A Healthy Return

Departments

September 1, 2021
Dear parent/guardian/member of our school community:

Algoma Public Health and area school boards continue to work together on health and safety measures for students this September. Everyone is reminded that it’s not too late to roll up a sleeve and get vaccinated! In fact, to help support a safer return to school, the province has extended the eligibility for the Pfizer vaccine to children born in 2009, which means that all children turning 12 years old before the end of 2021 are now able to receive their first dose of
COVID-19.

According to the Ministry of Health, the Chief Medical Officer of Health of Ontario and Algoma Public Health (APH), the COVID-19 vaccine is safe, effective and will protect students, families, and the school community. As back-to-school approaches, now is the time to get the COVID-19 vaccine or complete your vaccine series.

APH is recommending that all eligible household members of school-aged children get immunized; this can help lower the risk of household transmission and infection for young children who are not yet eligible to receive the vaccine.  Vaccination status will be an important consideration for Public Health in the management of cases and outbreaks of COVID-19 in schools.  The recently released COVID-19 Guidance: School Outbreak Management outlines differences in case and contact management, including dismissals, isolation, and testing, depending on whether an individual has been fully vaccinated.  Vaccination will help students stay in school,  articipate in extracurricular activities, and experience fewer disruptions at school, at home and with their families.

While vaccination rates have reduced the number of  new cases being reported locally, the virus still poses a threat and there are expectations of a fourth wave of COVID-19 in the fall.  The Delta variant is the dominant virus strain circulating in Ontario, including Algoma.  It is more transmissible and causes more serious disease. One dose of the vaccine is also less effective against this variant, requiring two doses for the most protective immune response. 

Those who can be and are fully vaccinated protect those who cannot—such as younger students in schools who are not yet eligible for vaccine.  This means good practice of other public health measures is critical not only in the classroom, but also outside of school.  Every morning before leaving the house,  pause and check your child for any symptoms or signs of illness. If your child has any of these symptoms, they must stay home and not attend school.

Important ways to protect yourself and others at school:

• Be fully vaccinated by receiving 2 doses of COVID-19 vaccine if you are eligible

• Always practice physical distancing

• Wear a mask or face covering in all indoor public settings

• Wear a mask or face covering outdoors if physical distancing cannot be maintained

• Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer

Together, we can make back-to-school a great and  long-lasting success. Don’t delay, get vaccinated today! Let’s all do our part to make this school year a success.

Thank you,

Dr. Jennifer Loo
Acting Medical Officer of Health and Chief ExecutiveOfficer, Algoma Public Health

Rose Burton Sophn
Director of Education, Huron Superior Catholic District School Board

Lucia Reece
Director of Education, Algoma District School Board

Marc Gauthier
Director of Education, Conseil scolaire public du Grand Nord de l’Ontario

Paul Henry
Director of Education, Conseil scolaire catholique Nouvelon