August 24th, 2021
As we prepare to start school on September 7, here is some health and safety information for students learning in-person at school.
In case you missed the updates we shared on August 13, you can find them here:
Health and Safety Updates for In-Person Learning
The Waterloo Region District School Board (WRDSB) remains committed to ensuring all health and safety protocols will be in place for September and that our schools will continue to operate safely.
Over the course of the 2021-2022 school year, we hope to return to regular operations as it is safe to do so. We will continue to be guided by advice from local Public Health and from the Ministry of Education.
The following are some important updates to our health and safety protocols for in-person learning:
Like last year, students (or their parents or caregivers) will need to ensure they have completed screening for COVID-19 symptoms using the Ontario School Screener. If your child is showing any symptoms, please keep your child home. You must screen for COVID-19 every day before going to school.
Find the Ontario School Screener quickly using the buttons on each school’s website:
We recognize the importance of shared learning environments as students return to full-time, in-person learning in September. The following outlines how we can safely use shared spaces:
- The use of cubbies and lockers will be allowed with distancing and hand hygiene.
- Students in Grades 7 and 8 can use Tech Rooms
- Music programs will be allowed indoors with appropriate safety measures including distancing and cohorting. While singing indoors students will be required to wear a mask.
- Nutrition programs and non-instructional food events, such as pizza days, will be allowed and will start with a staggered approach in schools later this Fall.
- Limited use of cafeteria space for designated classes will be allowed
Health and Physical Education
Students will resume health and physical education courses. The use of gyms, swimming pools, change rooms, weight rooms, indoor gym equipment and shared outdoor equipment are allowed with distancing, hand hygiene and the use of masks where appropriate. These activities will not start until relevant safety protocols are in place.
High and low-contact activities are allowed as follows:
- Masking is not required when playing high and low contact activities outdoors.
- Windows should be opened when feasible to increase ventilation.
- Further Health & Safety measures may be added once the Ontario Physical & Health Education Association (OPHEA) releases their guidance document.
Staff will continue to update students and families.
Mental Health and Well-Being Supports
We continue to prioritize mental health and well-being as a key condition for learning and flourishing, and as being vital to our well-being.
To support families with the new challenges of this school year, we have provided a number of resources under the Student Well-being section of our Return to School website.
- Five in Five
- Supporting the Transition Back to School Suggestions for Caregivers
- Caregivers’ Guide to Setting the Stage for Return to School
- Are you Ready to Go Back to School?
Student Transportation (STSWR)
School vehicles can operate at full capacity. The use of non-medical or cloth masks for students in Kindergarten to Grade 12 is required on school vehicles.
Students who ride the bus will be assigned seats. Please visit the Student Transportation Services of Waterloo Region (STSWR) website for more information on bus times.
Return to School website
For information on return to school plans for Elementary and Secondary students, including Extended Day Programs, health and safety protocols and the communication process for positive cases of COVID-19 in schools, visit our Return to School website.
While the WRDSB has followed the guidelines from the Ministry of Education and recommendations of local Public Health, we have taken a cautious approach to ensure that our schools are as safe as possible. This means that there may be changes as our local context changes and we would ask for your patience as we respond to your feedback and any new guidance from the Ministry.
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