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Dear Lakehead Public Schools families,
Lakehead Public Schools has received direction from the Thunder Bay District Health Unit (TBDHU) to further extend the period of virtual learning for all students district-wide for an additional two weeks (to April 12th) to continue to reduce the risk of spread of the COVID-19 virus to students, families, and staff. The TBDHU has advised that since the onset of the virtual learning period, a large number of COVID-19 positive cases have been reported among school-aged children. Keeping students home during these difficult times can be challenging, but please know it is helping to keep your children and family safe.
We will continue to communicate any decisions or changes to families as they are made.
You are welcome to view the following Letter of Instruction from the TBDHU. Thank you for your patience and cooperation during these difficult times.
March 24, 2021
To: Directors of Education for the following Schools Boards operating within the City of Thunder Bay and Surrounding Areas:
Lakehead Public Schools
Thunder Bay Catholic District School Board
CSDC des Aurores Boréales (ÉSC de La Vérendrye & École Catholique Franco-Supérieur)
Lac des Mille Lacs Education Centre
RE: Instructions from the Medical Officer of Health on Suspension of In-person Learning
I am writing to provide follow-up to the instructions I issued to you on February 26, 2021, regarding the suspension of in-person learning in the City of Thunder Bay and in surrounding communities for a two-week period which began on March 1, 2021, which was then extended for an additional two weeks through updated instructions to you on March 10, 2021.
Unfortunately, we continue to see elevated numbers of school-aged children with COVID-19 as well as elevated numbers of COVID-19 cases in the community. As we have experienced, what happens in the community with COVID-19 impacts schools, posing both a public health risk and operational challenges for you when there are cases. There is also increasing concern provincially with rising numbers and increased numbers of COVID-19 variants of concern (VOC’s) in particular.
As such, under Ontario Regulation 82/20 Section 2(2) (or as current), and Ontario Regulation 263/20 Section 2(2) (or as current) of the Reopening Ontario Act, 2020, S.O. 2020, c.17, as Medical Officer of Health, I am extending the following instructions for a further two week period:
- Suspend the provision of all in-person student learning and before and after school programs for all schools that you operate in the City of Thunder Bay and in communities around Thunder Bay including Oliver Paipoonge, Neebing, Gillies, Shuniah, Comnee, O’Connor, and any school in the nearby unorganized territories
- This current suspension extends until April 12, 2021. The need for further extension will be considered closer to that time.
These instructions should not be interpreted to mean that the schools themselves should be closed. Educators and staff can attend school for the purposes of conducting virtual teaching and other activities as needed to support this and for managing school facilities, etc. In addition, in-person instruction to students with special education needs who cannot be accommodated through remote learning and who wish to attend in-person instruction may continue. These instructions also do not apply for child care (birth to 4 years of age).
TBDHU is committed to supporting students, families and the school community through these challenging times. We look forward to continuing to work with our school partners. Thank you for your ongoing work during the pandemic response.
Dr. Janet DeMille, CCFP, FRCPC
Medical Officer of Health
Thunder Bay District Health Unit