Montessori Buzz – December 31, 2021
Dear MA Families & Friends,
I almost kept my promise to you!! At least I made it to the last Friday until you heard from me. There is a LOT of information in this message, so do take your time to read and digest it all.
Delayed Return for ALL Students – First day of school is Tuesday, Jan. 4
There was an announcement late yesterday afternoon that publicly-funded schools are to be closed until Wednesday, Jan. 5, however we can start earlier. We will keep the school closed at all levels on Monday for the following reasons:
The provincial school and child care screening tool will not be updated by Monday, and now it is even more convoluted than before. The symptom list is also changing again (it had already changed right before the break). I want all parents to use this tool consistently since there will be many changes to it, including the guidance on next steps and isolation when screening is failed. The rules surrounding isolation have also changed. More details about screening can be found below.
There are new guidance documents also coming from the Ministry today. It takes time to review, process and share the information within them, for both of the levels in the school (our licensed toddler/casa and the rest of elementary). These new changes need to be fully understood and clearly communicated to the staff and community. This is also the first time changes have come our way since school started. We will be having a virtual full-staff meeting on Monday so I can share the changes with them. I will share details that would impact processes for families in the next Tuesday Buzz.
Although the government made the announcement about upgrading masks for staff, we do not receive a PPE supply for our elementary or administrative staff and need to order this on our own. Our toddler and casa staff do, since they are working in licensed programs, and we are hopeful to have these ready to go on Tuesday.
Daily Screening Starts Tuesday for all Levels
Right before the Winter Break, we were alerted that the provincial school and childcare COVID screening tool was being updated to include more questions regarding rapid testing within the household (and guidance action steps depending on how you answer), since rapid tests are now becoming more readily available. It is now being updated again to include new symptoms and guidance if you fail screening.
Because of these important changes to the screening, we need to make sure that all families use the tool first and complete the questionnaire honestly.
Starting Tuesday morning, please make sure you:
1. Complete the screening for each child in our program through the online tool:
2. Record your results on the classroom online Google forms:
TODDLER & CASA GOOGLE FORMS FOR AT-HOME SCREENING
Waterloo Toddler 1 Screening Google Form
Waterloo Toddler 2 Screening Google Form
Westmount Toddler Screening Google Form
Casa 1 Screening Google Form
Casa 2 Screening Google Form
Casa 3 Screening Google Form
Casa 4 Screening Google Form
Westmount Casa 5 Screening Google Form
Waterloo Casa 6 Screening Google Form
ELEMENTARY & JUNIOR HIGH GOOGLE FORMS FOR AT-HOME SCREENING
Lower El 1 Screening Google Form – Andressa and Julie
Lower El 2 Screening Google Form – Shawna and Cindy
Lower El 3 Screening Google Form – Lindsey and Sarah
Junior High Screening Google Form
International Travel Reminder
A reminder to all families, as stated in prior Buzz messages, if you travelled internationally and your child is not fully vaccinated (regardless if you are) they can not attend school for 14 days after your arrival and they may not attend school on Tuesday.
We hope families made use of their rapid testing kits over the break. Please test your child on Monday evening before returning to school on Tuesday. If the rapid test is positive, your child cannot come to school. Please email Tina with the result and then complete the updated provincial school screening tool, as it will outline your next steps. This is also why we need to wait for the screening tool to be updated in case of a positive test in our community. A follow-up PCR is no longer required.
We also received the following information a couple of days ago:
The Thames Valley Family Health Team, in partnership with Ontario Health West and the Middlesex-London Health Unit, is opening a COVID-19 Rapid Molecular Testing site for school age children (four years old to Grade 12) who require a negative test in order to return to school.
The site will open on Wednesday, January 5, 2022, and will provide accurate COVID-19 test results within approximately 15 minutes. Parents who are health workers in the primary and community care sectors, and require a negative test in order to return to the workplace are also eligible to be tested at this location.
Appointments need to be booked: Visit https://covidtestinglm.ca/, and select “460 Springbank Dr.” as your preferred location. Hours of operation are 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
This information was shared with us before the announcement on Thursday with regards to testing priority. If there is more follow-up information to share about this clinic, we will do so in the next Buzz on Tuesday, as this may be one of few ways to access a test for your child.
We still have tests available, so please contact the front desk if you require one for your child. These tests are only to be used if your child has any of the symptoms listed on the new screening tool. Please note when you look up places to drop them off, you do need to read the information in the location listing, as the provincial site displays everywhere you can be tested AND where you can drop off school kits in the same location list, which can be confusing and frustrating if you show up at the wrong place. With the change in testing priority announced yesterday, this may be the only way, for the next while, to get a PCR test for your child. We have not heard if the access to these tests are going to change.
MLHU Update on COVID-19 Case and Contact Management in Toddler and Casa (Licensed Programs)
Due to the rapid and overwhelming surge in COVID-19 cases, the Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU) will no longer investigate cases that have an exposure within this setting. It will now be Tina’s responsibility to manage this process – both monitoring case counts and close contacts within the school of identified cases. This now requires parents to immediately contact Tina at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “POSITIVE TEST,” if your child has received this result. At this point, we believe this is for either a rapid test or a PCR, as it is now no longer a requirement to get a PCR to confirm your rapid test.
Please note that individuals are infectious two days prior to symptom onset or two days before the date they were tested (whichever is earlier). Any children in the cohort with a case, who attended school while the case was infectious, would be considered high-risk close contacts (HRCC) and will be instructed to quarantine for 10 days (since they are not vaccinated) following their last exposure to the case. This makes your daily screening process even more imperative.
Air Sniper Units
Eighteen months ago, we installed these units into every classroom and learning space, and they will continue to run and be utilized. These kill 99% of airborne pathogens and work to sanitize the air (not filter it) within the room, every 10 minutes, using UVC technology. While it works to continuously kill airborne contaminants, they do not produce any ozone.
With the rapid transmission of the Omnicron variant, we are asking parents to consider sending your child in a 3 layer surgical or KN95 mask, rather than a fabric one. If cloth is your only option, please be sure that the mask is well fitted to your child’s face with minimal gaps on the sides. Our staff will also be making the transition from surgical to KN95/N95 masks in the coming days.
Next Buzz – Tuesday, January 4
Please keep an eye out for this message, as we will share the most up-to-date news we have with regards to all new restrictions impacting our processes.
Being that it is New Year’s Eve, I will leave you with this quote from Marisa Murray, “A new year, a new day, a fresh moment in time – new beginnings are full of possibilities.” Let’s hold on to this notion as we enter into another interesting year.
May love, laughter and good health carry you and your family into 2022 – Happy New Year!