FAQ: COVID-19


Based on advice from Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Minister of Education has issued a Ministerial Order to close all publicly funded schools in Ontario for two weeks following March Break, in response to the emergence in Ontario of COVID-19.

This means that all schools in the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board will be closed to students and staff from March 14 through to April 5, 2020.

Please note that this FAQ document is a working resource. There are some questions we do not have answers to currently and we will do our best to update the information below as we receive confirmation and clarification. Thank you for your patience as we work through this very fluid situation.

Will childcare settings in your schools be closed?
Yes. As of March 14, 2020, all childcare centres located in our schools, including standalone centres, will be closed through to April 5, 2020. This includes the cancellation of all Before and After care and March Break programming.

We understand this will have a significant impact on our families who use child care centres in our school communities, however, we see this as aligned with the Ministry’s cancellation of schools and a necessary precaution to keep families safe and to contain the spread of COVID-19.

Will Community Use of Schools be impacted?
Yes. As of March 14, 2020, all Community Use of School permits for our facilities are cancelled.  

Is the school year in jeopardy?
This two-week closure following March Break will not put the school year in jeopardy and will not impact secondary school graduation.

Will the school year be extended into the summer months?
We have not received this direction from the Ministry of Education. The decision to extend the school year would be made by the Ministry. It’s too early to determine if this will be necessary.

Will international student trips be cancelled?
Yes. We have cancelled all international student trips.

Will school activities, field trips, special events be cancelled?
Yes. Between now and April 5, 2020, schools are closed to students and staff, so any school-related activities or trips including athletics, are also cancelled throughout this period.

All scheduled class activities, tests, exams, and due dates for assignments will be re-scheduled after the return to classes.

It is too early to comment on the impact this will have on school activities currently scheduled for after April 5, 2020.

Will the OSSLT scheduled for March 31 be cancelled?
It will not take place on March 31. Information will be provided if it is rescheduled. Secondary students who require the test to graduate will be provided alternative options.

Will Co-op, OYAP, Dual Credit placements be cancelled?
Yes. All co-op, OYAP and Dual Credit placements are cancelled through to April 5, 2020.

Will students be provided with online learning opportunities during the closure?
The Ministry of Education has indicated that it is working on resources that will be available online to support student learning during the closure. Our classroom teachers will not be involved in the delivery of these resources.


School Closures: Important Announcement for Parents 

Please see below important news for parents released this afternoon. We will share further information in the coming days as we are able.
 

Statement from Premier Ford, Minister Elliott, and Minister Lecce on the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

March 12, 2020 3:55 P.M.

Office of the Premier

TORONTO — Today Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health and Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education, issued the following statement in response to the impact of COVID-19 on publicly funded schools as March Break approaches:

The health and well-being of Ontarians is our government's number one priority.

Since we first learned of COVID-19 as an emerging public health issue, Ontario has been diligently monitoring the developing situation to protect the health and well-being of all Ontarians.  We have also taken decisive action to ensure the province's health care system is positioned to be ready for any scenario.

Given the latest developments both internationally and here at home, today we are taking further action.

Based on advice from Dr. David Williams, Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health and the experts at the COVID-19 Command Table, the Minister of Education has issued a Ministerial Order to close all publicly funded schools in Ontario for two weeks following March break, in response to the emergence in Ontario of COVID-19. This order was approved by the Lieutenant Governor in Council.

This means that Ontario schools have been ordered to remain closed from March 14 through to April 5, 2020.

We recognize the significant impact this decision will have on families, students, schools, as well as the broader community, but this precaution is necessary to keep people safe.

Today's steps build on a number of actions our government has taken in recent days to respond to COVID-19, including moving forward with additional public health measures, which include enhanced access to screening, expanding lab-testing capacity, and implementing new initiatives to keep the public and frontline workers safe. We are further setting aside up to $100 million in contingency funding in the upcoming 2020 budget to address challenges related to COVID-19.

We are further mindful of those who work in other public institutions and buildings. As this situation evolves, Ontario's COVID-19 Command Table is prepared to respond quickly and effectively to any scenario and provide the government with advice on measures to keep the public and frontline workers safe.

We are committed to working with partners to keep students safe and we expect to provide further information in the near future.

Our public health system has demonstrated remarkable responsiveness to COVID-19 and these measures we are putting in place will ensure that we continue to contain the spread of COVID-19 in Ontario and thereby protect children and families across the province. 


 

March 11, 2020 

Dear Parents and Guardians

We wanted to provide this update on our continued monitoring and planning for novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

We understand and appreciate that many families continue to feel some anxiety about this illness. It is important to note that Public Health continues to assure us that the risk of becoming ill from COVID-19 remains low in Ontario. We are following this issue closely, and we are working in cooperation with our local health units.

Some of you will also have seen that the World Health Organization has today declared the spread of COVID-19 a pandemic. A pandemic is an infectious disease that spreads quickly around the world.

It is important to note that health authorities continue to stress the same precautions to support our health, which are those which are recommended every year for cold and influenza season. These include:     

·         Hand hygiene – the most important recommendation from health authorities is to be vigilant in regular hand washing.

·         Coughing into your sleeve or arm. We ask all our parents to please reinforce that message with children at home.

·         Not touching your face

·         Staying home if you are ill.

To support parent conversations at home about COVID-19, we have developed a tip sheet which we have attached. Please also find below important information on March break travel.

Further to this, I wanted to provide the following information:

-       Beginning last week we initiated our Pandemic Emergency Management Committee to manage our operational response to this issue. The guiding principle of our work in this area is to ensure the safety and well-being of our students and staff is always our main priority.

-       Increased Cleaning Measures – Our custodians continue to have in place increased cleaning measures, specifically on high-touch surfaces.  As part of our planning, we have also confirmed with our cleaning product supplier that the disinfectant we use in our schools is effective against a wide variety of viruses and bacteria, including COVID-19. We initiate additional sanitation procedures in schools whenever there are higher rates of absences. To date, we have not experienced school absences beyond the normal pattern of seasonal illnesses.

-       We are monitoring student and staff absences daily. As always, we are asking students and staff who are ill to remain at home until they are feeling better. If you are experiencing severe flulike symptoms, please contact a health professional.

-       While health officials continue to maintain that proper hand washing is the key to prevention of illness, our first order of additional hand sanitizers are being delivered to all schools tomorrow.

Further information on this issue is available online on our website, www.kprschools.ca, including connections with local and provincial health units.

March Break

With March break approaching, many families have questions about international travel and precautions required upon returning from travel. As always, we take our direction in this matter from our local, regional and national health authorities.

Please find attached a communication from the Haliburton Kawartha Pine Ridge Health Unit with some information about avoiding illness, and guidelines regarding travel. 

Along with all our public health partners, we want to emphasize the following guidelines for students, staff and families.

Any International Travel

Upon return, all travelers are advised to:

• Monitor their health for flu-like symptoms (fever, cough, and difficulty breathing) for 14 days upon return; and

• If flu-like symptoms develop, contact their local health unit (contact information below).

Travel to China, Iran or Italy

If you or your family have returned from China, Iran or Italy in the last 14 days:

• Stay at home and avoid close contact with others, including those in your home, for 14 days after leaving the impacted area AND contact your local health unit for further instructions;

• If you notice flu-like symptoms (fever, cough and difficulty breathing), contact your health unit immediately.

While the risk to our local community remains low, we are committed to working closely with our public health partners, students, families and staff, to ensure safety and wellness.

Please visit Ontario.ca/coronavirus for more information about COVID-19 symptoms and self-isolation advice.

For medical advice, you may also contact Telehealth Ontario (a free, confidential service that provides health advice) at 1-866-797-0000. A Registered Nurse will take your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Public Health Contact Information

Durham Region Public Health – 1-866-888-4577

https://www.durham.ca/en/regional-government/public-health.aspx

Haliburton Kawartha Pine Ridge Health Unit 1-866-888-4577, ext. 5020

https://www.hkpr.on.ca/

Peterborough Public Health 705-743-1000

https://www.peterboroughpublichealth.ca/

 

Supporting Children & Teens worried about COVID-19

 

School Board Update March 10 2020 HKPR

 

KPR Pandemic Plan March 2020

 

 

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

To All Parents/Guardians and Staff:

We wanted to provide this update on our continued monitoring and planning for novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

We understand and appreciate that this issue is on the minds of our students, parents and staff.

First and foremost, please be assured that the safety and well-being of our students and staff is always our main priority.

We are following this issue closely, and we are working in cooperation with our local health units. As we do when addressing all broad-based community health issues, we rely on local health authorities for advice, counsel and guidance as we move forward.

We understand, however, that there may be heightened apprehension or concern in our school communities.

Here are the latest updates on this issue:

·         We are ready and able to take whatever action health authorities recommend to reduce the risk to our school

communities. As of yesterday, Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, has stated that there remains a low risk for Ontarians to contract COVID-19.

·         On Friday of last week, the Government of Canada released a Public Health Guidance for Schools (K-12) and Childcare Programs to support the prevention and management of COVID-19 in schools and childcare settings. We have reviewed this document closely and our school operations continue to be in line with this guideline. Most importantly, the guideline recommends:

“that schools take standard respiratory illness precautions, the same precautions that are recommended every year for cold and influenza season.”   

·         Hand hygiene – the most important recommendation from health authorities is to be vigilant in regular hand washing. As we always do during the seasonal flu season, we continue to emphasize with students the importance of regular, thorough hand washing and good personal hygiene.

·         We are encouraging everyone to wash hands well and often with soap and water, and use “cover your cough” techniques. This includes coughing into your sleeve or arm. We ask all our parents to please reinforce that message with children at home.

·         Increased Cleaning Measures – Our custodians always provide very thorough and effective cleaning and disinfecting of schools. To respond to the current situation, we are putting in place increased cleaning measures, specifically on high-touch surfaces.  As part of our planning, we have also confirmed with our cleaning product supplier that the disinfectant we use in our schools is effective against a wide variety of viruses and bacteria, including COVID-19. 

·         Monitoring student and staff absences - As always, we are asking students and staff who are ill to remain at home until they are feeling better. If you are experiencing severe flulike symptoms, please contact a health professional. As is our normal practice, we continue to monitor student and staff absences daily. We initiate additional sanitation procedures in schools whenever there are higher rates of absences. To date, we have not experienced school absences beyond the normal pattern of seasonal illnesses.

Further information on this issue is available online on our website, www.kprschools.ca, including connections with local and provincial health units.

Most importantly, students who are sick should be kept home, and not attend either regular school or before/after school programs until they are free of symptoms. Together, we will work to keep our students and staff safe and healthy.

Sincerely,                                                      

Dr. Jennifer Leclerc
Director of Education

 

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

To All Parents/Guardians and Staff:

The purpose of this communication is to provide you with some information regarding the Wuhan Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

The safety and well-being of our students and staff is always our main priority.

We are following this issue closely, and we are working in close cooperation with our local health units. As we do when addressing all broad-based community health issues, we rely on local health authorities for advice, counsel and guidance as we move forward.

We understand, however, that there may be heightened apprehension or concern in our school communities.

We want to reassure you that:

• We are ready and able to take whatever action regional

health authorities recommend to reduce the risk to our school

communities. At this time we have been given no additional or

specific directions regarding the operation of our schools. Normal

school days and activities are in effect.

• Our schools are emphasizing with students, as we always do during the seasonal flu season, the importance of regular, thorough hand

washing and good personal hygiene.

• Our custodians always provide very thorough and effective cleaning

and disinfecting of schools. In schools with higher rates of absence due to illness, additional sanitation procedures are put in place.

• We are encouraging everyone to wash hands well and often with

soap and warm water, and use “cover your cough” techniques. This

includes coughing into your sleeve or arm.

As always, we are asking students and staff who are ill to remain at

home until they are feeling better. If you are experiencing severe flulike

symptoms, please contact a health professional.

Along with this letter, you may find further information on this issue online on our website, www.kprschools.ca, including a letter from Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer for the province of Ontario, which contains important information about the current public health response to the Wuhan Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

As Dr. Williams says in his letter, “Students, parents and school communities should rest assured that the province is working together in close cooperation with its partners in both the education and health care sectors to ensure the continued safety and wellbeing of students and staff.”

You may wish to contact your local public health unit for additional information specific to your communities. Several webpage links are included below. Most importantly, students who are sick should be kept home, and not attend either regular school or before/after school programs until they are free of symptoms. Together, we will work to keep our students and staff safe and healthy.

Sincerely,

Dr. Jennifer Leclerc
Director of Education

 

 

Background Information

https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/health-professionals/guidance-schools-childcare-programs.html

Ministry of Health

https://www.ontario.ca/page/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov

Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit http://www.hkpr.on.ca/

Peterborough Public Health

https://www.peterboroughpublichealth.ca/

Durham Public Health

https://www.durham.ca/en/health-and-wellness/health-and-wellness.aspx

Hastings and Prince Edward Counties Health Unit

Hpepublichealth.ca

 

Please see the letter below from the Office of Chief Medical of Health, Ministry of Health

January 27, 2020

Dear school community members: Re: Wuhan novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) As you will likely know, on January 25, 2020, Ontario identified its first presumptive confirmed case for the Wuhan novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). Today, January 27, 2020, Ontario has confirmed that the wife of the first case has tested positive for the virus at Ontario's public health laboratory.

The health and well-being of Ontarians, including and especially our students and school staff, is Ontario’s top priority. Students, parents and school communities should rest assured that the province is working together in close cooperation with its partners in both the education and health care sectors to ensure the continued safety and well-being of students and staff.

These presumptive confirmed cases was not unexpected and the health system’s response has ensured that the risk to the general public from these cases has been minimized. The first patient was promptly identified prior to transport to the local hospital, health care workers wore appropriate personal protective equipment, and the patient was immediately placed in isolation, where they have remained. The second case has been in self-isolation since arriving in Toronto. These presumptive positive cases do not change the overall risk to Ontario, which is still considered low.

While this issue continues to emerge, we anticipate in the coming weeks that there may be additional cases identified in Ontario, other parts of Canada, and other countries who have individuals with travel history to the impacted area or other significant epidemiological links.

Human coronaviruses are common throughout the world and include a range of illnesses from the common cold to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). They can cause mild, moderate or severe respiratory illness in some people. Symptoms of the 2019-nCoV include fever, cough and difficulty breathing and studies are underway to try and understand this virus better. As of today, cases of this new disease have been identified in other areas of China, Thailand, Macau, Hong Kong, the Republic of Korea, Japan, Taiwan and in the United States, among others. We continue to monitor this situation closely along with our local and federal public health colleagues. The 2019-nCoV virus has been identified at the same time that influenza (also known as the flu) and many other respiratory viruses are circulating in Ontario, which is common at this time of the year. The precautions to protect yourself against common respiratory ailments can also be used to help protect against coronaviruses, including 2019-nCoV.

Members of the public are advised to take the usual measures to reduce the risk of transmission of the flu and respiratory illness, which include:

• get a yearly influenza vaccination, available from clinics and pharmacies (for flu only);

• wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer;

• cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze;

• if you don’t have a tissue, sneeze or cough into your sleeve or arm; and

• if you or your family members are ill, stay home. .

Residents who return from recent international travel with history of travel to affected area and become ill with respiratory signs and symptoms such as cough and fever should report their travel history to any health professional, or emergency department staff, when they visit. Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, recently expanded monitoring protocols by making this novel coronavirus reportable to public health by a health professional so that if potential cases are identified in your area, the relevant local public health unit can quickly and effectively take all necessary measures to investigate, complete lab tests, and do case and contact management to prevent and control further spread of the infection.. Information has also been provided to hospitals to increase their screening processes for individuals who present with signs and symptoms of this new virus and have travelled to Wuhan, China. This will help ensure cases are identified promptly and actions taken to prevent its spread.

More Information can be found on the following websites: Ontario Ministry of Health:

www.ontario.ca/coronavirus

Find your Local Public Health Unit:

http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/common/system/services/phu/locations.aspx

Public Health Agency of Canada: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection.html

Government of Canada Travel Advice and Advisory: https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/advisories/pneumonia-china

Sincerely,

Dr. David Williams

Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health