SENT VIA EMAIL

Dr. Hamidah Meghani
Medical Officer of Health
Halton Region

Dear Dr. Meghani,

On behalf of the Halton Catholic District School Board, we would like to thank you for the ongoing guidance and support that you and Halton Public Health provide to the students, families and staff in our district. 
We are particularly grateful for the advice and expertise you have shared throughout this pandemic. Our collaboration has been instrumental in keeping our schools healthy and safe. 

I am writing to you today to share the following motion that was adopted at the Regular Board Meeting held on November 3, 2021:

Whereas Student Mental Health is paramount; 

Whereas our current vaccine rates in Halton for youth aged 12-17 years is 90%; 

Whereas there are no current single cohort in our secondary panels; 

Whereas secondary students are disadvantaged by the current guidelines that limit their ability to engage with their peers; 

BE IT RESOLVED that the HCDSB send a letter to Dr. Meghani appealing the consideration of Halton Region Public Health to relax some of the protocols in our secondary schools, specifically with respect to cafeteria guidelines to allow more flexibility for students. 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Halton Public Health also give consideration to relax their requirement for the elementary panel to remain in cohorts outside during recess.                                                                                 

CARRIED. 

You will note from the wording in the motion that HCDSB Trustees are requesting your consideration in modifying the requirements outlined in two sections of the Halton Public Health Recommendations for Schools 2021-2022: secondary school cafeteria protocols, and elementary school recess protocols

This request is being made in light of feedback Trustees have received from our community. As articulated in the rationale of the motion, we are deeply concerned about student mental health and the ongoing negative impacts of the pandemic on children and youth. 

We recognize that subsequent to the adoption of this motion, Halton Public Health revised their Recommendations for Schools.  While the most recent version of the Recommendations, under Eating and Drinking – sections 8.2 and 8.4, has removed the requirement for capacity limits in cafeterias, the requirement for two metres of distance between cohorts remains. 

Given that Halton Region has a very high vaccination rate, we are hoping that you will consider revisiting some of the current restrictions that limit the ability of students to interact with their peers. 

On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I thank you in advance for your consideration. 

Sincerely,

Patrick Murphy
Chair of the Board