St Benedict’s back to in-person learning

February 18, 2021   ·   0 Comments

By Sam Odrowski

After a few days of in-person learning, St. Benedict Catholic Elementary School in Orangeville is back to teaching all classes remotely.

The switch happened after Wellington­–Dufferin­–Guelph Public Health (WDGPH) expanded their dismissal protocol at schools to include individuals who have had limited contact with classes, such as French teachers, planning time teachers, and other types of staff. 

As a result, seven teachers at St. Benedict’s have been asked to self-isolate as a precautionary measure, potentially until Feb. 24. With the absence of staff and challenges in securing substitute teachers for the short term, there’s considerable pressure on the school’s ability to provide safe supervision and maintain operations for in-person learning, according to a letter to parents dated Feb. 14 from the school’s principal, Joe Lise.

Considering the pressures and lack of available teachers, the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board made the decision to switch to remote only learning across all classes at St. Benedict’s since Feb. 16 and tomorrow (Feb. 19), the board will re-evaluate if the school can reopen for in-person learning for Feb. 22, excluding two classes that have been directed to self-isolate.

With this in mind, parents of students at St. Benedict’s will know whether their child is returning to class by the end of the week.

If needed, the remote learning will continue until Feb. 24.

In addition to the seven teachers who haven’t had positive COVID-19 tests but are self-isolating out of caution, there were two student cases at St. Benedict’s as of press time.

In regards to the wider dismissal protocols at schools, Public Health notes that they’re intended to provide an extra layer of precaution to further reduce the opportunity for COVID-19 transmission at schools. This comes as WDGPH reports five different individuals who had the U.K COVID-19 variant following their travels outside of Canada. Fortunately, none of those with the variant spread it to others in the region.

Students who require a learning device or printed materials to learn from home are asked to contact their teacher through the Google Learning Management System.

“Thank you for your patience and understanding as we all work together through the challenges of operating within this pandemic environment,” said Lise, in the letter to parents.

Across the Province there were 112 schools with a reported case of COVID-19 out of 4,828, accounting for a 2.32 per cent total, as of press time. There were also three schools closed, accounting for 0.06 per cent of all schools in Ontario.


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