December 17, 2020

Director’s message to families for the Winter Break

​Dear Peel District School Board families and students,

This calendar year has truly been one like no other. Throughout it all, each of you—students, families and staff—have made the very best of an unprecedented, challenging time. Like you, I am hopeful for a bright 2021.  

This Winter Break comes at a critical time in the pandemic. To help keep our communities and each other as safe as possible, I'm sharing with you some important reminders and information for the holiday break, including health and safety advice from Peel Public Health and The Ministry of Education.

Returning to School in January

At this time, we have NOT been directed to close schools or make changes to in-person learning in January. It is important to note that a decision to move to remote learning for all students would be made based on the advice of public health officials or the provincial government, and is not made by the Peel board. 

This year has taught us how important it is to be prepared for every possibility, and so, we've taken precautionary measures in the event that circumstances change over the next two weeks:
  • Students have been asked to take home any required personal belongings or learning materials that they would not want to be without should we be directed to shift to online learning. 
  • Staff have also received instruction to take home with them any devices, materials or resources that they may need to teach remotely.  
Again, at this time, we have NOT received direction to close schools or extend the Winter Break in January. Schools will re-open for in-person learning on Jan. 4, 2021. If this changes, we will communicate with families and staff by email, and through our website and social media channels.

Stay safe this holiday season

During the holidays, it is important for everyone to adhere to public health measures when connecting with one another. Help us ensure a safe return to school by following the advice of public health and keeping your holiday celebrations and gatherings to your immediate household. Please continue to be vigilant around hand washing, physical distancing and wearing masks when you can't maintain physical distance. By following public health advice, we can all have a safe and fun holiday season. 

Visit the Government of Ontario's holiday web page for more direct and up-to-date guidance on how individuals and families can plan for a safe holiday season, including suggestions for safer holiday activities for children and families.

Take care of your well-being and mental health

Over the last several months, families have been faced with many new and difficult challenges. It's important to know that you are never alone and supports are available to help. View the board's Guide to Mental Health Supports and Community Resources for a list of immediate, 24/7 supports as well as community supports available during the Winter Break. 

Self-screening and safety protocols

Self-screening will still be a requirement when we return to school and we will continue to reinforce masking and hand hygiene as well as cohorting and physical distancing with students and staff.

As a reminder, anyone feeling ill should not attend school. All children, students, staff, and visitors must be screened for symptoms of illness every day before attending school or child care. To help meet this requirement, please use the Peel Public Health's screening tool.

I would also like to remind you about the actions we are taking to reinforce the health and safety protocols to protect students, educators and staff while limiting the spread of COVID-19 in schools. You can learn about these protocols on our Enhanced Health and Safety Measures webpage.

Upcoming opportunity to switch learning models for Term 2 (Elementary) and Quadmester 3 (Secondary)

Families will have their final opportunity to request a change in their child's learning model, beginning Jan. 4, 2021. Instructions will be communicated to you in the new year. 

Stay connected and informed

We encourage you to visit Ontario.ca/covidresponse to learn what public health measures are in place in our community – but also please be aware that these could change depending on the most current public health advice. We also suggest checking out Peel Public Health's website for helpful resources and supports.​

I hope you enjoy your break in whatever way makes you smile—staying safe, healthy and warm. Please continue to take care of yourselves and one another. 

Colleen Russell-Rawlins
Director of Education

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