ADSB COVID-19 Advisory: Blind River Public School closed until Feb. 12th

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Classroom COVID

February 4, 2021 – The Algoma District School Board is advising students and families that as of Thursday February 4, 2021, Blind River Public School will remain closed until February 12, 2021.

The following is a letter from the ADSB to parents and students:

‘Thank you for your partnership, understanding and cooperation during the past several days, as we worked to support Algoma Public Health’s investigation. Unfortunately, what was a “possible exposure” on Wednesday, February 3rd became a confirmed case on February 4th.

Please note the following information about the continuity of learning for Blind River P.S. students:

Thursday, February 4th – Please be reassured that the closure of the school today was not due to high exposure of the school community, but rather due to staffing, supervision and safety. We are experiencing a shortage of supply teachers and other replacement staff across our district, but the shortage is most challenging in smaller communities. We are continuing our efforts to recruit and to find solutions to these shortages.

Friday, February 5th – Friday was a previously planned Professional Development day and remains as such, thus there is no school for students on this day.

Monday, February 8th – beginning Monday, classes will be conducted virtually for all students until at least Friday, February 12th. We will communicate with families again prior to Feb. 12th to advise whether students will be returning or whether we will be extending the virtual learning for some or all students. If you require a device for your child, please contact the school and staff will arrange for pick-up starting as early as Friday, February 5th. We ask that you diligently respect the health and safety measures communicated to you for pick-up. Also, as we have a limited number of devices, please only request a device if it is necessary.
As you can appreciate, the situation in the community continues to evolve. We will continue to provide any necessary updates or information via email and our voice messaging system. Your ongoing cooperation and understanding are greatly appreciated. As this is a difficult time for both the school community and the community at large, please remember to be kind and compassionate to all, as we are all impacted, in some way, when the COVID-19 virus is circulating in our communities.’

Stay safe. Stay well.
Algoma District School Board

In a notice to ADSB, Algoma Public Health Unit wrote, on February 3rd, 2021

Subject: Individual has tested positive for COVID-19 identified at Blind River Public School

Dear Parents and Guardians, Algoma Public Health is advising you that as part of the COVID-19 exposure investigation initiated on February 2nd, 2021, an individual associated with Blind River Public School has tested positive for COVID-19. We recognize that receiving this information may be stressful.The actions taken on February 2nd, were proactive as part of the COVID-19 exposure investigation. At this time, other precautions are also being implemented including dismissal of additional classes that maybe affected by this exposure. APH will be reaching out to all affected families.

APH conducts careful investigations to identify close contacts. Examples of close contacts include household members, people who have been in direct physical contact, and people who have spent more than 15 minutes together within 2 metres or 6 feet of each other, such as while sharing a meal or being in the same carpool. Brief interactions, like walking past someone in a hallway or on the sidewalk, are not generally considered close contact situations.

APH directly calls all people who are identified as close contacts, to notify them and to give further guidance on next steps, such as getting COVID-19 testing and self-isolating at home. Please be reassured that if you do not receive a call directly from APH, your child is not considered a close contact of the person who tested positive for COVID-19, in which case we do not recommend having your child tested unless they are showing symptoms of COVID-19.We are working with the school to review and confirm important practices to reduce the potential spread of COVID-19, including:

  • Screening children and staff
  • Staying home when sick
  • Cohorting (grouping and separation of) students and staff
  • Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces
  • Using personal protective equipment when appropriate (e.g., masking,eye protection)
  • Ensuring proper hand hygiene
  • Posting signage of appropriate public health measures (e.g., hand hygiene, coughing and sneezing etiquette)
  • Maintaining physical distancing
  • Case investigation and contact tracing when there is an individual who has tested positive including identifying students and staff that may have been in greater contact with individuals who have tested positive
  • Requiring that a person who has tested positive, and identified close contacts, not attend school for a prescribed period of time

The following are critical actions for everyone:

  • Anyone who is ill, even with mild symptoms, must stay home and isolate away from others
  • Do not have close contact with others outside the immediate household of people you live with. Outside of home, practice physical distancing at all times by staying 2 metres away from other people
  • Effective Thursday, January 14, 2021 at 12:01 a.m., the government is issuing a stay-at-home order requiring everyone to remain at home with exceptions for essential purposes such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services, for exercise or for essential work. In addition to limiting outings to essential trips, all businesses must ensure that any employee who can work from home,does work from home.
  • Indoor organized public events and social gatherings are not permitted except with members of the same household. Limit close contact to your household (the people you live with)
  • Families should not visit any other household or allow visitors in their homes
  • Individuals who live alone and single parents may consider having exclusive, close contact with another household to help reduce the negative impacts of social isolation
  • All returning international travellers must stay home for 14 days.
  • APH’s Chippewa County travel advisory on January 27, 2021 strongly advises those who cross the Canada-US border regularly to also stay home as much as possible for 14 days, even if you are exempt from quarantine

Feb 3, 2021 (ADSB) Closure of Blind River Public School Closure for Safety/Supervision of Students

The Algoma District School Board is advising all families of Blind River P.S. that, due to the ongoing COVID investigation with Algoma Public Health and 2 additional classes at the school being dismissed, the school will be closed tomorrow, Thursday, February 4th to all students and staff.

Please note that the closure is necessary as without all staff on site, we cannot guarantee the safety and supervision of students. Please review the letter below from Algoma Public Health,  advising of a positive case in the Blind River School community.  We will be providing an update tomorrow (Thursday, February 4th) with respect to the continuation of learning in the weeks ahead.