Director's Message March 2021

Director's Message March 2021
Posted on 03/20/2021
Image of hand and words saying Message from the Director

Dear Families,

It has been a busy month since I last shared updates and I want to take this opportunity to provide you with some important information.

First, I want to recognize our schools for giving students with fun and innovative opportunities to celebrate what would have been March Break this week. Schools have provided various spirit and themed days to help bolster everyone’s spirits until we reach the new break now scheduled to take place from April 12-16, 2021.

You are likely aware of the sudden surge in COVID-19 cases in our region. In Limestone, we currently have five active cases. We continue to work closely with KFL&A Public Health to be as quick and responsive as possible when cases are identified in the school setting. Despite some frustration and fatigue following the one-year anniversary of the pandemic last week, we all must remain vigilant in following public health directives to keep everyone safe and our schools open. If community spread continues, there is no doubt more schools and school communities will be affected. We all must continue to do our part to limit the spread as much as possible.

Potential staffing shortages: Due to various pandemic-related reasons, including the recently revised Ministry directives regarding COVID-19 screening and isolation requirements, the board has seen a greater impact on both student and staff absences. So far, the board has been able to accommodate staff absences with little to no disruption to classrooms. It is important for families to know if we are unable to provide adequate staffing to supervise students, some classes within a school may need to be cancelled temporarily. Or there may be instances when classrooms (or entire schools) may need to pivot to remote learning for a designated period due to public health isolation requirements to contain possible spread of COVID-19. The board will make every effort to continue in-person learning without interruption.

Asymptomatic COVID-19 Testing: As part of the Ministry of Education’s enhanced COVID-19 school protocols, school boards are required to offer voluntary asymptomatic COVID-19 testing to students, staff and bus drivers. The board has worked closely with KFL&A Public Health and the local Community Assessment Centres to develop a testing plan for our district. At this time, testing will only be offered to students, staff and bus drivers who are asymptomatic, and not family members of those individuals. A more detailed message about our asymptomatic testing plan and the schedule will be shared soon. 

Virtual School 2021-2022: The board is planning for September 2021 and that includes the continuation of some form of remote learning for students who learn best in the online environment, or require a virtual environment due to underlying medical conditions for themselves or for family members. Families with students currently enrolled in LDSB Virtual School will receive communication about next steps early next week. If your student is currently in in-person learning, and you want more information about virtual school for 2021-2022, please visit the board website. The board does require commitments from families interested in the secondary virtual school by April 2, 2021. Elementary Virtual School families will be required to confirm their interest before the summer break.

Mental Health Survey: Families are invited to participate in a brief survey to help inform the board's strategy on student mental health and substance use. Feedback from the survey will help drive the work already being done in our system to best support students and families. Families can participate in the survey via this anonymous link. To learn more, visit the board website. Broad results will be shared with the public in the spring and fall of 2021. The survey is open until March 19, 2021.

Budget Survey: The board has begun planning for the 2021-2022 budget and the Board of Trustees is seeking feedback on its development. Students, families, staff, and community partners are invited to participate in a brief survey to identify priorities for the equitable, successful, and fiscally responsible use of LDSB’s finite financial resources. The anonymous survey is open until March 19, 2021.

Thank you for continuing to adhere to all public health protocols including daily screening. We all need to continue to work together for a few more months. We appreciate your understanding and flexibility as we navigate and adapt to a constantly changing environment.

While it is officially a few days away yet, the weather seems to have turned, and it certainly feels like spring is just around the corner! I hope you can explore the outdoors as a way to recharge and remain well and active.

Krishna Burra
Director of Education