LKDSB preparing for COVID curveballs, ramped up screening process

School coronavirus protection concept. rapid test, hand sanitizer and student backpack on wooden desk. © Can Stock Photo / rawf8

An updated school screening process will be in place when students and staff return to the classroom.

Lambton Kent District School Board Director of Education John Howitt joined Sue Storr on CHOK (103.9FM/1070AM) Friday morning.

He said the daily screener for school and childcare settings, put out and managed by Ontario’s Ministry of Health, was just updated Thursday evening.

“It’s stricter than it was,” said Howitt.  “Be honest and truthful [when answering the questions], assume there is COVID everywhere you’re going.  So, if your child has sniffles, don’t assume it’s the cold weather, assume it to be COVID, and fill out the screener accordingly, which will likely lead to not going to school.”

Howitt said his understanding of the updated screener is that a greater number of symptoms have returned and if you have one symptom you’ll be required to isolate.

He said every student will have to go through the updated screener before attending school

“And all staff do as well — I did it this morning, because I’m in my office this morning.  So, any staff or students reporting to a board location need to that daily and confirm that it’s been done daily.”

Howitt said rapid tests are now a part of the screener as well.  He said the testing kits will be an added tool in the toolbox this year.

“Rapid antigen tests, if they’re able to be procured, will be issued out again to students and staff.  We are hearing that those orders will be coming by [January] 17, is the hope.”

January 17 is also the date when students are scheduled to return to in-person schooling.  Howitt said the school board is planning for both in-person and virtual schooling.

“What we are hoping is that families and our staff and the community has greater notice than took place this time of one announcement on Thursday and a different direction on Monday to be implemented as of Wednesday.  That was pretty tight for us as well and especially for our families.”

Howitt said if there is going to be any difference from a week Monday, the school board wants to know as early as possible next week.