As you know, public health officials have confirmed that Ontario is currently in the sixth wave of COVID-19. Cases of COVID-19 are up across the province and you may have noticed an uptick in cases through our COVID-19 notification letters, which now provide the whole school community with a snapshot of cases at their school.
While an increase in cases was expected with the easing of health and safety measures across the province, including in schools, many officials continue to strongly recommend the use of masks, even though they are no longer required by provincial law.
Earlier this week, Dr. Kieran Moore, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health said he “strongly recommends” wearing a mask in indoor public spaces. Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam is also advising Canadians to continue wearing a mask, while Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health, said she still recommends the use of masks indoors, especially amid an increase in COVID-19 cases.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the TDSB has prioritized the health and safety of both staff and students. While the TDSB takes its direction from the province, which does not require masks, given the increase in COVID-19 cases and the high number of absences, we as a system, are asking that all staff and students please wear a well-fitting mask when indoors in schools to limit the spread of COVID-19 and help minimize disruption from COVID-related absences. To be clear, this remains a personal decision.
We also want to remind you that masks are required in the following circumstances:
- For days 6-10 after a self-isolation period of five days after a COVD-19 diagnosis. Learn more.
- If you are identified as a close contact of someone with COVID-19. Learn more.
- In public spaces, including schools and childcares, for the first 14 days following travel outside of Canada. Learn more.
And, of course, please continue to complete the daily screening before your child comes into a TDSB building and keep them home if they have not passed the screening.
In addition, the other health and safety measures that remain in place include:
- Continuing to provide masks to staff and students upon request
- Optimizing air quality and ventilation, including having more than 17,000 HEPA filters in all occupied classrooms
- Continuing to distribute Rapid Antigen Tests to support symptomatic testing
- Enhanced cleaning
- Encouraging hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette, such as coughing into your sleeve
Schools and all TDSB spaces will remain welcoming, respectful and safe places for all, no matter what others’ personal decisions may be. Thank you for your consideration of this important measure. We know that it is not where we expected or hoped to be but our collective actions can make a difference.
Director of Education