Updates for Families

Friday, September 24, 2021

 

To All KPR Families, 

In my travels to schools across KPR during the first three weeks of classes, I have been impressed by the high levels of learning already achieved and the many caring acts displayed by students and staff alike. Nothing brings me more joy than experiencing the positive energy and sheer fun that students and staff bring to learning every day. 

It also was great to see many KPR schools participating in the Student Vote program leading up to the federal election. The parallel voting program has students researching parties’ platforms and, based on what they discover, voting for the party of their choice. This is one of many meaningful ways our schools teach civic engagement and citizenship! 

I have also seen many classes preparing posters and artwork for Afghan refugees coming to our area. I am proud of the warm welcome staff and students of all ages have been extending to new Canadians, many of whom have fled difficult circumstances that are unimaginable to most of us. 

School bus driver shortages continue to be a problem in many areas of Ontario, and are directly affecting local routes. Student Transportation Services of Central Ontario (STSCO), the consortium that oversees student busing in our area, continues to work closely with school bus companies to address this matter. 

We are pleased that the number of routes delayed or cancelled is gradually being reduced, and we hope to have all students who qualify for busing accommodated as soon as possible. 

We recognize and regret the inconvenience and disruption caused to families by delays or cancellations of a number of routes, due to difficulty in filling bus driver positions. The reality is that local bus operators rarely are able to have extra drivers available on short notice to support driver absences. We are hopeful that busing routes will continue to be stabilized and supported, and we know STSCO is working closely with operators toward that goal.

 

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

Schools are continuing to prepare students in age-appropriate ways for meaningful, respectful recognition of Canada’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, coming this Thursday, September 30. 

We are inviting students and staff to wear orange on September 30. More importantly, however, KPR schools will use this solemn day to teach about the harm caused by the residential school system, to honour residential school survivors and their families, and to remember the children who never returned home. Teachers also will focus on tangible steps everyone can take to support the journey of healing and reconciliation. 

Most importantly, the learning about this day will continue throughout the school year. We have provided age-appropriate resources for staff to further their students’ understanding of this important issue, and to support those affected by its tragic legacy. At all times during the school year, our actions will focus on what it truly means when Every Child Matters. 

I also want to let families know that the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation has worked with Indigenous communities and many partners to produce a unique, one-hour, commercial-free primetime broadcast on the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. The special will broadcast and stream live starting at 8 p.m. on Thursday, September 30 on APTN, CBC, CBC Gem, and the French-language ICI TÉLÉ and ICI.TOU.TV. I hope you are able to join us in watching this important broadcast, and in learning more about reconciliation. 

 

Graduation ceremonies

We know many students and families are anxious for news on fall commencement ceremonies for our recently graduated Grade 12 students. 

Due to continuing public health directives and physical distancing requirements, we are sharing that the upcoming fall Grade 12 events will be celebrated virtually. 

We understand and appreciate that this is disappointing news, and not the environment we were hoping for this past June when we postponed these events. 

Schools will be working on plans to provide opportunities for students to attend school on a scheduled basis for pictures, awards or certificates, and greetings with school staff. You will be contacted directly by your home school with details.

 

Volunteers

We also appreciate the constant, irreplaceable support of thousands of volunteers throughout KPR. Many are eager to return to schools to work with students once again. 

We hope to welcome volunteers back into our schools very soon. After developing and implementing procedures for staff to meet provincial mandates for disclosing their vaccine status, we are working on finalizing protocols for volunteers. In the meantime, school councils have been continuing their invaluable work, meeting remotely to plan for the school year with staff. 

 

Thank you to all volunteers, and to families for supporting your children’s learning! 

Sincerely, 

Rita Russo, Director of Education

 

Friday, September 17, 2021

To All KPR Families,

As the second week of the school year comes to a close, I will say again what a pleasure it is to reunite with the KPR family!

We have had a primarily positive start to the year, even as we continue to work through the logistics that come with welcoming more than 34,000 students in close to 100 schools across 7,000 square kilometres. Many schools have reorganized some classes to accommodate and welcome more students than were expected. We offer a special welcome to the 1,200 new students who have joined us this year and their families!

Along with our caring community, we are honoured and excited to welcome 78 Afghan refugees whose resettlement is being supported by the New Canadians Centre in Peterborough, and potentially more refugees settling in other local communities. While we do not know yet how many of them will be attending school, we do know that some of them are children, and we look forward to welcoming them into our schools.  KPR has a long and successful history of welcoming newcomers and helping them get to know their community, make friends and start over in new, unfamiliar surroundings. Most of us can only imagine how traumatic it would be to flee war and crisis, often leaving extended family behind, to make a better life for our children. We are confident our community will join us in extending a warm, sincere and inclusive welcome to our newest residents.

Finally, I want to touch on another important subject: the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, September 30. While the day is a federal statutory holiday, schools in Ontario will remain open. KPR will use this solemn day to help students better understand and reflect, in age-appropriate ways, on the ongoing, harmful legacy of the residential school system, and to honour the healing journey of residential school survivors and their families. We also will renew our continued commitment to reconciliation and to recognizing Every Child Matters. 

It’s vital to note this day – also known as Orange Shirt Day – is not a day of celebration. It is a day of grieving and remembrance, one that is difficult for many people. We are working with local Indigenous peoples and our Indigenous Education staff to ensure the day is commemorated respectfully, and to ensure supports are in place for students and staff if needed.

We also emphasize that this learning must be ongoing, before, during and after Orange Shirt Day. We have provided resources to staff to support learning leading up to September 30, to make it more meaningful, and for use throughout the year.

Please consider joining us in reading the stories and watching the videos about residential schools and reconciliation, at www.OrangeShirtDay.org.  We all can learn more about, and recommit personally to, respect and reconciliation.

Sincerely,

Rita Russo
Director of Education

 

KPR NEWS

Free Parent Conference

Registration continues for KPR’s 20th Annual Virtual Parent Conference:

Saturday, October 16
9 a.m.-11 a.m.
With Dr. David Templeman

You’ve Got This! Mental Health After COVID: Getting Back to Normal

While the event is free, registration is required. Please register here.

 

Screening, Vaccination and Masking 

For everyone in our schools, health and safety remain our highest priority. We continue to meet all provincial directives including thorough cleaning and disinfection; frequent and proper handwashing; wearing masks; maintaining physical distancing to the fullest extent possible; implementing the mandatory vaccination attestation process for staff, and following all additional steps directed by local health units. When there is a confirmed case of COVID, the health units oversee case and contact management and direct schools on next steps. We let families and staff know when there is a confirmed case in their school, and report cases through our website, kprschools.ca  

We once again stress how vital it is for all families and staff to self-screen for symptoms of COVID every day before school, for every child in the family, using the screening tool at https://covid-19.ontario.ca/school-screening/. We also encourage everyone to take advantage of vaccination clinics in and near schools; see the list of clinics.

In addition, we ask parents and caregivers to wear a mask during the congested, daily drop-off and pick-up times at schools. Our Return to School Plan has details on COVID safety protocols.

 

 

Friday, September 10, 2021

To All KPR Families,

It is wonderful to be reunited with students and staff, as we share in the excitement of a new school year!  We love the energy and enthusiasm in our school buildings and virtual classrooms!

Students and staff have been settling into the back-to-school routine. Thank you to all families for your patience and support during what has been an incredibly busy transition for everyone. Schools and staff have implemented many changes in response to COVID-19, and they have done their best to help students experience a sense of normalcy while continuing to follow COVID protocols.

I also offer sincere appreciation to students, parents and caregivers, who have had to navigate through almost three years of unprecedented changes and challenges.  To all families new to the KPR family, I offer a heartfelt welcome, and to those who are returning, welcome back!

This update provides further information for families as we embark on a new school year. I continue to wish everyone a healthy, successful school year!

Sincerely,

Rita Russo, Director of Education

 

KPR NEWS

Vaccination Clinics

Walk-in vaccination clinics for students, families and community members have begun and are continuing across KPR. Clinics are coordinated by local public health units. No appointments are needed. If not yet fully vaccinated, we encourage all eligible students, staff and families to take advantage of the clinics. We have shared details on nearby clinics via School Messenger with local school communities. For clinic dates and times, please visit here.

Daily Screening

It is very important that families complete screening every day, for every child in the family.

The provincial government has updated the school screening tool. It now includes shortened COVID symptom lists that are specific to students versus employees and visitors; a reduced timeline for isolation in case of possible COVID exposure (10 days instead of 14); and guidance for individuals who are fully vaccinated. The screening tool is available online at https://covid-19.ontario.ca/school-screening/

If your child is ill, please keep them at home. If your child has any of the symptoms listed in the screening tool, please follow the directions provided about isolation and testing.

Daily Protocols

We also remind everyone of the following protocols in place:

  • Grades 1-12 students and all staff must wear masks indoors and on school buses; Kindergarten students are strongly encouraged to wear masks. Please send students to school with an extra mask in case one gets dirty.
  • Frequent handwashing or hand sanitizer use, respiratory etiquette and enhanced cleaning are emphasized at every school.
  • At this time, no assemblies or high-contact sports are being held indoors. Outdoor gatherings can take place, with health and safety protocols.
  • Because of the increased traffic flow during student pick-up and drop-off times, and the increased difficulty in maintaining physical distancing, we are asking family members to wear masks while on school property at these times.

 

Should there be confirmed cases of COVID in schools, the health unit will oversee case and contact management, and identify steps students and staff must take, such as testing, self-isolation or self-monitoring. If exposed to COVID, fully vaccinated individuals may not have to isolate if they have no symptoms; local health units will make these decisions in each case, and communicate with those directly affected. All families and staff will be informed of confirmed cases, as soon as possible. If you have not yet done so, we encourage you to review our Return to School Plan .

 

Friday, September 3, 2021

To All KPR Families,

We’re almost there! School starts this Tuesday, September 7. We are excited to be able to gather in person with most students and staff once again! We also look forward to working with students and families who chose virtual learning for September.

This week’s update includes new resources flowing from the Return to School Plan we shared August 19.

I would like to share a personal video message with everyone. Please take a minute to watch this back-to-school video. We approach the coming year with hope and optimism, while ensuring that we follow all required COVID-19 protocols in our gradual return to the many activities that enrich school life.

The first day of school is one of the most exciting days of the year for many staff, students and families. To celebrate, we welcome you to share first day pictures, using #kprfirstday on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. We can hardly wait to see your posts!

Attached are several posters about our COVID protocols, based on provincial guidelines. We hope you will find these useful for self-screening and preparing for school each day.

The Minister of Education has asked us to share a message with families today as well. Please click here to read it.

Enjoy the long weekend and see you next week!

Sincerely,

Rita Russo, Director of Education

 

Updated School Screening Tool

The provincial government has updated the school screening tool. It now includes shortened COVID symptom lists that are specific to students versus employees and visitors; a reduced timeline for isolation in case of possible COVID exposure (10 days instead of 14); and guidance for individuals who are fully vaccinated. The screening tool is available online at https://covid-19.ontario.ca/school-screening/

If your child is ill, please keep them at home. If your child has any of the symptoms listed in the screening tool, please follow the directions provided about isolation and testing. The attached posters include a screening tool summary with the new symptom lists and our illness protocol. They also outline how we will communicate with families about COVID cases in schools.

Please be sure to complete the screening every day for every child in your family.

Vaccination

As part of the province-wide COVID-19 vaccination campaign, health units are coordinating voluntary walk-in clinics at select KPR schools during September and October. Appointments will not be required. See details here. We also will send details on nearby clinics via School Messenger to local school communities. All vaccination clinics will take place toward the end of the school day and into the evening. Students, staff, families and local community members are able to attend the clinics.

While the province has not made vaccination mandatory for students or staff, it does require staff to disclose their vaccination status to their employer. Staff who decline vaccination must complete rapid tests at least once a week, and more often if needed.

Ventilation

All KPR classrooms and learning spaces will be serviced by portable HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filter units or mechanical HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning) air exchange systems. In addition, all Kindergarten, Learning and Life Skills and music classrooms, as well as childcare spaces will have portable HEPA units. 

More information about ventilation in schools is available on our website. You can access it here.

COVID Protocols

We continue to receive provincial guidance about COVID protocols and to work collaboratively with our four local public health units. KPR is taking a gradual, cautious approach to resuming school activities during September, to ensure health and safety while we monitor the local public health situation.

Please note the following: 

  • Grades 1-12 students and all staff must wear masks indoors and on school buses; Kindergarten students are strongly encouraged to wear masks. Please send students with an extra mask in case one gets dirty.
  • Music, field trips, nutrition programs, cafeteria use, clubs, extra-curricular activities and inter-school sports may resume gradually, with safety protocols including masking, distancing and capacity limits.
  • There will be no indoor assemblies at this time. Outdoor gatherings can take place, with health and safety protocols in place.
  • Volunteers and regular visitors are not permitted at this time while we work through the new vaccination disclosure guidelines. Scheduled parent meetings and orientations with staff may continue.
  • Enhanced cleaning procedures remain in effect
  • Hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette are very important! Please see attached resources for reminders to share with students.
  • Students do not have to remain in their class cohorts while outside and do not have to wear masks outdoors. Students will be permitted to use playgrounds and outdoor equipment; hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette will be emphasized.
  • Students can share learning materials in the classroom; students will be reminded to wash or sanitize their hands when using shared items.
  • There will be no high-contact sports played indoors at this time (for example, basketball, football, hockey, lacrosse, rugby, soccer, wrestling), but these activities may continue outdoors.
  • Should there be a confirmed case of COVID, the health unit will oversee all case and contact management, and identify steps students and staff must take, such as testing, self-isolation or self-monitoring; families and staff will be informed of confirmed cases, as soon as possible.
  • If exposed to COVID, fully vaccinated individuals may not be required to isolate, provided they have no symptoms; local health units will make these decisions in each case, and communicate with those directly affected.

If you have not yet done so, we encourage you to review our Return to School Plan .

Free Mental Health Parent Conference

All KPR parents, caregivers and staff are invited to join us online at our free, 20th Annual Virtual Parent Conference:

Saturday, October 16

9 a.m.-11 a.m.

Featuring Dr. David Templeman

You’ve Got This! Mental Health After COVID: Getting Back to Normal

While the event is free of charge, registration is required. Please register here.

Registrants will receive a link to the virtual presentation, and benefit from practical advice on supporting your child's or teen's mental health from Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist Dr. David Templeman. He is an engaging speaker and author of A Teenager's Guide to Life: The Secret to Living Life and Being Happy.

This year’s event also marks the Parent Conference’s 20th anniversary. As we “Celebrate 20 Years of Learning!”, we have a special surprise for KPR registrants. Attendees who provide their contact information also will be eligible to win one of five copies of Dr. Templeman’s book.

We offer sincere thanks to the Parent Involvement Committee for their invaluable input and support of the conference each year.

 

 

 

 

  

Provincial Covid-19 Update

UPDATED SYMPTOM SCREENING

The Chief Medical Officer of Health has updated the provincial school screening criteria.  Students and staff with new or worsening symptoms of COVID-19, as outlined in the school and child care screening tool, even those with only one symptom, must stay home until:

·         they receive a negative COVID-19 test result,

·         they receive an alternative diagnosis from a health care professional, or

·         it has been 10 days since their symptoms began and they are feeling better.

The provincial school screening tool has been updated to reflect these changes, at https://covid-19.ontario.ca/school-screening/

NEW QUARANTINE REQUIREMENTS

The Ministry of Health has also issued new guidance for schools and child cares that requires all household contacts of individuals with symptoms of COVID-19 to quarantine until the symptomatic household member:

·         receives a negative COVID-19 test result, or

·         receives an alternative diagnosis by a health care professional

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

This means that if a child OR an adult has symptoms of COVID-19, all other adults and children who live in the same household must quarantine and remain home from school or child care until the person with symptoms receives either a negative COVID-19 test result, or an alternative diagnosis.

 

If the symptomatic individual tests positive, or is not tested and does not receive an alternative diagnosis from a health care professional:

·         the symptomatic individual must isolate (including from other household members) for 10 days from the start of symptoms, and

·         all members of the same household must isolate for 14 days from their last contact with the symptomatic individual.

We recognize that these are significant provincial changes and we thank you for your continued partnership in keeping our students and staff safe. Schools will support students with materials to continue learning from home during any extended periods of absence.

We continue to work closely with local public health agencies to address this evolving situation. For more information about COVID response in our communities, please visit your local Public Health website:

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