Dear International Partners and Guardians:
I am writing to update you on a number of items and measures either already in place or currently being developed by the Ontario Government in their aggressive fight to contain the spread of COVID-19 in Ontario and Canada. This is particularly important to those of you who have students attending our Niagara Catholic school at the moment.
As you are already aware, the Ontario Government ordered the closure of all schools in the province until at least April 5, 2020 in order to reduce the spread of the virus. At this point, it is unclear whether or not schools will re-open on April 6, 2020, as some of the other provinces have already announced a longer shutdown until further notice. Currently, all boards in Ontario, including Niagara Catholic, continue to seek direction from the Ministry of Education and the Ministries of Health (provincial and federal), upon which the Director of Education will release information to all of our families, students and other stakeholders.
It is clear, however, that some of you, and perhaps some of the parents whom you represent, have been in communication with other school districts in other provinces, and therefore are inquiring about whether or not you should send your international students back home to be with their own families during this crisis. We appreciate how challenging it is to make such decisions during this uncertain time. Please be assured that our first priority is the safety and well-being of all of our Niagara Catholic students, including our international students currently with us. We also know that many students and parents, particularly students in Grade 12, are concerned about the possible loss of the school year. To speak to that, when schools were ordered closed on March 12, Ontario's Minister of Education confirmed that “no graduating student will have their ability to graduate impacted by the two-week closure and the COVID-19 developments.” We at Niagara Catholic share this commitment, and will prioritize this in our planning for continuity of learning during this unprecedented interruption to the school year. You can also preview the online platform launched by the Ministry of Education by visiting our Niagara Catholic DSB website at www.niagaracatholic.ca or by going directly to the link https://niagaracatholic.ca/covid-19-learn-at-home-resources/ and clicking on the various tabs halfway down the page. With this, as guardians or parents, we would encourage you to make the decisions with respect to your student and about travel home that best meet your needs. In the meantime, we remain committed to finding ways to support ongoing student learning, and will provide more information when it is made available to us.
Please be encouraged that we will get through this together by following the direction of medical professionals, taking the best care of students, ourselves and our families and by reaching out and supporting each other.
Stay safe and God bless!