Letter to Minister of Education: Extra measures

Limestone Learning Foundation
Letter to Minister of Education: Extra measures
Posted on 01/18/2022
Image of letter graphicThe following letter was sent to Minister of Education Stephen Lecce,  Chief Medical Officer of Health Ministry of Health Dr. Kieran Moore, Medical Officer of Health Dr. Piotr Oglaza and Acting Medical Officer of Health Hastings Prince Edward Public Health Dr. Ethan Toumishey on behalf of the Limestone District School Board on January 17, 2022.

Dear Minister Lecce, Dr. Moore, Dr. Oglaza and Dr. Toumishey:

The Limestone District School Board of Trustees was pleased to see the Ministry of Education confirm the return to in- person learning at public schools across Ontario as scheduled on January 17, 2022. We know that most students, families and staff are anxious to get back to the traditional classroom setting as we know in-person learning is provides the greatest support.

Staff have been planning diligently for the return of students all while supporting school communities during the temporary pivot to remote learning from January 5-14, 2022. Some changes outlined in the recently released Ministry of Health’s COVID 19: Interim Guidance for Schools and Child Care: Omicron Surge are most welcome and will help support a safe return to school with a focus on minimizing the spread and effects of COVID-19. There are, however, several areas where Trustees would like to see additional attention. They are outlined below in a motion passed unanimously by the Board of Trustees.

At the Regular Board Meeting on Wednesday, January 12, 2022, the Limestone District School Board of Trustees, passed the following motion:

That the Chair write a letter to the CMOH (Chief Medical Officer of Health), including our local MOHs (Medical Officer of Health) and the MOE (Minister of Education) copying all member Boards requesting:

  1. Continued tracking and public reporting of confirmed COVID‐19 cases in schools by Public Health Units;
  2. Supports and implementation of a “Test to Return” strategy following COVID‐19 illness and exposure, supported by an adequate rapid antigen test supply;
  3. Funding and supplies of optional medical masks and respirators (such as N95 and KN95 masks) for students in the same way that they are now providing for education staff;
  4.  Continued funding and supplies of rapid antigen tests for all students and staff;
  5.  Reimbursement of all school‐board pandemic‐related costs;
  6.  Funding for additional staff for remote learning to ensure choice and flexibility for students and families given the ongoing closures and multiple transitions for students;
  7.  That the Province work with local municipalities and broadband providers to address inequitable access across boards which impact the ability of rural students to participate in remote school if it returns;
  8.  Transparent and timely communication to families and staff regarding changes to both learning models in secondary and any changes to in‐person learning; and,
  9.  Update the Immunization of School Pupils Act and include COVID‐19 as a mandatory vaccination.
The COVID-19 pandemic has strained school boards since March 2020. Central and school staff have gone above and beyond to provide continuity of learning for all students and ensuring their safety and well-being. To ensure that in-person learning can continue, and to ensure confidence in the public education system, we feel these additional measures will provide necessary extra layers of support to create extra layers of risk mitigation safe school communities.

Sincerely,

Suzanne Ruttan,
Chair, Limestone District School Board


The Limestone District School Board is situated on traditional territories of the Anishinaabe & Haudenosaunee.