Archived letter from December 31st email to the school community
Yesterday afternoon, Dr. Kieran Moore, Ontario's chief medical officer of health, announced that students will return to in-person learning on Wednesday, January 5, 2022. The JICS Lab School is committed to following government directions and maximizing student and staff safety. JICS students (Nursery to Grade 6) will return to school for in-person learning on Wednesday, January 5, 2022. Daycare will begin on January 5, 8:00am. We have maintained our position that schools should be the last to close and the first to open. In-person learning is critical to the positive mental health of children.
We are waiting for Toronto Public Health to publish their revised COVID-19 School Screening Tool and update their website so that we can update the JICS Daily Screening and JICS COVID Safety Procedures accordingly. New information will be shared with parents as soon as possible.
Thank you for limiting your contacts, for getting your booster, for getting your children vaccinated, for wearing your masks, for practicing hand-hygiene, and maintaining physical distance. Thank you for the kindness and support you continue to show us. Once again, this holiday season was not what many of us had planned. Long anticipated family gatherings, celebrations, and trips were cancelled and/or modified all in an effort to slow the spread of the highly transmissible Omicron variant.
This latest Omicron wave is testing all of us. While we continue to take the necessary precautions to ensure the health and safety of everyone in our community, we also look for ways to reduce the understandable anxiety and fatigue that are accompanying this prolonged pandemic period.
Here is what we have in place:
JICS Daily Screening
Rigorous morning screening and monitoring of symptoms are our best defence to keeping the school open. Please continue to check your child/ren closely for symptoms each morning and complete the JICS Daily Screening beginning Wednesday, January 5. Students who arrive at school without the screening completed by 8:00am will remain outdoors until the screening has been successfully submitted.
Research consistently indicates that proper use of medical masks is an optimal prevention tool against COVID-19.
To mitigate the risk of transmission and ensure that we maintain, as much as possible, a safe working/teaching and learning environment, we have ordered KN95 masks for all teachers and staff.
Parents are required to provide proper fitting masks for children JK to Grade 6 to be worn indoors. We strongly encourage proper fitting KN95 masks, medical masks, or 3-ply cloth masks for students. Parents should provide 3 masks daily (arrival, after morning recess, after lunch/afternoon recess) and 2 labelled containers: “clean masks” and “used masks” along with child’s name.
The 5 to 11 year old vaccination roll out protects children and keeps schools open. The following website contains materials and information for children and youth vaccination: COVID-19 vaccines for children and youth - COVID-19 (coronavirus) in Ontario. The JICS Lab School strongly recommends that all parents get their children vaccinated as soon as reasonably possible. We are setting up a database for parents to upload proof of student vaccination. Details coming soon. (All eligible JICS Lab School children must be fully vaccinated for the 2022-2023 school year and provide proof of vaccination.)
The University of Toronto requires and monitors that all faculty and staff are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, in full accordance with all applicable laws and regulations.
Rapid Screening Program
All teachers, staff, and students will continue to participate in the Rapid Screening Program supplied by CDL. Please continue to test twice weekly Sunday/Wednesday and upload results onto Thrive.
Saliva PCR Tests
It is our understanding that Sick Kids Hospital will continue to offer saliva PCR testing to all staff and students in the event that a positive result is received on a rapid antigen screen. More details will follow regarding the initiative with Sick Kids. All family members living with an individual who receives a positive test result (antigen or PCR) will be required to isolate for five days regardless of the vaccine status of close contacts.
Cleaning and Sanitization
Hand sanitizer stations are installed in each classroom throughout the school. Routine sanitizing of facilities and high touch surfaces takes place throughout the day. Daily professional deep cleaning takes place at the end of day.
Wall-mounted AERA MAX Professional air purifiers were installed in every classroom and specialty class this summer by the University. These four-stage “true HEPA filtration system” air purifiers remove 99.99% of coronavirus. This is in addition to the existing MERV-13 filtration ventilation in renovated classrooms. Windows are open to increase the flow of fresh air into classrooms.
We have increased measures to separate grade cohorts and have suspended Special Friends, clubs, and extra-curriculars until further notice.
Daycare will run 4 separate afterschool cohorts: Nursery, JK & SK, Gr 1-2, Gr 3-6.
Testing Positive and Isolation
If a student tests positive from a PCR or a rapid antigen test, or has symptoms of COVID-19 they must isolate for five days. In addition, household contacts of individuals who have tested positive must also self-isolate during this time regardless of their vaccination status. More details to come from TPH.
If you have travelled with your child during the winter holidays and have not completed the JICS Travel Form, please do so today.
TPH screening: If the child/student who has travelled outside of Canada is not fully vaccinated, they are not to attend school/child care for 14 days, even if they traveled with a vaccinated companion.
While we are all tired and want this pandemic to be over, we must continue to work together to take all the necessary precautions to protect ourselves and our community. We are facing new challenges and we are called upon to be flexible and adaptive as perhaps the measures listed above may need to change as we learn more information from Public Health.
We thank you for your patience and support and encourage you to email us with any questions or concerns you may have.
Best wishes to all for the New Year,