Reopening of our HWCDSB Schools - Click Here
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HWCDSB School Reopening

HWCDSB School Reopening

HWCDSB Parent/Guardian Communications

Welcome to the 2020-2021 school year.

As students return to their classrooms, the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board has taken all steps possible to create a safe and welcoming learning environment for students and staff based on Ministry of Education guidance and advice from Hamilton Public Health Services.

Plans for the reopening of our HWCDSB schools are described in our Nurturing Hope: Parent Guide on the Reopening of HWCDSB Schools.
COVID-19 School Protocols COVID-19 School Protocols

COVID-19 School Protocols

COVID-19 School Screening

Students, teachers and school staff need to check for symptoms of illness every day before going to school. In consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Ontario government has recently updated its COVID-19 school screening guidance and COVID-19 School Screening Tool. This additional information will help parents determine when it is most appropriate for students, children and their families to seek a test for COVID-19.

The main changes focus on updates to the province’s symptoms list. The revised screening tool features two sets of questions. The first asks about symptoms such as fever or cough. Students with any of these symptoms will still be advised to stay home until they are able to consult with a health care provider and receive an alternative diagnosis or a negative COVID-19 test.

The second set asks about other symptoms that are commonly associated with other illnesses, such as a runny nose or headache:
• Students with only one of these symptoms will be advised to stay home for 24 hours, after which they can return to school if their symptoms are improving;
• Students with two or more of these symptoms will be advised to stay home until they are able to consult with a health care provider and receive an alternative diagnosis or a negative COVID-19 test.

In addition, the symptom list no longer includes abdominal pain or conjunctivitis (pink eye). The changes apply to students only.

It’s critical that you screen your child(ren) daily and follow the guidance provided in the online tool to determine whether your child(ren) should attend school.

Take the COVID-19 school screening here. Please note, this screening is not a diagnostic tool. If you have medical questions, consult a health care provider or Hamilton Public Health Services. Listen to the advice of Public Health first, as their advice overrules the advice in this screening.


Attestation Form to Return to School

In consultation with HPHS, the HWCDSB has also developed an attestation form for students who have been away from school. Families whose child was absent from school due to a failed Ontario COVID-19 school screening or illness will be required to complete the form declaring that it is safe for your child to return to child care or school (elementary and secondary).

Please download the form here.


Public Health Services

The HWCDSB has been working with Hamilton Public Health Services (PHS) to develop procedures and protocols, based on the most recent data and evidence, to monitor and respond to reports of COVID-19 symptoms.

PHS Protocol for Children with COVID-19 symptoms:
Child has COVID-19 symptoms while at school
Child has COVID-19 symptoms while at home

Maintaining public health measures such as staying home when you are sick, physical distancing, hand washing and mask wearing will be very important to reduce the likelihood of infection, contain outbreaks and protect those who are most vulnerable. Everyone has a part to play to help reduce the spread of COVID-19, including parents, school boards, and public health.

For information on COVID-19 testing, status of COVID-19 cases, how to protect yourself and others, guidance for workplaces and public places, school reopening resources for parents, and other COVID-19 related health information, please visit the Hamilton Public Health Services website.


Provincial Outbreak Protocol

On August 26th, the provincial government released an Operational Guidance: COVID-19 Management in Schools which outlines protocols for school boards in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak. The plan provides guidance on prevention, record-keeping/contact tracing, the importance of home screening, the role of local public health, infection control measures, and appropriate steps to take should a student or staff member test positive for COVID-19.

In addition to the provincial guidance, the HWCDSB is working with Hamilton Public Health Services (PHS) to manage and contain suspected and confirmed cases of COVID-19. Details of the board’s system action plan for suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 are outlined in our Nurturing Hope: Parent Guide on the Reopening of HWCDSB Schools.

During the pandemic, the HWCDSB has made every effort to respond in a timely and effective way to the numerous and complex challenging issues that have arisen. The province’s COVID-19 Management Plan for school boards is an added resource to assist the HWCDSB in our commitment to make our schools as safe as possible.

Reporting confirmed cases of COVID-19: COVID-19 Advisory Website

Information on confirmed cases of COVID-19 that involve a student or a staff member in a school setting will be posted in the COVID-19 advisory section on the HWCDSB website. In the interests of privacy, information will not identify the student or staff member that has received a positive COVID-19 test.

If Hamilton Public Health advises that a class, cohort or school should be closed for a period of time, parents, students and staff will be notified immediately. Notice of any closures of classes, cohorts or schools will be posted on school and HWCDSB COVID-19 advisory sections.


HWCDSB Early Years COVID-19 Guidelines

HWCDSB Early Years COVID-19 Guidelines

As families and children continue to access licensed childcare, before and after programs, EarlyON, and begin kindergarten, the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board has taken all steps possible to create a safe and welcoming learning environment for students and staff based on Ministry of Education guidance and advice from Hamilton Public Health Services.

Schools are working collaboratively with their childcare providers to ensure that communication is shared and plans for a seamless day are co-ordinated. Childcare responses to COVID-19 can be referenced on the Ministry website.

Details regarding how the Early Years Programs are seeking to provide quality program and joy in learning in the pandemic can be found in the Kindergarten section or our website ( https://www.hwcdsb.ca/learn/kindergarten/ ).

Transportation

Transportation

Hamilton-Wentworth Student Transportation Services (HWSTS) – the transportation consortia for the HWCDSB and HWDSB – continues to experience significant delays in student transportation services as a result of the ongoing school bus driver shortage, which has been further compounded this year by COVID-19.

Despite considerable additional funds provided by HWCDSB and the Provincial Government, as well as a complete re-organization of transportation routes and other measures, there is no short-term solution to the bus driver shortage.

Effective September 28, 2020, HWSTS will cancel routes on a prescheduled rotating basis to address routes cancelled by operators, rotate service on routes delayed more than 60 minutes, and move high school runs that are experiencing delays of 30 minutes to a regular rotation.

Although this solution is not without inconvenience, the planned route cancellation will allow parents and guardians to plan for alternate ways of transporting their children to school and will provide greater fairness by spreading cancellations over many rather than the same routes.


For additional information about your child’s/ren’s route, or to find out their route number, please visit the Hamilton-Wentworth Student Transportation Services website.

For a list of impacted schools, please go to our Boundaries & Transportation page.

HWSTS continues to investigate other options to address the ongoing bus driver shortage, including driver incentives and driver recruitment programs.

Families are encouraged to sign up for email notifications of delays and cancellations on the HWSTS website.

Enhanced Health & Safety Protocols and Protection Strategies

Enhanced Health & Safety Protocols and Protection Strategies

The HWCDSB has implemented a number of protocols, safeguards and structures to keep our students and staff safe. Please see our Nurturing Hope: Parent Guide for the Reopening of our HWCDSB Schools for a complete list of health and safety measures that have been implemented in our facilities.

The HWCDSB's COVID-19 Cleaning Procedure is based on the Public Health Ontario – Cleaning and Disinfection in Public Settings document and consultation with Hamilton Public Health Services. A detailed cleaning and disinfecting protocol has been established for dealing with spaces and equipment in the event of a confirmed case of COVID-19 within an HWCDSB school or site.

Mandatory Masks for All Students

Mandatory Masks for All Students

All HWCDSB students, Kindergarten to Grade 12, must wear a non-medical or cloth mask while at school and on the school bus. The decision to mandate masks for all students was made in consultation with Hamilton Public Health Services and aligns with the city’s mask/face covering by-law that requires individuals to wear a mask or face covering in enclosed public spaces to reduce the transmission of COVID-19, especially when physical distancing may not be possible.

Visit the City of Hamilton’s Public Health Services to learn more about how to properly wear a mask, how masks can reduce the transmission of COVID-19, and other protective measures you can take to stay healthy and safe.
COVID-19 Mask Exemption

COVID-19 Mask Exemption

Consistent with guidance from Public Health, it is understood that for medical or other approved reasons, it may not be possible for some students to wear a non-medical mask at school. Exemptions may include:

• Asthma;
• Sensory processing;
• Hearing/communication;
• Breathing difficulties caused by underlying health conditions;
• Intellectual/development delays that do not allow for the use of a mask; and/or,
• Physical/other: cannot wear a mask without assistance.

Parents whose child meets one or more of the reasons for exemption are asked to contact their child’s school for a COVID-19 mask exemption form.
Changing between models of learning

Changing between models of learning

Elementary students may change from in-school to virtual and virtual to in-school learning at three identified scheduled times during the school year: Thanksgiving, Christmas and March Break.

For secondary school students, a change from in-school to virtual can only happen in advance of Semester 2 on February 4, 2021.

For more information, parents/guardians should consult their child(ren)'s home school.
myClass Learning Management System (LMS) myClass Learning Management System (LMS)

myClass Learning Management System (LMS)

Parent Portal

The HWCDSB has launched the next phase of the myClass Learning Management System (LMS) Parent Portal. The Parent Portal is a one-way form of communication (teacher to parent). Parents/guardians can access the Parent Portal by going to their child(ren)’s school website and clicking on the Parent Portal link.

Parents will receive their own login to the Parent Portal based on the email address they provided to the school when logging into the Parent Portal. Once logged in, they will be presented with a dashboard listing each of their children, JK to Grade 12. When a parent chooses one of their children, the Parent Portal quickly scans the child’s classroom myClass page for information pertaining to that particular child.

Through the Parent Portal, parents/guardians will be able to access:
• digital resources for parents/guardians and students;
• messages posted by teachers in the Activity Feed;
• the classroom calendar of events;
• student assignments; and,
• portfolio artifacts that showcase student work.

The HWCDSB Parent Portal works on all phones, tablets and computers via a web browser so that parents can stay connected wherever they are.

The infographic provides step-by-step instructions on how to get started using Parent Portal. Please use the same email address you provided the school when logging into the Parent Portal.


Mental Health & Well-Being

Mental Health & Well-Being

A complete list of resources and support for parents, guardians and families can be found on our Mental Health & Well-being web page.
COVID-19 Self-Screening Assessment Tool - Contractors & Visitors

COVID-19 Self-Screening Assessment Tool - Contractors & Visitors

All contractors/visitors wishing to come on site must complete this assessment tool. It is recommended that you complete this tool one hour before coming to a HWCDSB site.

At any point that the screening results indicate you cannot visit a HWCDSB site, please inform your HWCDSB contact or project manager.

Click Here to access the COVID-19 Self-Screening Assessment Tool