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COVID-19 UPDATE: Message from Chair of the Board, Rick Petrella

My dear friends,

As you are aware, yesterday we announced our first positive case of COVID-19 in one of our Brantford schools. I understand that this may raise some concerns and possibly many questions. I want to take this opportunity to assure you that we are taking all possible steps, under the direction of Public Health Ontario and our local public health units, to minimize student and staff exposure and risk level.

I wanted to reaffirm our Board’s commitment to transparent communication and share that we are doing everything we possibly can to mitigate the risks in our schools as we navigate through this pandemic.

As we are set to complete our third week of in-person classes and all our staff have pulled together to ensure that our schools are as safe as possible. We have placed many additional resources including staff in schools to improve safety and enhance the educational experience.

  • We have hired close to 50 teachers and related staff to assist in reducing class sizes and strengthen our online learning platforms where appropriate.
  • We have hired 14 custodians to support enhanced cleaning protocols.
  • We continue to offer additional teaching positions available with our Board.
  • We initiated enhanced cleaning measures with the support of Facilities Services.
  • Our heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems are some of the most modern in the Province and meet or exceed the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRE) standards for ventilation and filtration.
  • We have increased the frequency and filtration ratings of the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) to our HVAC filter renewal program.
  • We have placed many standalone high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) units where appropriate in classrooms, to enhance ventilation and airflow.
  • We have provided masks and personal protective equipment (PPE) for all children in our schools and we have seen a huge uptake in voluntary face-covering/mask wearing by our JK-3 students.
  • We are working very closely with our local and provincial Medical Officers of Health and following their guidance and direction.

I want to reassure everyone that the Board is committed to doing everything possible to ensure that we are providing the safest environment for our children, families, educators, and staff.

We recognize that this pandemic has presented challenges new to us and new to our families, and we anticipate that as more information about COVID-19 is released, this may continue. Our Board is committed to doing whatever we can, under the guidance of Public Health and in consultation with our partners, to meet these challenges together and find solutions to help ensure our schools are a safe as possible.

Despite uncertainty and the many changes to our daily routines and learning environments, together as a Catholic community we have all lived our Faith and demonstrated our resiliency. We stand by our commitment to all to communicate with transparency, even when the news we must share is not as positive as we would have hoped. We stand committed to listening to you and please know that we appreciate receiving your feedback, including concerns.

I thank you once again for your patience and understanding as, remaining connected by our Catholic faith, we navigate this pandemic together.

God Bless,

Rick Petrella, Chair of the Board