Welcome Back Message from Chair Rick Petrella

August 30, 2022

Dear families and staff,

As we begin the new school year together as a Catholic community, we are pleased to be able to welcome back students and staff to our buildings and are grateful that you continue to put your trust in us. Although the COVID-19 Pandemic has not been declared over, we are hopeful that the progress we have seen, and the return to normalcy, will continue. On the advice of the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, for the 2022-23 school year, most health and safety requirements remain unchanged from the previous direction provided to school boards at the end of the 2021-22 school year.

Highlights from the direction boards received from the Ministry of Education for 2022-23 include:

  • Staff, students, and visitors will continue to self-screen every day before attending school using the COVID-19 School and Child Care Screening Tool.
  • Students, staff, and visitors are not required to wear a mask, or eye protection, while in school buildings and/or on student transportation. Masking and eye protection are optional and individuals who choose to wear them can certainly do so without worry. Masks will continue to be provided to all who request them.
  • School boards will continue to have access to rapid antigen tests to be used in accordance with provincial testing guidance. Rapid tests are available to staff and students upon request.
  • Cohorting of students at recess or nutrition breaks is not required.
  • Appropriate hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette will continue to be promoted and integrated throughout the school day. Hand sanitizer will continue to be available for student and staff.
  • Schools will continue with enhanced cleaning protocols requiring cleaning/disinfecting high-touch surfaces.
  • HEPA units are in every occupied kindergarten class and in all occupied learning spaces without mechanical ventilation.
  • For the 2022-23 school year, BHNCDSB will continue to communicate ventilation measures through the Standardized Ventilation Measures Report found on the Reporting page of the COVID-19 section of the Board’s website.  
  • Fire evacuation drills (total) are expected to return in the 2022-23 school year.

The safety of our students, staff, and community is our priority and affects every decision the Board makes. I would like to share that if directions or decisions change, it is due to the response to Provincial or local situations. Our Board and Administration meet frequently with our local public health partners, as developments occur, to modify procedures and plan the best way forward. If this should happen, families will be communicated with via email and the COVID-19 section of the Board website will be updated.

The BHNCDSB is confident that by continuing to work together and remaining committed to our health and safety guidelines including daily screening, we will have a wonderful and safe 2022-23 school year.

If you have any questions about your child or work site, please reach out to your school principal.

God bless,

Chair of the Board, Rick Petrella

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