In light of the Omicron (B1.1.529) variant of concern and how quickly it is spreading, the COVID-19 case, contact and outbreak management approach is being updated across all sectors, by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health (OCMOH) to balance individual risk and societal disruption. As a result, cohort-based dismissals may no longer occur in schools and child care settings.
As we adapt our pandemic response, and based on advice from the OCMOH, we are building on our past improvements to school safety, with updated and additional health and safety measures in schools. These measures will support a safer return to in-person learning from the winter break and continuity of learning for students. To provide time for publicly funded school boards, the reopening of schools for students following the break is now on January 5, 2022 for school boards scheduled to return on January 3.
Updated Health & Safety Guidance:
The Ministry of Education (EDU), based on advice from the OCMOH, will be implementing additional health and safety measures in schools effective January 2022.
These measures will supplement and build on the existing 2021-22 school year health and safety measures to ensure a safe and healthy school environment, as outlined in COVID-19: Health, Safety and Operational Guidance for Schools (2021-22).
Rigorous screening and monitoring of symptoms by students, families, and staff is critical to limiting transmission and ensuring schools remain safe and open for in-person learning. As an additional layer of protection for students and staff, effective January 2022, all schools are required to reinstate daily on-site confirmation of screening for all students and staff until further notice.
In addition, a more sensitive COVID-19 symptom list is being reinstated for daily active screening of all students and staff in schools and child care. Anyone who has symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 or is confirmed positive case must self-isolate, regardless of vaccination status.
If a student/staff is experiencing at least one symptom most commonly associated with COVID-19 or two or more symptoms less commonly associated with COVID-19 they must self-isolate as per public health guidelines. If a student/staff is experiencing only one symptom less commonly associated with COVID-19 they must stay home until their symptom has been improving for 24 hours (48 hours for nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhea). Household members, including siblings, must stay home until the household member experiencing symptom(s) is cleared from their isolation.
Building on the testing initiatives announced in October 2021, and to provide targeted access to polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing for students and education staff, the PCR self-collection initiative in schools will continue in a modified format for participating private schools.
Effective January 2022, PCR self-collection kits are to be provided to symptomatic elementary and secondary students and education staff experiencing symptoms most commonly associated with COVID-19. Test kits are not to be provided to students/staff experiencing symptoms less commonly associated with COVID-19, or to entire cohorts/school population. Arrangements must be made to provide safe access to kits for individuals requiring them.
The continued and modified use of PCR self-collection kits for participating private and First Nations/federally operated schools is part of the government’s efforts to reduce absenteeism for students and staff that receive a negative test result.
Enhance Cohorting Measures:
To mitigate risks associated with the colder weather and gatherings/travel over the winter holidays and to limit the number of contacts for more vulnerable populations, it is recommended that private schools consider cohorting during recess and outdoor breaks to limit contacts as much as possible.
Paused sports and extra-curricular activities and community settings:
Indoor high contact and high intensity activities, such as basketball, multi-cohort choirs and wind instrument ensembles, will be paused temporarily to ensure the health and well-being of students. Rules regarding extra-curricular activities constitute return to school direction issued by the Ministry of Education and approved by the OCMOH.
Vaccination continues to represent our most effective strategy to reduce COVID-19 transmission and we are pleased to see the growing vaccination rates for school staff and eligible students.
The ministry will continue to work with the OCMOH and local PHUs to adjust health and safety requirements (e.g., more or less restrictive measures) and update guidance as required, based on the public health environment.
Due to the new precautions an mandates put in place by the Ontario Provincial Government to safeguard public health.
All Burlington Royal Arts Academy students will transition to in-classroom learning starting on Tuesday, September 7. This may be revised by the provincial government, and we will communicate any changes accordingly. Thank you, and we wish our families, and our community very best wishes and a safe start to the 2021/2022 school year!
Important Information for 2021/2022 School Year:
We will continue to focus on the health and well-being of students, families, and staff, while aiming to return to normal conditions as soon as safely possible. That is why, based on advice from the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, province-wide in September:
Letter from Director of School:
Throughout this difficult period, the Burlington Royal Arts Academy community has demonstrated that we are here through thick and thin, for our staff, our students, and families. Their safety and their excellence is not negotiable within our care and in this regard, we will, as we have proven, not only uphold the highest standards of education and support but also seek to improve these standards every moment of every day.
As we continue to follow Ministry guidelines, we are excited to return to an in-classroom environment but are prepared to adjust as needed. While within classrooms, our teachers and staff will maintain safety, security, and support at all times, while maintaining a first-class education within our spacious classes. Success for our students will continue, and key components will always be our individual care, student-specific guidance and in particular the low ratio of teachers to students in our classrooms.
We will continue to observe the change in government policies and adapt to these flexibly and ensure that this plan adjusts for continued and engaging academic strength and artistic excellence for the benefit of our students.
All of our faculty and school community play an important and indispensable role in supporting the success and well-being of our students. We are now, and have always been, positioned to offer an excellent education to our students. Ultimately when this difficult period has passed into history, we will be able to look back and see how our community bonded together so well for the bright future of our young citizens within our school.
Stay safe and well and we look forward to seeing you all once again in the 2021/2022 school year!
– May Zhang, Director of School. August 2021
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Please download results prior to your visit and forward to: