Novel Coronavirus Information For Parents

The health and safety of our students and staff continues to be the main priority at Lakehead Public Schools. We will continue to work with and follow direction from our local public health partner, the Thunder Bay District Health Unit, and other provincial and federal health agencies.

Jump To Resource Links For Additional Information

For Students and Parents looking for useful learning resources please visit our Online Learning Resources page.

By order of the Minister of Education, all Ontario schools have been ordered to remain closed from:

March 14 through to TBA

Useful Information

Latest Information and Updates

Wednesday May 20, 2020

The following is a letter from the Minister of Education (English / French)


Tuesday April 28th, 2020

The Following is a letter from the Minister of Education (EnglishFrench)


Thursday April 9, 2020

For a list of frequently asked questions, please click the link below:

https://www.lakeheadschools.ca/frequently-asked-questions/


Friday April 3, 2020

For more information on our Learn At Home Program, please click the following link:


Wednesday April 1st, 2020

The Following is a letter from the Minister of Education (EnglishFrench)


Tuesday March 31, 2020

This has been a very trying and difficult time for everyone and we thank you for your understanding and patience. The Minister of Education announced today that schools will now be closed until Monday, May 4, 2020. We understand that the decision to extend the closure will be challenging for our students and staff, but one that had to be made in order to continue to “flatten the curve”.

In anticipation of the extended closure, Lakehead Public Schools has been working to develop a teacher-led learning at home program. Beginning the week of April 6, 2020, students will be provided with teacher-directed learning specific to their grade. In a news release today, the Ministry of Education communicated a new set of expectations that will be included in our plan including:

    • Kindergarten-Grade 3: five hours of work per student/week (focus on literacy and math);
    • Grades 4-6: five hours of work per student/week (focus on literacy, math, science and social studies);
    • Grades 7-8: 10 hours of work per student/week (focus on math, literacy, science and social studies); and
    • Grades 9-12: three hours of work per course per week for semestered students; 1.5 hours of work per course per week for non-semestered students (focus on achieving credits/completion/graduation).

Over the course of this week, details of our plan will be communicated to families through our website, social media, mainstream media and phone/text messaging. While the plan is being finalized, online learning resources are available on our website at https://www.lakeheadschools.ca/online-learning-resources/. Additionally, the provincial government has posted resources on the Learning at Home website at https://www.ontario.ca/page/learn-at-home. As we stated before, the resources are not required learning for students, but rather intended for students and their families to engage with as they choose.

Families have been asked to complete a survey with regard to their technological needs that may be required for digital learning. The survey can be found at https://www.lakeheadschools.ca/phase-ii-learn-at-home-plan/. The data collected in this survey will provide the information needed to finalize a plan that will include the lending of devices to students who currently do not have access. If you are aware of families who are unable to access and complete the survey, please ask them to call Lakehead Public Schools at 625-5100. They will be required to leave a message for a staff member to return the call.

Due to the disruption of the school year, the Ministry of Education has waived the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT) as a requirement for graduation this year. Students who are not graduating in June 2020, will be required to write the OSSLT during the 2020-2021 school year. Secondary schools will be contacting students with information with regard to school-based bursaries and scholarships. The Minister of Education has stated that the extended closure will not impact the ability for students to graduate. Grade 3 and Grade 6 EQAO testing for this school year is also cancelled.

In addition to addressing the academic needs, the mental health needs of our students, staff and their families is a priority. A number of mental health resources and links have been posted on our website at https://www.lakeheadschools.ca/mental-health-resources-for-students-staff-and-families/.

With the extended closure of the schools, the following will continue to be in effect:

    • All childcare centres and EarlyON centres located in schools remain closed.
      all questions or concerns related to school based childcare centres should be directed to the service providers;
    • all before and after school programs cancelled;
    • all on and offsite athletic practices and school activities cancelled
    • all community use permits cancelled;
    • all co-op and work placements suspended; and
    • all breakfast programs cancelled.

The Jim McCuaig Education Centre remains closed to the public. All enquires should be directed to:

    • 625-5100. Messages will be checked on a regular basis.
    • communications@lakeheadschools.ca

All efforts will be made to ensure that all questions and concerns are addressed in a timely fashion.

Once again, thank you for your understanding and patience during this unprecedented time. We will continue to keep our students and their families updated as information becomes available.


Monday March 30, 2020

Lakehead Public Schools is preparing for Ministry’s Phase II Learn at Home Plan in the event that the the closure of all schools in Ontario is extended beyond Monday, April 6.

Please visit the following website for more information:

https://www.lakeheadschools.ca/phase-ii-learn-at-home-plan/ 


Friday March 27, 2020

Effective immediately, all Lakehead Public Schools playgrounds are CLOSED to help stop the spread of #COVID19


Thursday March 26, 2020

Continuity of Learning Plan

As with other Boards in the province, Lakehead Public Schools is working on the development of a continuity of learning plan. This plan cannot be put in place until we receive direction from the Ministry of Education.

As per a post on our website on Monday, March 23: “During the next two weeks, Lakehead Public Schools will be developing plans for the continuity of learning for our students beyond April 6. These plans will include teacher led learning opportunities for students. Once complete, the plans will be shared with our families. In the interim, online learning resources are available on our website at https://www.lakeheadschools.ca/online-learning-resources/. Additionally, the provincial government has posted the first phase of the Learning at Home website at https://www.ontario.ca/page/learn-at-home. These resources are not required learning for students, but rather intended for students and their families to engage with as they choose. Please know that learning takes many forms, and you should feel comfort knowing that many of the activities you already engage in with your children contribute to their learning.”

Once the plan for continuity of learning is complete, we will be sharing the details of the plan with our families.


Monday March 23, 2020

Dear Lakehead Public Schools Families,

Thank you for your patience during this unprecedented time in public education. While there has not been a formal announcement, it is our understanding that Ontario schools may not be opening on April 6 following the 2-week shutdown. The Minister of Education will be providing more information in the next day or two with regard to a potentially longer shutdown of all schools. We will immediately communicate that information to you following the update from the Minister.

During the next two weeks, Lakehead Public Schools will be developing plans for the continuity of learning for our students beyond April 6. These plans will include teacher led learning opportunities for students. Once complete, the plans will be shared with our families. In the interim, online learning resources are available on our website at https://www.lakeheadschools.ca/online-learning-resources/. Additionally, the provincial government has posted the first phase of the Learning at Home website at https://www.ontario.ca/page/learn-at-home. These resources are not required learning for students, but rather intended for students and their families to engage with as they choose. Please know that learning takes many forms, and you should feel comfort knowing that many of the activities you already engage in with your children contribute to their learning.

In addition to supporting our students’ academic needs, we will be posting information pertaining to the mental health of our students. Parents and guardians continue to provide the best emotional support for their children. Please look for updates on mental health supports on our social media channels.

During the current shutdown, all schools will remain closed to students and staff to allow for a thorough cleaning. Lakehead Public Schools Administration are in constant contact with public health authorities and the Ministry of Education during this process. All decisions will continue to be made in the best interests of the safety and well being of students and staff.

Please look after yourself and each other during these challenging times.

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Monday March 23, 2020

The Following is a letter from the Minister of Education (EnglishFrench)

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Friday March 13, 2020

As per the order issued by the Minister of Education issued on Thursday, March 12, all schools will remain closed from March 14 through to April 5, 2020.

With the closure of the schools, the following will also be in effect from March 14 through to April 5, 2020:

    • All childcare centres and EarlyON centres located in schools will be closed.
      All questions or concerns related to school based childcare centres should be directed to the service providers;
    • All before and after school programs are cancelled;
    • All on and offsite athletic practices and school activities are cancelled;
    • All community use permits will be cancelled;
    • All co-op and work placements will be suspended;
    • All dual credit college classes will be cancelled; and
    • All breakfast programs cancelled.

The Jim McCuaig Education Centre will be closed to the public. All enquires should be directed to:

    • 625-5100. Messages will be checked on a regular basis;
    • communications@lakeheadschools.ca

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Thursday March 12, 2020

As stated in the letter home last week, we are continuing to monitor the COVID-19 situation in Canada and the world. There continues to be no confirmed cases in Thunder Bay.

With March Break to begin at the end of this week, The Thunder Bay District Health Unit (TBDHU) has provided the following recommendations related to travel:

    • Do not travel internationally, including the USA, during March Break if you do not have to (current as of March 12, 2020).
    • All international travellers are required to self-monitor their health for 14 days after arriving back in Canada; this includes the USA. Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing for 14 days. If you develop these symptoms or believe that you have had contact with someone with a confirmed case, isolate yourself from others as quickly as possible and call the TBDHU at (807) 625-5900 or 1 (888) 294-6630 OR call Telehealth at 1-866-797-0000 to access further information. For more information on monitoring and self-isolating visit our website https://www.tbdhu.com/coronavirus#
    • Check your destination (including the US) at https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/health-safety/travel-health-notices for the latest advisories related to COVID-19 and be prepared for rapidly changing recommendations or requirements related to your destination.
    • The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) is advising all travellers returning to Canada from travel abroad (including the US) to monitor their health.
    • All travellers who have returned from Hubei province (China), Iran or Italy are required to isolate themselves from others on their arrival and contact the TBDHU at (807) 625-5900 or 1 (888) 294-6630 within 24 hours of their arrival in Canada.
    • Regarding cruise ship vacations, because the virus can spread quickly due to the close contact between passengers, the PHAC is recommending Canadians avoid travelling on cruise ships. Visit canada.ca/coronavirus for more information.
    • While travelling, there are everyday actions that can reduce exposure to germs to protect your health:
      • clean your hands using soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer (minimum 60%);
      • avoid touching your face;
      • avoid shaking hands and use alternative greetings instead, including head nods or waves;
      • cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or sleeve; get rid of used tissues immediately in the garbage and clean your hands;
      • keep a distance of two metres from those showing symptoms (e.g. cough);
      • if you are feeling ill while travelling, stay away from others/crowds and do not use public transportation – seek medical attention; and
      • masks are only recommended for those with symptoms (e.g. cough, fever).

As the COVID-19 situation is evolving quickly, the TBDHU will continue to monitor closely and provide updates for the Thunder Bay District as they become available. Please visit tbdhu.com/coronavirus and follow our social media channels (Facebook and Twitter) for the most up to date information.

If you believe that you have had contact with someone with a confirmed case, please call the TBDHU at (807) 625-5900 or 1 (888) 294-6630 OR call Telehealth at 1-866-797-0000 to access further information.

Additionally, it is recommended that people do not travel to or through areas with heightened levels of concern. If you are planning to travel during the March Break, please review the following travel guidelines and follow the recommendations for the listed locations: https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/health-safety/travel-health-notices

Recommended websites for more information:
Government of Canada – https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/coronavirus.html
Ontario Ministry of Health – https://www.ontario.ca/page/2019-novel-coronavirus
World Health Organization – https://www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus

The safety of our students and staff is our foremost priority. We will continue to communicate to our school communities as new information becomes available.

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Friday, March 6, 2020

As you are aware, there have been numerous cases of novel coronavirus reported throughout the world and in Ontario. Public Health agencies in Canada and around the world are investigating and monitoring this illness. The Public Health Agency of Canada has assessed the public health risk associated with the novel coronavirus as low for Canada. Currently, there have been no reported cases in our community.
The health and well-being of Lakehead Public Schools students and staff remains our top priority. As such, we will be working in close cooperation with the Ministry of Education and public health partners including the Thunder Bay District Health Unit.
The Thunder Bay District Health Unit is urging the public to protect themselves and others against illness-causing germs that spread through the respiratory route (coughing, sneezing) by:

    • Washing your hands often with soap and water, or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer;
    • Covering your cough and sneeze with a tissue or into your arm, not your hand;
    • Staying home if you are sick, if possible;
    • Avoiding visiting people in hospitals or long-term care homes if you are sick; and
    • Getting your flu shot if you haven’t already done so as the flu virus is still circulating in the community. The flu shot is available from health care providers as well as pharmacies. For those under the age of five without a health care provider, please call the Health Unit at 625-5900 and ask to speak with a vaccine nurse.

We will ensure that our schools and custodial staff have the resources and appropriate training to ensure that our schools continue to be safe and clean for students and staff. An emphasis will be placed on cleaning “high-touch” surfaces (e.g. pencil sharpeners, water fountain knobs and push buttons, doorknobs, faucet handles, toys and electronic devices). Additionally, a concerted effort will be made to reinforce the importance of regular hand-washing and cough/sneeze etiquette.

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Mental Health Information and Resources

COVID 19 has presented unprecedented issues and concerns for our community, our country and the world. Much of the attention has been focused on how to keep ourselves physically healthy and how to “flatten the curve.” As we all have an obligation to keep ourselves healthy and to contain the spread of COVID 19, we must also keep ourselves mentally well.

Where to Get Help

If this is a mental health emergency and safety is the immediate concern and help is needed now – Call 911 or go to your hospital emergency department.

 

School Mental Health Services

If you are a secondary student and you were receiving mental health services at your school in this current school year (2019/20) and would like to continue with your high school social worker (Debra, Carmen, Jaymee or Alicia) please email the Mental Health Lead at megan_tiernan@lakeheadschools.ca.

Please include the name of your counsellor and the number that you can be contacted at and your social worker will be in touch with you.

Children’s Centre Thunder Bay

For students not currently connected to a school social worker please call 343-5000 to receive community services.

CMHA Crisis Response

If you need to talk to someone right away please call 346-8282
or

Kids Help Phone

Kids Help Phone is Canada’s only 24/7, national support service. They offer professional counselling, information and referrals and volunteer-led, text-based support to young people in both English and French.

By phone- You can reach a Kids Help Phone counsellor 24/7 at 1-800-668-6868.

By Text – Need help now? Text CONNECT to 686868

Live Chat – Kids Help Phone’s Live Chat hours are temporarily reduced so we can provide more timely access to support through our other services. Live Chat is currently open daily from midnight to 7:00 a.m. ET.

Visit https://kidshelpphone.ca/live-chat/

Mental Health Resources during COVID 19 Pandemic

School Mental Ontario

Students may experience a range of emotions during the COVID-19 situation. As well, changes in routine, including time away from school, may create challenges for some students. We also understand that young people with pre-existing mental health problems may find their symptoms increasing in light of the current uncertainties.

https://smho-smso.ca/blog/how-to-support-student-mental-health-during-the-covid-19-pandemic/

The Child Mind Institute

The Child Mind Institute is an independent, national nonprofit dedicated to transforming the lives of children and families struggling with mental health and learning disorders.

https://childmind.org/about-us/

Additional Information and Resources

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Recommended websites for more information

Lakehead Public Schools Online Learning Resources

Thunder Bay District Health Unit

Government of Canada

Ontario Ministry of Health

World Health Organization

 

We will continue to monitor this situation and work with the Ministry of Education and provincial and local public health partners. The safety of our students and staff is our foremost priority. We will continue to communicate to our school communities as new information becomes available.

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