FAQs

January 2022 Updates

Elementary Learning Options

What is available, in the short-term, for elementary families who are not yet ready to return to school on Monday, January 17?

Families who have not selected either In-Person Learning or Elementary Virtual Learning Program will be offered Short-Term Virtual Learning for a four-week period via a Google Site with access to the following:

  1. K-8 Week-at-a-Glance activities produced by LSS staff in the areas of literacy, numeracy, science, social studies, and outdoor/physical education
  2. Ministry recommended online resources
  3. Mental Wellness activities/connections

Students will work independently with an option of daily access to LSS Staff support by divisions (K-3, 4-6, 7-8) via Google Meet. Office hours will be Monday – Friday, 9 – 11 a.m. and 1 – 3 p.m.

Families are asked to commit to a week at a time. Students may return to In-Person Learning at any time by contacting the school directly.

ENROLLMENT MUST BE FACILITATED BY THE SCHOOL

Masking

What type of masks are students and staff required to wear?

Students Grade 1-12 are still required to wear a well-fitted cloth or medical mask. In Thames Valley, as per an approved TVDSB Board motion, this is also required for Kindergarten students.

The government is providing students with free high-quality three-ply cloth masks. The use of these specific masks is not being mandated at this time but will be available to any student who requests one.

Education staff will have the option to wear either medical/surgical masks or non-fit-tested N95 masks provided by the government.

COVID-19 School and Child Care Daily Screening

Are schools required to implement on-site confirmation of screening daily?  

Effective January 2022, all schools are required to reinstate daily on-site confirmation of screening for all students and staff until further notice.

The COVID-19 symptom list has been updated to reflect the most current health and testing guidance. Anyone who has symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 or is a confirmed positive case must self-isolate, regardless of vaccination status.

In Thames Valley, this is done through the COVID-19 School Screening Confirmation Form for students in elementary schools. Secondary students are able to continue to complete their daily screening via the QR code access they have been provided.

Is there an updated COVID-19 school screening tool?

Yes, the COVID-19 school and child care screening tool was updated in January 2022. To ensure you are completing the most current version our TVDSB confirmation process links directly to this site.

What if a student/staff has symptoms that may appear to be COVID-19?

If a student/staff is experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19 they should not attend school.  Please refer to the COVID-19 school and child care screening tool for a list of symptoms.  At all times, students should be healthy and well when attending school.

Are Thames Valley schools still required to report COVID-19 school cases to the Ministries of Health and Education?  

The Ministry of Health has suspended reporting of COVID-19 cases in schools. This is a direction from the Ministry and as such there will no longer be data on school cases provided at this time.

COVID-19 case management has changed based on direction from the Ministry of Health. Classes and groups of students will no longer be dismissed from school as has been the process in the past, given the widespread transmission and inability to test all symptomatic individuals.

COVID-19 Testing (PCR and Rapid Antigen Testing)

What should a person do if they are positive on a rapid antigen test or a PCR test?

The individual should complete the COVID-19 Screening tool and follow the directions provided. Self-isolation will be required. Household members must also follow guidance. Please refer to local health unit’s websites for isolation guidance: SWPHU website:  MLHU’s website

What is required when an individual tests negative on a PCR or a Rapid Antigen Test?

If an individual tests negative on a PCR or Rapid Antigen Test, but have symptoms of COVID-19, the individual and their household are required to self-isolate following the self-isolation requirements.  This is outlined in the COVID-19 screening decision tool.

How does an individual know if they are required to isolate?

Health Unit guidance is as follows:

  • If you have symptoms, assume that you are positive for COVID-19.  You and your household are required to self-isolate.
  • If you test negative on a Rapid Antigen Test, but have symptoms of COVID-19, you and your household are required to self-isolate.
  • If you do not have symptoms of COVID-19 but have tested positive for COVID-19 on a PCR or a Rapid Antigen Test, you and your household are required to self-isolate.  
What are the isolation requirements?

Depending on each individuals’ situation there are different isolation requirements. This is determined through the screening tool. It is dependent on a number of factors, including symptoms, age and the individuals’ vaccination/ health status.

Will students and staff members need to isolate when there is a positive COVID-19 case in the class/cohort?

At this time, public health units will no longer be dismissing cohorts of students. The COVID-19 screening tool provides the individual advice on isolation requirements.

Vaccination

Do individuals need to have received a booster shot to be considered fully vaccinated?

Individuals who have received the full series of a COVID-19 vaccine authorized by Health Canada, or any combination of such vaccines (two doses of Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca, including COVISHIELD) or one dose of Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) are considered fully vaccinated, see https://covid-19.ontario.ca/proof-covid-19-vaccination#overview for more information.

§ To book a vaccine appointment and for current eligibility visit: www.covidvaccinelm.ca 

Updates and Information

Our local public health units’ websites are regularly updated and contain more information that may be useful.


September 2021 

What are the guidelines for secondary music programming?

A) Secondary Music Programming (students enrolled in music courses) 

On the guidance of our local public health units, we have recently revised our protocols for music instruction for secondary students. These are as follows:  

 Indoors:  

  • Singing indoors is only permitted within a cohort. 
  • Masking and physical distancing are required. 
  • The use of wind instruments is permitted indoors only in well-ventilated places and ensuring physical distancing of at least 2 metres between students. 

Repertoire (instruments and/or vocal): 

  • All repertoire classes must occur virtually as we have strict direction from the Ministry of Education indicating that only two instructional cohorts may occur daily. 

(B) Secondary Music Extracurricular  

The following is an update on enhanced measures for extracurricular activities for students participating in bands, choirs, etc.:  

  • Extracurricular singing/choir may only take place outdoors with masking and physical distancing. 
  • Extracurricular music with wind instruments may take place outdoors with physical distancing maintained between cohorts or indoors in well-ventilated spaces and if physical distancing of at least 2 metres is maintained. 
Are elementary extracurriculars allowed?
Over the course of the next few weeks, planning will continue to support extracurricular activities for elementary students (i.e., athletics, clubs, music). Please note these are currently not in place yet in our schools. More information will follow. 
What are the guidelines for elementary music?
On the guidance of our local public health units, Thames Valley has recently revised our protocols for music instruction for elementary students. These are as follows: 
 
Indoors: 
• Singing indoors is only permitted within a cohort (class). 
• Masking and physical distancing are required. 
• The use of wind instruments is permitted indoors only in well-ventilated places and ensuring physical distancing of students. 
 
Outdoors: 
• Masking is required if physical distancing is not maintained among individuals within a cohort (class). 
• Singing is permitted outdoors with physical distancing maintained between cohorts; please note, this would be for choirs, when they commence at TVDSB schools. 
Why are you requiring staff and students to mask, even if they are double vaccinated?

Masking and hand hygiene are among the most important protective strategies to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

All students (Kindergarten to Grade 12+) will be required to wear masks indoors in school, including in hallways and during classes, as well as on school vehicles. This aligns with the provincial direction and the Thames Valley District School Board motion of the Board of Trustees in August 2020 which included masking for our Kindergarten students (JK and SK)Our staff are committed to working to support our youngest learners to wear masks at school during their transition to school.

Masks may be temporarily removed indoors to eat and drink, and while outdoors for recess. 

The provincial guidelines state specifically that masks are mandatory for grade one and up. TVDSB is requiring kindergarten students to wear a mask. Please help me understand this discrepancy.
The Ministry of Education mandated masks for students Grade 1-12. The TVDSB Board of Trustees approved a motion in August 2020 to extend the use of masks to all students, including Kindergarten. This motion remains in effect this school year. For our students who may find wearing a mask to be a challenge, our TVDSB staff are committed to supporting these learners with mask wearing and understanding why wearing a mask at school indoors is important.  
Will school cafeterias serve food in September?
School cafeterias will be open beginning September 7 for student use, with limited capacity and requirements for physical distancing. We expect food services and the selling of food items to resume later in the fall of 2021. More details will be provided by individual schools that have food services in cafeterias. 
Are carpets/couches/furniture allowed in kindergarten classrooms? 
We are required to continue to ensure space in classrooms is prioritized to programming needs and allowing space, where possible, for physical distancing. Therefore, some furniture will continue to remain in our classrooms to support programming needs. Carpets may be returned, where possible, to some classrooms; this will be site specific. 
Will my secondary student be able to use their locker?
Thames Valley schools with lockers will be able to allow them to be used by students this school year. School plans will be developed to provide as much physical distancing as possible during transition times when students would be accessing their lockers. 
Will Secondary extracurricular activities resume?  
We are pleased to be able to provide most of our extracurricular activities to students, as available in our schools. There may be requirements for masking for some activities indoors and altered schedules and inter-school playing options. Please note that extracurricular activities may not resume immediately in order to ensure a safe delivery plan.  
Will I be able to volunteer in my child’s school? 
We are pleased to be able to invite our volunteers into our schools and are planning for this return later in the fall of 2021. There will be requirements for all approved visitors to adhere to our protocols, processes and immunization mandates.  
Will Kindergarten classes have a stagger start?
Specific details on the gradual start of our Kindergarten students will be provided by the school later in August. All current Senior Kindergarten (Year Two) students will begin on Tuesday, September 7, 2021. New Kindergarten registrants will enter gradually during the first week of school. 
What will the protocol be for parents/guardians/volunteers entering a school?
All visitors to schools must be approved by the School Principal. There will be a gradual return to visitors accessing our schools through the fall of 2021 in order to allow for our schools to prioritize the return to in person learning for our students. If granted approval, all visitors must adhere to the TVDSB protocols and procedures that will be shared by the Principal as part of the approval process. This will include adhering to mask requirements and the requirement from the Ministry of Education with respect to immunization mandates. 
What will happen if there is another lockdown? 
Thames Valley will be required to follow the direction provided by the Ministry of Education and the Chief Medical Officer of Ontario. In the event of a lockdown, we will remain committed to the well-being of our students, families and staff.  
Will I be able to change my student’s learning model from in class to full-remote?
TVDSB families were asked to declare a learning model for the 2021-2022 school year. Changes to learning models are disruptive to our students’ learning both for our in person and virtual classes. Therefore, we have asked that our families select a model for the entire school year in order to provide stability for our students.  
What happens if there is a positive case in my child’s classroom / school?
The Ministry of Education has provided school boards with the COVID-19 guidance: school case, contact and outbreak management document which determines the steps if there is a positive case in our schools. Requirements for self-isolation are outlined in this resource. TVDSB will continue to work closely with our local public health units for case managements in schools and on school transportation.
Will EQAO and OSSLT assessments be conducted in the 2021-2022 school year? 
EQAO is scheduled to resume this school year. The format and timelines have changed and more information will be provided by schools as these timeframes approach for our students who may be participating this year.  
Will field trips be permitted?
Thames Valley anticipates being able to provide an opportunity for some, approved field trips to begin later in the fall of 2021. Health and safety requirements will be in place for approved field trips. More information will be provided to schools at a later date 
Will child-care centres in schools be open?
All TVDSB sites with child-care centres will be open and continue with health and safety practices in place.  
Will mental health supports be provided to students?
Our TVDSB staff are committed to supporting the well-being and mental health of our students. Professional staff are able to provide in person and remote support to students who require it; requests are to be made through school staff. TVDSB’s Mental Health website provides our families, students and staff with many resources to be able to support our students’ well-being.   
How will students, families and staff be notified if there is a positive COVID-19 case at their school?
Notification of confirmed or probable COVID-19 cases is provided by the school through SchoolMessenger or other communication means (I.e., phone calls/ emails, as applicable). In addition, all confirmed or probable COVID-19 cases are listed on the TVDSB COVID-19 Alerts webpage. 
Will technology support be provided to students who are working remotely? Will they be able to obtain a device?
Our TVDSB virtual staff will be able to support students to learn the skills needed to engage digitally in their learning. TVDSB does provide access to support for families through our website. Students who require a device should request one from their home school staff.  

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