Monday, March 1, 2021

‘We have met our commitment’ with back-to-school plan

The Board of Trustees has received a report on the #SeptemberReady project – St. Clair Catholic’s comprehensive system-wide return to school plan during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our #SeptemberReady planning team began its work back in June,” stated Deb Crawford, Director of Education, in a media release.

“This has been a tremendous undertaking with many people working through the summer months. From the beginning, our focus was to make the health, safety and wellness of our students and staff our number one priority. I am pleased to report to the Board of Trustees that we have met our commitment.”

St. Clair Catholic District School Board officials say the project began with an environmental scan of all available information including, research and literature review of resources and a stakeholder survey to identify hazards and risks.

The stakeholders involved in this initial work were instrumental to helping the team set the pathway forward.

The risks were assessed, ranked and organized into six key areas of focus: health and safety; mental wellness; communications; staff workload; transportation; and planning.

Mitigation protocols were developed based on guidance from the Ministry of Education, Public Health Ontario, neighbouring school boards and the Chatham-Kent and Lambton public health units.

“I cannot say enough about the support we received throughout this process from Dr. Sudit Ranade, Medical Officer of Health for Lambton Public Health and Dr. David Colby, Medical Officer of Health for Chatham Kent Public Health,” Crawford said.

“Their guidance and expertise helped to support our work every step of the way through this extraordinary process. We are grateful for our partnership with our local health units.”

Although the #SeptemberReady team’s work officially wrapped up on September 5, 2020 the Board continues to address ongoing issues and challenges regarding COVID-19 in schools.

All of the documents developed by the #SeptemberReady team, including the Return to School Plan and the #SeptemberReady Resource Document for Principals are living resources, which continue to adapt and change based on evolving guidance from the Ministry of Education and public health.

“The work of this project was demanding and challenging and its scope involved far too many people to thank them all individually,” stated John Van Heck, Chair of the Board, in a media release.

“But to the many who worked throughout the summer to ensure the safe and effective reopening of our schools, on behalf of our entire Board I say a very heartfelt ‘thank you'”

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