Updates for Families

Friday, November 26, 2021

To All KPR Parents,

What an eventful week this has been! There’s no shortage of news to share with you about COVID testing, vaccination, skilled trades programs, bullying and more.

Families can now book appointments for children ages 5-11 to be vaccinated against COVID-19. We are working with public health units on plans for many school-based vaccination clinics. Please note all clinics in our schools will take place after the school day or on weekends, for families to attend together.  Parental consent will be required for children to be immunized. 

Please visit our Youth Vaccination web page for details on clinics being offered by the four health units in the KPR area. Families can book appointments at https://covid19.ontariohealth.ca or by calling 1-833-943-3900, and at select pharmacies.  Children must turn 5 years of age by December 31 to qualify for vaccination.

Here is a letter to families from Dr. Kieran Moore, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health. As he states: “Getting children vaccinated will provide them with a strong level of protection against COVID-19…It will also help protect other family members, including younger children who cannot get vaccinated yet or older individuals who may have a lower immune response to the vaccines.”  

We expect rapid antigen COVID screening kits to arrive in schools by mid-December, to go home with each student before Winter Break. The tests are not mandatory, but health officials highly recommend completing the rapid tests every 3-4 days during Winter Break. Instructions will accompany the kits.

Also this week, the government announced additional funding to attract more students to rewarding and lucrative careers in the skilled trades, and to expand the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP). 

KPR has a robust secondary program to support students in entering the skilled trades. We encourage families of Grades 7-11 students to participate in our virtual Make High School Work for You information night December 2.  Please see registration information under KPR News below.

The province also introduced new funding to combat bullying and discrimination against students with disabilities, and updated its protocol on preventing in-person and online bullying and hate. The new protocol specifically references religiously motivated discrimination, such as anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, as well as discrimination based on sexual orientation and racism.

Finally, the Board also is seeking input regarding the 2022-23 school year calendar. Please see KPR News below for information.

I wish everyone a safe, healthy weekend.

Sincerely,

Rita Russo, Director of Education

 

KPR NEWS

2022-23 School Year Calendar Survey

KPR wants your input on two options for the 2022-23 school year calendar. The only difference in the options is timing of the 2022 Winter Break. Please complete the survey by Monday, December 13 to let us know if you would prefer next year’s Winter Break to be held either December 19-30, 2022, or December 26, 2022 - January 6, 2023.

Make High School Work For You

Join us in a virtual Parent Pathways Night December 2 at 6:30 p.m. to learn how KPR can help teens prepare for success in the skilled trades. The event will include keynote speaker Dr. Jon Callegher from JobTalks, as well as details on KPR’s programs including OYAP (Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program), SHSMs (Specialist High Skills Majors), Cooperative Education, Dual Credits and other experiential learning. Registration for the program, geared for families of Grades 7-11 students, takes place at https://bit.ly/3q2boPE .

Community Use of Schools

KPR is working with our public health partners on a gradual, phased-in reopening of schools to after-hours community use. At this time, we are planning to make schools available for community groups starting in January 2022 on weekends only (Friday evenings to Sundays). This will allow us to clean schools thoroughly before classes resume on Mondays. As always, these plans may change if required by public health. 

 

Friday, November 19, 2021

To All KPR Families,

Thank you for your support as we continue working with local health partners to keep schools safe. We appreciate your ongoing understanding as we navigate these unprecedented times.

We are encouraged by today’s announcement that Health Canada has approved the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 5 to 11. We continue to work with our public health units to plan school- and community-based vaccine clinics. Watch for details soon.  

Yesterday, the provincial government announced further COVID measures in schools, including:  

  • all students will receive a kit of five rapid antigen tests to take home for Winter Break
  • in consultation with local health units, take-home polymerase chain reaction (PCR) self-collection kits also may be available for students and staff
  • only virtual school-wide assemblies will be allowed for elementary students when they return in January
  • reminding everyone of the federal rules for international travellers returning to Canada (details are in KPR NEWS below).

We will share details on testing kit distribution when finalized by the Ministry of Education.

Secondary Programming
The province also announced a return to the normal semester system in high schools, with students once again taking four courses a day starting in February. We appreciate this will be welcome news to students and staff, and we ask for your patience as schools begin the significant task of timetabling for next semester.

Finally, this week in Ontario is dedicated to a critical issue that can affect any of us at any time: bullying. In recognizing Bullying Awareness and Prevention Week, we draw attention to a problem that arises all too often in communities and schools.

We want all students to feel they belong and are safe at school. Bullying is a serious issue with far-reaching consequences for students, their families, peers and the community.

All too often, both in-person and online bullying occur when a responsible adult is not there to see it. Our most important message to students and families experiencing bullying is this: Please tell us. 

Please report bullying right away to the school, whether in person or online through our Report Bullying web link. Our staff care about students’ well-being and success.

Excellent resources on what to do if your child is bullied, witnesses bullying, or is bullying others, also include https://www.prevnet.ca/bullying/parents and kidshelpphone.ca

We truly want to do our best for your children and teens. We know you have entrusted us with the most precious people in your lives, and we want to work with you to make school as positive an experience as possible.

As I wrap up this week’s note, I also want to celebrate education assistants (EAs) and child and youth workers (CYWs), who play a critical role in students’ success. EAs and CYWs form close relationships with students and families, and make a vital difference to student well-being, belonging and learning. I thank them for their caring contributions, and wish everyone a wonderful weekend.

Sincerely,

Rita Russo, Director of Education

KPR NEWS

Inclement Weather
On inclement weather days when buses are cancelled due to poor weather and roads, KPR schools will remain open for students and staff. As always, families have final say on whether they wish their children to attend school on those days.

International Travel
Families planning to travel during Winter Break have asked when their children will be able to return to school. We adhere to the following public health rules:

  • unvaccinated children who travel outside of Canada must not attend school or day care for 14 days after arriving home; they also must follow public health requirements for testing  
  • children fully vaccinated against COVID-19 who travel outside Canada can return to school immediately if they are symptom-free and pass the school screening questionnaire.

For details, please see the federal requirements here. No restrictions were noted for children who travel within Canada, as long as they are symptom-free and pass the school screening questionnaire.

Provincial Survey
The Ontario Public School Boards Association wants to hear from families about learning during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. Please complete the survey by November 30.

 

 

Friday, November 12, 2021

To All KPR Families,
 

Aaniin! Tawnshi! Atelihai! Greetings!

This warm welcome in Ojibwe, Michif and Inuktitut – the languages of area First Nation, Métis and Inuit peoples – comes to you during Indigenous Peoples Awareness Month.

In honour of this month, KPR has launched a year-long Passport to Reconciliation program encouraging staff and students to engage in weekly learning focused on Indigenous knowledge, culture, perspective and history. Students will learn directly from Indigenous voices, then share what they have learned with others. One way of sharing will be through social media, using the hashtag #ReconciliACTIONatKPR.

These activities are part of larger efforts to give authentic voice to Indigenous peoples, whose contributions have been missing from education for too long. Our efforts also include weekly virtual learning opportunities with Indigenous Elders and Knowledge Keepers; Leadership Councils for Indigenous students; and a weekly Virtual Gathering Space on Edsby for Indigenous staff, students and families. The virtual gatherings take place Mondays from 4-5 p.m. for Kindergarten-Grade 6 Indigenous students and families, and Tuesdays from 4-5 p.m. for Grade 7-12 Indigenous students and families.

Throughout these efforts, our focus is on active learning, moving from “I don’t know” to “I need to find out.” We all have much to learn! Please visit here for details and resources and watch for updates on social media.

Schools also will recognize Bullying Awareness and Prevention Week November 21-27, to focus on year-round efforts promoting safe schools and positive learning environments. Please join us in learning more about bullying and its effects on student learning and well-being, and in wearing pink during Bullying Awareness and Prevention Week. Resources are available on the Ministry of Education website and the Safe and Caring Schools section of our website.

You can read your school’s code conduct, which covers issues including bullying, on the school website. All KPR school websites are accessible from the Find a School section of kprschools.ca. Our central belief is that bullying is never acceptable, under any circumstances. I will discuss bullying further in next week’s update.

In the meantime, I wish everyone a happy, healthy end to your week.

Sincerely,

Rita Russo, Director of Education

 

KPR NEWS
 

Inclement Weather

As you may remember, KPR changed our inclement weather practices last year as part of pandemic management. At that time, we decided to close schools to students on inclement weather days.

This year, however, given increasing vaccination rates, ongoing pandemic prevention and provincial easing of cohort restrictions, we will return to our previous practices. This means that, on inclement weather days, schools will remain open for students and staff. We recognize, however, that many students will still not be able to attend school when buses are cancelled due to weather.

We encourage families to check the status of buses when weather and driving conditions are bad, before heading to school. You can check the Student Transportation Services of Central Ontario website at stsco.ca, or local radio and news media.

Status of Flags at Schools

You may have noticed that, throughout Veterans’ Week, our schools raised and then lowered their flags to honour and recognize Indigenous Veterans’ Day and Remembrance Day. We have had our flags lowered since spring to honour and grieve Indigenous children and victims, and to recognize the ongoing trauma, of the residential school system.

We adopted this position, in part, based on correspondence shared publicly last week from the Assembly of First Nations to the federal government, regarding treatment of flags for Veterans’ Week. This correspondence provides us with authentic Indigenous perspective to proceed in a good way. Going forward, flags will be raised and lowered in accordance with our regular protocols. We will continue to recognize, throughout the year, the devastating impact of residential schools and the importance of Indigenous culture, perspectives and voices in our schools.

PRO Grants

School Councils: have you applied for your provincial Parents Reaching Out grant? Details on the grant, which supports family engagement in learning, have been sent to schools and posted on our website.

 

 

Friday, November 5, 2021

To All KPR Families,

On November 11, all KPR schools will be recognizing an exceptionally important event: Remembrance Day.

Every year, all schools and departments join in honouring the sacrifices made by Canadian men and women to protect the rights and freedoms we cherish today. We believe it is vital that we lead young Canadians – most of whom have never experienced war – in paying their respects to the people who stepped forward so that current and future generations could live in peace and freedom. I know our schools do wonderful work in helping to maintain the significance of these connections with our children, youth and community.

We also join in recognizing Veterans’ Week November 5-11 , and Indigenous Veterans Day November 8. These remembrances become increasingly vital as we lose, from year to year, so many voices of those who personally experienced these wars.

We also remain mindful of students and families who have come to us after fleeing war and conflict around the world. We never know how those around us may be affected by the observances we share.

This week, we also join in recognizing Treaties Week, and in acknowledging we all are treaty people. The treaties reached by Indigenous peoples and European settlers who stayed on this shared land are key to reconciliation. They are just as relevant today as they ever were.

As noted by Karine Duhamel of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights: “These agreements are not old, obsolete, or pointless. First Nations’ own histories and accounts of Treaty processes uphold important principles of reciprocity, respect and renewal rooted in thousands of years of experience and presence on these lands…The Treaties hold the keys to a new path forward as living agreements.”

One of many excellent sources of information on treaties is https://facingcanada.facinghistory.org/ Please join us as we continue our learning.

We also bring good wishes to those of you who observed All Saints Day earlier this week, and to those who continue to celebrate the five days of Diwali, the festival of lights celebrating the triumph of light over darkness.

Finally, I wanted to share some good news: enrolment is up significantly at KPR.

As of this week, we have about 1,100 more elementary students than we were expecting and 30 more secondary students. Since provincial funding is tied directly to enrolment, this is a positive development. Thank you for choosing KPR!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Sincerely,

Rita Russo, Director of Education

 

KPR NEWS

 

Virtual Learning

Reminder: here are the dates to keep in mind if you are considering moving your child or teen into or out of virtual learning:

 

Virtual Elementary School (VES)

·         The opt-in portal to move your child from in-person classes to VES opens Friday, November 12 at  https://optin.kprdsb.ca/ . It will remain open until noon November 19.

·         Students new to VES will start virtual classes November 29.

·         If you wish to move your child back to in-person classes, please contact your home school principal.

 

Virtual High School (VHS)

·         If you’d like to move your teen into or out of Virtual High School, please contact your home school’s Guidance staff now.

 

Women in Trades

On November 18 at 6:30 p.m., join us in discussions with inspiring women who work in skilled trades. They include a welder, auto technician, electrician, truck and coach technician, carpenter, millwright and mason. To register, visit https://www.tradeswomen.ca/

 

 

Friday, October 29, 2021

To All KPR Families,

Aaniin. Hello. Bonjour. All of us at KPR look forward to marking the 5th annual Indigenous Peoples Awareness Month throughout November, as well as Treaties Recognition Week November 1-7.

As educators, we want to ensure ALL students and staff continue their journey in understanding and awareness of Indigenous cultures, ways of knowing and contributions to society. It is our work to continue creating environments that honour Indigenous knowledge, culture, perspective and history, and to ensure Indigenous students, staff and community see themselves reflected in schools.

We chose the month of November as Indigenous Peoples Awareness Month as it already includes several longstanding observances: Treaties Recognition Week November 1-7, Inuit Day November 7, Indigenous Veterans Day November 8 and Louis Riel Day November 16. We also encourage students and staff to post pictures of themselves wearing their favourite moccasins on social media during Rock Your Mocs Week November 14-20.

Our Indigenous Education Department is busy year-round, creating resources and opportunities for staff to learn authentically and to share that learning with students. As an educational institution, we take action towards reconciliation through our commitment to learning centred on authentic First Nation, Métis and Inuit lived experience. We are fortunate to work closely with elders and representatives of Indigenous peoples locally, as we move forward towards reconciliation. Please stay tuned to updates on social media, including the KPR Indigenous Education Department accounts on Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and Instagram.

In other news, the province yesterday announced it would make take-home PCR (polymerase chain reaction) self-collection test kits available to all schools in Ontario. We look forward to receiving details on how this COVID prevention initiative will be applied at KPR.

I wish everyone a restful and healthy weekend.

Sincerely,

Rita Russo, Director of Education

 

KPR NEWS

 

Virtual School Transfers

Here’s information you need to know if you are planning to transfer your child or teen between virtual and in-person learning.

 

Virtual Elementary School (VES)

·         To move your child from in-person classes to VES, please complete the opt-in portal at https://optin.kprdsb.ca/ between November 12 and noon on November 19.

·         VES teachers will contact new VES families during the week of November 22. New classes will begin November 29.

·         To move from VES to in-person learning, please contact your home school principal.

 

Virtual High School (VHS)

·         Please contact your home school’s Guidance staff between November 1-17 to move between virtual and in-person learning for the next quadmester.

·         Transfer times later in the school year will begin January 20 and April 8; watch for details.

 

Menstrual Equity

KPR is pleased to proceed with the Menstrual Equity (ME) program in participating schools over the coming weeks. In the first year of a two-year plan, all secondary schools and 36 pilot elementary schools will receive tampons and pads that students can access for free in at least one girls’ washroom and one all-gender washroom.  

 

The ultimate goal of the ME program, championed by Student Trustees, is to be more inclusive of all individuals who menstruate, including those who identify as trans, gender non-binary or gender-fluid. ME also aims to ensure all students can participate fully in school, regardless of socio-economic status and ability to afford menstrual products. 

 

The province-wide free menstrual product program recently announced by the Ministry of Education will help to support the Menstrual Equity program approved by KPR Trustees last spring.

 

 

 

 

 

  

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:

Durham Public Health

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

Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit

http://www.hkpr.on.ca/

Hastings and Prince Edward Counties Health Unit

Hpepublichealth.ca

Peterborough Public Health

https://www.peterboroughpublichealth.ca/