, with as much distancing as possible within a cohort. 

For further details on required health and safety measures for the 2021-22 school year, please see COVID-19: Health, Safety and Operational Guidance for Schools (2021-22)

General Reminders

We encourage you to continue to regularly visit our local Health Unit website to learn about the public health measures that are in place in our community.

Please continue to monitor your school’s Edsby pages for important information and updates. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to your school principal. 

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

We wish each of you a very Merry Christmas and a blessed new year!

Nipissing-Parry Sound Catholic District School Board