In-class learning resumes on Monday; symptoms and testing info
There has been a flurry of information (and a bit of snow!) over the last couple days. There is a LOT of information here and your brain is going to be swimming, so take your time to review and digest it all.
First and foremost – all students are welcome to return to school on Monday, January 17. For our Elementary/JH families – daily screening is on! Text reminders will also resume on Monday. You must use the provincial screening tool as it is being updated regularly and follow all of the details it provides with your result. Once that is completed, please fill in your result in your child’s classroom Google form.
Given that we now know that Omicron is widespread and that case investigation in the community is no longer indicated, testing most people for COVID-19 is no longer required nor is the result of the test going to change any processes in place. If you have the symptoms (one major or two minor) you need to assume it is COVID and isolate. By the time you get a test result it is now too late. This is why screening is so important.
Isolation and symptoms
When assessing symptoms, the focus should be on evaluating if they are new, worsening, or different from an individual’s baseline health status (usual state). The most common symptoms of COVID-19 that require immediate self-isolation (only one) are:
Having two or more of the following symptoms of COVID-19 requires immediate self-isolation:
Individuals who are vaccinated, as well as children under 12 who have symptoms of COVID-19 will be required to isolate for five days following the onset of symptoms. These individuals can end isolation after five days if their symptoms are improving for at least 24 hours and can pass screening.
Individuals over 12 who are unvaccinated, partially vaccinated or immunocompromised will be required to isolate for 10 days.
If an individual tests positive from a PCR, Rapid Molecular Test or a Rapid Antigen Test and they are fully vaccinated or under the age of 12, they must isolate for five days from the positive test if they have no symptoms, or from symptom onset and until symptoms are improving for 24 hours. If the individual is unvaccinated, partially vaccinated or immunocompromised, they are required to self-isolate for 10 days from the onset of symptoms, or from the date of the test, whichever came sooner.
In addition, household contacts of individuals who have tested positive must also self-isolate during this time. Individuals must isolate regardless of their vaccination status.
The reason that children under 12 who are not vaccinated only have to isolate for 5 days is due to the current data that suggests they are not getting as ill, nor are putting the strain on our healthcare system. Those who are over 12 and unvaccinated are significantly straining the system and hence the extended isolation period.
At this time, full classrooms are not being dismissed if there is a probable or confirmed case identified. As long as students and staff are passing screening and we can staff the classroom appropriately, they will continue to run. We heard from the health unit this morning and they are also waiting on clarification as to the threshold of when a class would be closed due to probable or confirmed high transmission. We will share any updates and details once received. If this were to happen at the Elementary level, class would move online. We are currently working on the processes if a Toddler or Casa class were to close and will update families who are impacted if this occurs. Toddler/Casa levels have run onsite almost through the entire pandemic and we are hopeful it will continue to be that way, however we also understand the reality of what we are facing with this current wave. The move to any online option for the Toddler/Casa level has more parts to the puzzle to fit together, what is appropriate, what works well and is effective for all involved, so we are working through this plan with the staff this week.
Testing – All Levels
The MLHU is no longer tracking positive PCR test results on their dashboard for any schools or child care settings. The focus now is really on symptom monitoring and screening, as by the time test results are being obtained (or showing up positive on a Rapid Antigen Test) you are likely to be past the most contagious time frame.
PCR – We have been instructed that the take-home PCR self-collection kits are only to be used in limited circumstances. These kits are to be provided only to symptomatic students and staff who become symptomatic while at school, if they have one major or two minor symptoms as listed above. If the test result is positive, the health unit will be automatically notified based on the code given to you in your kit from the school. The individual and their household members need to isolate as per above. Parents are not required to contact the school with the positive test results, however we are requesting that you do, in order for us to be able to closely monitor other absences within the classroom.
Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) – A positive RAT is highly indicative that the individual has COVID-19. A positive RAT does NOT need to be confirmed with a PCR test. Positive RATs no longer need to be reported to the school (or the public health unit). It doesn’t change any of the processes already in place with regards to self-isolation requirements of ill individuals or screening processes. If you choose to share the information, we will again use it to closely monitor other absences in the classroom.
If two consecutive RATs, separated by 24-48 hours, are both negative, the symptomatic individual is less likely to have COVID-19 infection, and the individual should isolate until symptoms are improving for at least 24 hours (or 48 hours if gastrointestinal symptoms are present). The household members of the symptomatic individual with two negative tests may also discontinue isolation if there are two consecutive negative RAT results, separated by 24-48 hours. It has been our experience so far that you are better to test 48 hours apart.
We are hoping that rapid tests are going to become more available for all students in the school, to be used as an additional screening tool when supply becomes available. We will notify you when we receive more information on this initiative.
Elementary/JH Early and Extended Hours
Due to the priority of maintaining our classrooms during the school day, we have shortened the hours for our the Early and Extended hour programs for January. Toddler and Casa have already made this adjustment to their schedules. Early morning will start at 8 am and the after-school program will end at 5 pm. It varies by locations across the school depending on who runs these programs – some are teachers and some are auxiliary staff who also double as our supply staff. It is our goal to keep the staff as safe and healthy as possible, and to ensure that all of our classrooms can operate daily, with no additional closures; these additional hours put a strain on our system. However, we do understand that this may impact your schedules, so please reach out to the following people if this is impossible for you to follow in the coming weeks:
We are aware that even with all the things we are doing to mitigate risks at many levels within the school, eating is the time when everyone is exposed as all students are mask-free during this time. For this reason, it is an option if you would like, to pick up your child for lunch and take them home and return them for playtime. Please let your child’s teacher know if you are going to take this option, as well as touch base with Tameka regarding any hot lunch orders. We will do our best to space out the students while eating as well.
Other changes in school guidance documents
Some of the changes that were made for schools to start in January, do not impact us as we have already made these changes in our school long ago, however the one change we will go back to is separating the Elementary cohorts further for playtime. This already occurs at the Toddler and Casa level.
Things are changing so rapidly and I am doing my best to gather, read, decipher and communicate all of these things to you and our staff in a coherent and timely manner. Thank you for your patience for everything (and anything!) as we move into the full return to school in the coming days. This return has been like no other and highly stressful for everyone, but we are so grateful for each other and the community that is MA.
MA Family Cooking Classes with Growing Chefs! Ontario
Live Virtual Cooking Workshop – Monday, January 24 from 5 to 6pm
This special virtual workshop is just for our MA families! Join us for a LIVE, one-hour, virtual, cooking workshop with a professional chef from Growing Chefs! This interactive workshop is open to all ages and levels with parents/guardians. Together, we will learn to make their famous Macaroni and Cheese recipe!
“We are famous for our delicious, creamy macaroni and cheese at Growing Chefs! Ontario, and we bet that you cannot guess what our secret ingredient is? We will teach you that and more, including some optional delicious toppings. To round out the meal, we will make a seasonal salad and learn how to make a salad dressing from scratch using delicious math.” – Growing Chefs!
Registration and Recipe Kits ($25) – Your registration includes a companion recipe kit to make 4 servings. Recipe Kits include all the necessary ingredients for the World’s Best Mac and Cheese webinar. Kits will be available for pick up at Montessori Academy of London’s Administrative Office at 719 Waterloo St. on Monday, January 24, between 3pm and 4pm.
Space is limited, so register online through this link
! Registration Deadline is Tuesday, January 18!
We are using Simplyk to process payments for this event. With other platforms, Montessori Academy of London is charged a processing fee that takes away from the fundraising profits made. Simplyk does not charge us any fees, so we earn 100% of your purchase. A contribution to support Simplyk will be suggested at the payment confirmation step. Please note that you must un-check the contribution if you do not wish to support them.
Photos from the week
Hat art in Toddler 2
Toddler 2 made some fun winter hats. We have been talking about winter and the importance of dressing warm!
Casa 1’s mitten art!
And the cold-weather themed art continues! Look at us waving at the traffic on Oxford with our colourful stained-glass mittens! The children brought focus and concentration to this fun art project!
Polar bear painting – Waterloo Casa
The Waterloo Casa students created beautiful paintings of polar bears last week. It was a big project with multiple stages. Drawing our polar bears…. We love to learn to draw different things step by step. First we drew a big circle for his head with a smaller circle inside for his snout and nose. Circle ears and a big rainbow for his body. At the bottom of our rainbow we did a little bump, big bump and another little bump. Next we will draw his feet and eyes! Ta-da!!! It’s a polar bear!!
Watch the whole process unfold through these videos on our Instagram page:
Practical Life in Casa
In the Practical Life area of the classroom you will find a shelf with “Care of the Environment” exercises, that includes scrubbing, washing dishes, care of the plant, and polishing, to name a few. Care of the Environment is a key component in a child’s development as it helps connect a child to their space or environment. Washing dishes promotes concentration, awareness of order of steps (you can see Esme pause in the video to process what she is to do next), independence, and control of their movements.
Montessori’s Practical Life curriculum creates a strong foundation on which students build lifetime habits!
Checkerboard at home
Quinton from LE3 used the checkerboard at home to work on his long multiplication last week.
From the Community
Grade 4 & 5 SnowPass available
SnowPass is a not-for-profit program provided by the Canadian Ski Council and the Ontario, Quebec, Atlantic and Western Ski Area Associations. It provides every Canadian student in grades 4 &5 the opportunity to ski and snowboard affordably this winter.
Creative Writers Club – LPL
Know a young writer #LdnOnt? Register them for this Thursday’s Creative Writers Club session on Zoom at 6:30pm: https://buff.ly/3f9RifE Sessions take place every other Thursday night and are designed to help those 11 years and up discover just how much fun writing can be!