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Message from Chair of the Board, Rick Petrella

As part of the Board’s ongoing commitment to regularly provide updates to our school communities, I wanted to take the opportunity to provide you with some important information.

I want you to be aware that our Board has two new confirmed cases of COVID-19. The two individual cases are in two Brantford schools:  Assumption College School and St Gabriel Catholic Elementary School. Upon notification by public health of each case, staff followed the designated procedure including additional instructions to contact families in each impacted class over the weekend. Continuing with the procedure, our administrators also communicated the two cases to each broader school community and to the public. As part of the Board’s commitment, these communications were released in a transparent and timely manner following the guidance of our public health partners.

Like many school districts in the Province, and despite our enhanced safety measures, we have had positive cases of COVID-19 in our schools; three in total. The two sites identified on the weekend were thoroughly deep cleaned, as per our enhanced cleaning and sanitizing protocols. I want to thank all our custodial staff who worked so hard to ensure the schools were ready to safely welcome staff and students this morning. Our staff continue to work hard at all our sites to ensure that our schools are the safest that they can be.

With the increase of COVID-19 cases across the Province in mind, I want to address the many emails and phone calls the Board has received in respect to physical distancing guidelines not being followed by some of our Secondary students.

First and foremost, I would like to highlight the hard work done by our Secondary Administrators and school staff in their attempt to curtail this behavior. Our staff have been working hard to remind, reinforce, and educate our students on the importance of physical distancing and of their responsibility to others in our community to adhere to these important health guidelines.  

We reinforce this message at our schools on a regular basis and staff are vigilante in correcting students who are not physically distancing. In an attempt to work collaboratively with our Bylaw Officers and local businesses, our administrators have visited off site locations during high-volume times, like lunch hours, to assist in ensuring compliance. For the most part, our students recognize and respect the obligation they have to physically distance. It is unfortunate that, despite our efforts, we still witness some groups of students failing to do their part.

I think you can agree with me that this is not acceptable and therefore, I respectfully and humbly ask for your assistance in ensure all our students comply with physical distancing measures. I respectfully ask you to speak to your children about the importance of physical distancing and reinforce the message that working together and supporting the health of others, is a responsibility that we all have.

I would like to share some positive news in respect to the bussing issue we are experiencing. In September, we informed some families of the need to reduce bus routes for students in specific areas due to driver shortages. We have been actively working with our school bus companies to oversee their recruitment efforts for new drivers to correct this gap. I am happy to report that through these efforts the number of rotating bus route cancellations has been decreased. As more drivers continue to be hired and trained, the outstanding rotating route cancellations will be eliminated. Communications will continue to be sent directly to families impacted to keep them updated about their specific routes. Hiring projections indicate that the bussing issue will be resolved in the coming weeks.

I would like to extend my thanks to all of you for your trust, patience, and support. We will continue our commitment to doing everything possible to ensure safe and inclusive environments for your children and our staff.

I welcome your comments and feedback and will continue to respond as soon as possible.

Wishing you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving. Please remember that even if you are unable to be together physically, the wonderful blessing of family provides support and strength in any situation.

Thank you and God Bless,

Rick Petrella, Chair of the Board