Board Message to Families - August 30, 2022

Limestone Learning Foundation
Welcome to the 2022-2023 School Year
Posted on 08/30/2022

Dear Families,

I hope all Limestone families have been able to enjoy summer, and the opportunity to connect with friends and extended family. For over two school years, Limestone students, families, and staff have demonstrated resiliency and flexibility in responding to changes to public health and workplace safety measures throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. With the 2022-2023 school year starting for students in next week, I wanted to provide a short update.

We are greatly looking forward to welcoming all returning and new students back to school. We are hopeful for all of the critical student activities like sports, clubs, field trips, and celebrations continuing like this past spring to support the overall student experience in schools. All of these activities require the support of staff and community members, and we always greatly appreciate their time and efforts to support these important experiences.

As you are likely aware from media coverage, earlier in August the province released its outline of Health and Safety measures for the 2022-2023 school year: “On the advice of the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, for the 2022-23 school year, most health and safety requirements remain unchanged from the previous direction provided to school board partners at the end of the 2021-2022 school year.” While the updated guidance resembles the status in schools from mid-March to the end of June this past spring, here is a summary:

  • Based on the advice of the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, masks will not be required for students, staff, and visitors in schools, school board offices, or on student transportation. KFL&A Public Health continues to encourage the wearing of masks in indoor, congregate settings. Appropriate hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette will continue to be promoted and integrated throughout the school day.
  • Staff, students, and visitors should continue to self-screen every day before attending school using the COVID-19 school and childcare screening tool. Following public health guidance, individuals should stay home if they are feeling ill to prevent the spread of illness.
  • The government will continue to provide free high-quality masks for students and staff, eye protection for staff, as well as rapid antigen tests to be used in accordance with provincial testing guidance.
  • Schools and school vehicles will continue with cleaning protocols requiring cleaning/disinfecting high-touch surfaces at least once daily.
  • Continued use of HEPA ventilation units in areas without full mechanical ventilation and/or without MERV-13 filtration, maximization of fresh-air intake into all buildings, the running of ventilation units beyond the time buildings are occupied, and continued improvements to existing ventilation infrastructure.
  • Continued collaboration with KFL&A Public Health as it relates to health and safety, and absences due to illness. 

The pandemic continues to evolve, and a wide range of perspectives based on differing voices and sources of information exist across the communities we live in. As a public school system, we need to serve all families across Limestone, and this requires respecting and accepting a range of perspectives. Consequently, without a mandate related to different measures, we need to respect the decisions people make as they continue to navigate the pandemic as it relates to several measures, including being mask friendly. Limestone schools must continue to be respectful, welcoming, and inclusive environments for all students, staff, and families.    

Change is always challenging. Everyone’s experience of these past two years has been personal. Respecting and accepting individual choices will continue to be critical on the path ahead. If the past couple of years have taught us anything, it is the continued need for flexibility. While the return to more normal school operations from March to June this past school year did not result in us having to pivot or close schools due to insufficient staff, the staffing shortages across a range of sectors may impact us at some point if we see periods of increased staff illness. 

Limestone recognizes that personal and family health circumstances can change and/or be impacted by the status of public health measures. Any families wanting to either return to in-person learning, or to move to the virtual school should connect with their current school this week to request a change. We will do our best to accommodate requests within our existing staffing parameters.

We hope you continue to have a safe, happy, and healthy summer with your friends and family, and we greatly look forward to welcoming students returning to Limestone next week on Tuesday, September 6.

Thank you,

Krishna Burra

Director of Education

Watch Director Burra's Welcome Back Message to All Families

The Limestone District School Board is situated on traditional territories of the Anishinaabe & Haudenosaunee.