Message from the Director - November 15, 2022

Limestone Learning Foundation
Message from the Director - November 15, 2022
Posted on 11/15/2022
Message from the Director

Dear Families,

While we have enjoyed a very warm fall, it appears more seasonal temperatures are finally upon us.  The warmer weather up to this point had provided great opportunities for extracurriculars, field trips, and outdoor learning. With more seasonal weather upon us, people will be spending more time indoors and, as a result, public health authorities are concerned about the spread of several illnesses and the impact on hospital capacity for pediatric emergencies. We wanted to update families regarding recent announcements from the Ministry of Health and KFL&A Public Health:

Updated Recommendations from the Chief Medical Officer of Health

As many families are aware, Monday morning, Dr. Kieran Moore, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, provided an update to the public indicating he is strongly recommending masking in all indoor public settings, including in schools and in childcare settings.

As the risk of illness increases, Dr. Moore recommends getting back to practicing the basics that we know work to help prevent the spread of illness:

  • Mask in indoor public settings, including schools and childcare settings due to the additional risk of Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), COVID-19, and influenza (flu).
  • Stay up to date with your vaccines.
  • Screen daily for respiratory symptoms.
  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • Always practice good hand hygiene and regularly clean surfaces (which is especially important for RSV and flu viruses).

KFL&A Public Health has asked that we share the attached letter with all Limestone students and families encouraging everyone to remain vigilant and practice the simple public health guidelines outlined. Included in the letter is a resource from the Frontenac, Lennox and Addington Ontario Health Team, Family Doctor Tips on Caring for Children with Respiratory Symptoms. The resource outlines helpful tips on how to decide when to seek care for a respiratory illness and how to support your student at home.

Recent Uptick in Student and Staff Absences and Student Absence Reporting Dashboard

Although student and staff absences go up and down throughout the school year, we have experienced a recent uptick in both student and staff absences due to illness at some sites, including some bus cancellations. Limestone continues to work closely with KFL&A Public Health in monitoring student absences related to illness.  A version of this dashboard was posted on our website during the spring of 2022. We are again making the Student Absence Reporting Dashboard available to support our school communities with information about student absences due to illness in Limestone schools. This work has been supported by KFL&A Public Health guidance.

It is important to note that information presented on the dashboard is provided on a voluntary basis by families when reporting their student’s absence(s) from school. It only includes illness-related absences on a school level and does not include information at the classroom level. Providing this information to families may provide greater insight into virus activity within a school community and the broader Limestone communities.

Additional information about the dashboard is available on our website, and families can view the Student Absence Reporting Dashboard online. Our hope is that if people follow the guidance of public health authorities, we will see fewer absences among students and staff. While we have been able to replace ill staff up to this point, a continued increase in staff absences may result in having to temporarily pivot and/or close some classrooms and/or schools.

Returning to School After Being Sick

A reminder that students should stay home when sick. Anyone who is feeling sick or has any new or worsening symptoms of illness should stay home. After the start of any illness symptom, once they start to improve, students should continue to wear a well-fitted mask for 10 days (starting at the onset of illness) in all public settings (including schools and childcare) and avoid non-essential activities where mask removal is necessary.

Students, staff, and school visitors need to continue to self-screen each school day. KFL&A Public Health has created a great school and childcare screening tool resource for students and families.

I appreciate the continued efforts by students, families, and staff to practice public health recommendations to help keep our school and communities safe – we are all in this together. Given changing circumstances in the healthcare sector and pressures on pediatric capacity, virus activity in the community, and seasonal changes, public health authorities are strongly recommending everyone mask in indoor, congregate settings like schools and daycares. As we continue to navigate these challenging times, I will keep families informed with the most up-to-date information available.

Thank you,

Krishna Burra

Director of Education

Letter from KFL&A Public Health for students, families, and staff. 

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