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Message from Chair of the Board, Rick Petrella

August 25, 2021

Message for Families,

I hope that all staff, students, and families were able to rest, relax, and find peace over the summer. I understand that last year was a difficult year, and that as much as we had all hoped to be out of the pandemic for the start of this school year, unfortunately that is not the case.

Please know that we have been busy throughout the summer, preparing for your safe return in September.

With our previous investments in our mechanical systems prior to the pandemic we are leaders in air quality. Couple this with COVID funding ventilation upgrades and the addition of HEPA units in place as per Ministry direction, the air quality in our schools and classrooms will be even further improved. We will continue with our enhanced cleaning protocols from last year, and our facilities staff have been working hard to make our schools clean and outfitted with proper safety signage.

We are also taking steps to support the mental health of our students as we know that the pandemic and the requirement to pivot to online learning has been difficult for some. Tomorrow evening, we are offering a virtual Parent/Caregiver Workshop on dealing with return to school emotions and discuss additional supports that will be in place for students when school starts.

In these continued times of uncertainty, our commitment to be partners will remain. We continue to be committed to working with all stakeholders in our BHNCDSB community, to hear your voice as we journey through this process together.

As new information arrives from the Ministry of Education and Public Health Ontario, we are updating our return to school/re-opening plan. This year, the plan will be available on our website and updates will be made as they arrive, enabling all families to view accurate and timely information. The plan is expected to be finalized and posted soon. Many of the health and safety measures in place last year will remain, and the following are highlights of information that we know now and have been created in consultation with both public health units:

  • Students will engage in either online learning or face to face instruction, no hybrid model
  • If staff and students are able to remain physically distanced, masks may be taken off outside at the discretion of the school administrator.
  • With physical distancing, the use of shared spaces like libraries and lockers will be permitted with some restrictions.
  • Sports and clubs will resume as soon as we receive the health and safety protocols to ensure the safety of our students.
  • Masking continues to be required for all students Kindergarten-12.
  • All Board staff and individuals who are regularly in schools, will be vaccinated or have undergone rapid testing and tested negative

We hope that everyone has a great final week of summer break, and we look forward to seeing you in September. Thank you for your continued patience and support as we navigate the pandemic together.

God Bless,
Rick Petrella, Chair of the Board