WHEN A COHORT IS SENT HOME WHAT HAPPENS WITH THEIR LEARNING?
The children from the class will move to remote learning the following day (unless the news comes in the evening).
WHAT ABOUT THEIR SIBLINGS?
Since the siblings’ teachers are still teaching in-person, they are not able to teach the siblings remotely. The siblings will have to follow Google Classroom to complete work. However, our superintendent is supporting schools to hire an occasional teacher based on the number of siblings sent home in order to support students in completing assignments posted to Google Classroom. This takes a few days to arrange. In the case of this week, it took even longer given that the number of siblings affected dropped significantly. I have contacted the families with siblings directly by email.
HOW COME WE WENT FROM THREE TO ONE CASE THIS WEEK?
Please know that the case count changed as a result of:
- one student receiving a positive result – the lab later communicated an error and the case was in fact negative; after the second negative result the cohort was brought back
- one student receiving an indeterminate result – after a second test, a negative result was received and the cohort was brought back
- the amazing commitment of families to get further testing as soon as possible (understanding the impact on others) and consistently checking results and communicating with me at all hours
There should be no concern about the validity of the COVID test results or the confidence Toronto Public Health (TPH) and I had in having classes return as soon as possible.
OUR NEW SICKKIDS PARTNERSHIP
All schools have been assigned, via Ontario Health, a testing partner. Allenby’s testing partner is SickKids Hospital. I want to thank their team for their work on decreasing barriers to COVID-19 testing for children. The highlight of this is Take Home Saliva Tests.
SickKids has supplied Allenby Public School with saliva test kits. These kits allow Allenby families to take a saliva test at home and drop it off to SickKids Hospital.
The kit consists of:
- a community letter
- a vial to collect a saliva sample
- very specific information on how to collect the sample including diagrams
- a requisition form for parents to complete that accompanies the vial
- drop off information at SickKids Hospital and information on how to access results
All of the documents within the kit are also available here.
WHO CAN TAKE A SALIVA TEST?
Everyone! SickKids will accept samples from everyone in the household – all staff, students, their family members, etc. No one needs to make an appointment! You just drop off the sample with a completed requisition form.
WHEN SHOULD A CHILD, WHO IS ASYMPTOMATIC BUT WAS SENT HOME WITH THEIR COHORT, BE TESTED?
PLEASE NOTE: This is brand new information.
If your child is sent home to self-isolate, it is best to get them tested as soon as possible. This is because the positive case could be a variant of concern (VOC) and testing ASAP is important in that case. The results of the test for the VOC come days after the positive result and, thus, we do not know whether it is VOC or not with the positive case in your child’s cohort.
You will then receive a letter from TPH that will outline a window of time for a second test. Regardless of whether your child was tested previously or not, you should get this second test done as well. Within this testing window of time, the school, TPH and Sick Kids will arrange a cohort testing program and communicate it to the families. In some cases (e.g., a number of positive results, a VOC result), there will be whole school testing as well as cohort testing. With these saliva kits, there is no need to book appointments for COVID testing, visit other sites, etc.
WHERE AND WHEN CAN I COLLECT A KIT?
When an Allenby student (and any of his/her siblings) is sent home because they are symptomatic, we will send home a kit for each child.
If a class is sent home, we will send them home with a kit (please note that this week we did so with the first class dismissed; however, one class was notified after-hours and we didn’t have kits for the close to 150 students that went home in 24 hours, but we are working to stay stocked).
Starting today, we will have a bin of kits clearly labelled outside of the main doors (by the flag pole) for pick-up between school hours, 9 am – 3:30 pm.
WHO CAN COLLECT A KIT?
This bin is not for parents to collect in order to have just-in-case. Remember, we are a large school and want to ensure those families that require testing have access to the kits. So who should collect a kit? Here are some examples:
- If you are picking up an ill child and siblings but would like a kit for yourself or other family members (e.g., other parent, sibling at other school), you can collect one.
- If you have a child who is self-isolating but you require testing for other family members. Note: If your child has to self-isolate, they cannot accompany you to school to collect the kit.
- You have a child who is self-isolating and received the TPH letter that outlines a second test to be taken within a window of time (these kits are available to you; however, you will also receive specific information about when to collect and return. In partnership with TPH and Sick Kids, the school will undertake cohort testing, so please wait for specifics about this before collecting a kit).
- Your child develops a symptom overnight. You can collect a kit to have your child tested the next morning without having to book an appointment.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR THE POSITIVE CASE AT ALLENBY?
The positive case did come back as being a VOC (the specific variant hasn’t been determined yet). As a result, in addition to cohort testing, there will also be school-wide testing. I am presently in communication with TPH and SickKids to facilitate this. Once the details for both the cohort and school-wide testing are confirmed, I will send this information to families via SchoolMessenger.
WHEN ARE HEPA FILTERS FOR CLASSES EXPECTED?
I just received an email last night that the HEPA filters for each of our classrooms are expected to be delivered today. They will support air circulation with the opening of windows and increased ventilation/ circulation cycles at Allenby.
WHAT ELSE CAN FAMILIES DO?
We are doing everything at school to keep your children safe and in school, but even one case can have a huge ripple effect. While we are all experiencing COVID fatigue and want this to come to an end, we can’t let our guard down. We are all in this together so please follow the TPH guidelines with the same vigour at home as we do at school.
- Follow TPH guidelines
- Respectfully remind others (neighbours, community members) to follow guidelines
- Complete the NOW app every day – no excuses
- Participate in the school-wide testing. More details to come but we are making it as easy as possible for families in order to have an effective response rate.