Please find a number of EDU updates below for your information.
We are also re-sharing the PPE Order Form and re-confirming that PPE access will continue to be provided. Please send all PPE Order Forms to:
As always, please contact IEO@Ontario.ca with any questions.
Indigenous Education Office
Ministry of Education
EDU – Ontario Updates
December 16, 2021 – January 18, 2022
Updated School and Child Care Screener
The updated school and child care screener was sent out to all school boards last week and was shared with task Teams (December 16, 2021). This is a resource that can be used to promote screening and implement confirmation of onsite screening on a daily basis for students and staff.
- PPE including N95s for adults will be provided to FN schools. The current average shipping time for PPE orders is between 5-10 business days, however given the present volume of requests, this timeline may be extended.
- For students, they will have the option of continuing to access quality, three ply masks if they do not have a high-quality mask of their own. These are also available through the PPE ordering system. The form has been attached to this email.
- Please encourage families to take advantage of 3 ply cloth masks, and a reminder that masking is strongly encouraged for JK/SK students.
- These enhanced measures build on the existing guidance already in place.
To support sector capacity, the ministry has introduced measures to allow retired teachers to provide coverage for extended timelines and the issuing of temporary certificates to teacher candidates to bolster our educator workforce.
The ministry has also received approval to expand the use of temporary certificates to eligible first-year teacher candidates and further clarifications will be made to result in additional first- and second-year teacher candidates becoming eligible.
Initial guidance was also provided to school boards with respect to minimizing school closures through rotating remote days as needed and other strategies will also continue to be in place.
Continued and enhanced access to testing
Building on existing efforts to date, including the provision of rapid antigen screening tests to students prior to the holiday break, the Ministry will be providing two rapid antigen tests per person for symptomatic use per the revised symptom screener.
Starting this week, school boards will begin receiving shipments of rapid antigen tests. First Nations Schools are encouraged to work with their Health partners and also request if needed through the portal.
As of January 17, school boards should have a sufficient supply of rapid tests to make two tests available for all in-person elementary students, and all school board staff who come into contact with students.
School boards will also receive a substantial supply of rapid antigen tests for distribution to secondary students, with additional rapid tests being delivered during the week of January 17.
These deliveries should allow for full distribution of two tests per individual for all students and staff, with a commitment to ongoing provision of rapid antigen tests, pending supply. Boards are required to make individual kits of 2 tests per person for distribution.
School boards are also being asked to support distribution to their co-located childcare centres. Rapid antigen tests will be made available for all child care children and staff, with an initial supply of two tests per individual. As more supply becomes available, we will provide further guidance on rapid antigen screening testing going forward.
Reporting and monitoring of school impacts
The ministry will be putting in place new protocols to ensure that we can monitor and report on the impact of COVID-19 in our schools including student and staff absences.
We will provide clarity on the role of schools/principals to continue to report COVID-19 activity by focusing on school absenteeism rates and the expectations of schools to share this information with PHUs.
PHUs will work with schools to communicate with families/staff/students in these circumstances. We will also collect absenteeism information through the absence reporting tool and will post school closure data. More information will be shared on reporting expectations.
ADM Memo (January 14,2022)
Further to the memo sent on January 5, 2022, we would like to share some updated information regarding the process for First Nation education partners requesting Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and COVID-19 testing options. We are working in collaboration with the Ministry of Consumer and Government Services, the Ministry of Health, and Indigenous Affairs Ontario to provide you with guidance on how to access PPE. Further to this we have confirmed that First Nation Schools and partners can now request non fit-tested N95 masks for school staff through the ongoing PPE process.
HEPA Units and Filters
We are aware that there are a number of requests around the availability of HEPA units and filters for First Nations schools. We are carefully tracking these inquiries and are working closely with our ministry partner to have this information to you as soon as possible in the coming days.
Rapid Antigen Tests
Requests for priority access to Rapid Tests can be submitted by following these three steps:
- Confirm your eligibility using the Provincial Antigen Screening Program: https://covid-19.ontario.ca/provincial-antigen-screening-program.
- Provide your organization/community’s contact information and submit an application.
- Place an order for Rapid Antigen Tests using the E-Health Online Ordering Portal by identifying the number of individual tests you are requesting and ensure that item selected is “Rapid Tests” and not “Swab Kit” at: https://ehealthontario.on.ca/en/health-care-professionals/ppe-intake?a=ppe-intake.
- When placing your order, please identify order as a First Nation school or federally-operated school. After you submit your order through the portal, please notify Indigenous Affairs Ontario at IndigenousTestKits@Ontario.ca of your request. IAO will work with the Ministry of Health (MOH) to expedite and fulfill your request.
With the increase in Omicron cases, Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests are not recommended for children in schools and child care and will not be provided by the province at this time. If you already received PCR tests, as an interim approach, they can continue to be distributed while rapid antigen tests are deployed. As this is an interim testing option, additional allocations of PCR self-collection kits cannot be provided.
Please note that those who identify as First Nations, are still able to access PCR tests including education staff, these should be accessed through the local First Nation Health Authority.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) including N95 Masks
Regular PPE (surgical masks, sanitizers, gloves, and protective eyeglasses, and non fit-tested N95s etc)
Below is the complete list of regular PPE for your reference:
|Regular PPE Item Description|
|Surgical/Procedure masks – Adult Level 1|
|Reusable Face Shield|
|Hand Sanitizer – Alcohol – 236/281ml|
|Hand Sanitizer – Alcohol – 1L|
|Hand Sanitizer – Alcohol – 4L|
|Cleaning Supplies (Disinfectant Products)|
|Disinfectant Sanitizing Spray – 1L|
|Disinfectant Sanitizing Spray – 4L|
|Nitrile Gloves – S|
|Nitrile Gloves – M|
|Nitrile Gloves – L|
|Nitrile Gloves – XL|
|Vinyl Gloves S|
|Vinyl Gloves M|
|Vinyl Gloves L|
|Vinyl Gloves XL|
|Latex Gloves S|
|Latex Gloves M|
|Latex Gloves L|
|Latex Gloves XL|
|Isolation Gown – Disposable Level 1 – one size|
|Non-Contact Digital Infrared Thermometers|
|Hand Soap Antimicrobial 946 ml|
|Protective Eye Glasses|
|Non fit-tested N95s|
Shipping Time: The current average shipping time for PPE orders is between 5-10 business days, however given the present volume of requests, this timeline may be extended.
Ministry of Education Update (January 5, 2022)
On January 3, 2022 the government of Ontario announced a range of time-limited public health actions to help curb the spread of COVID-19 variants in Ontario. As part of this announcement, all publicly funded and private schools will move to remote learning starting January 5 until at least January 17, subject to public health trends and operational considerations.
This requirement does not apply to First Nations/federally-operated schools, however, can be used as a resource for local planning and guidance. For licensed childcare, operators are to continue working with their regional office.
The ministry is also receiving an increase in requests to coordinate additional COVID-19 related supports for First Nations/federally-operated schools including testing and non-fitted N-95 masks. We will be following up soon with further communication to provide you with an update.
For students experiencing, or could be expected to experience mental health challenges, students and families should be provided with information about the mental health resources that are available to them, including Kids Help Phone, which offers 24/7 counselling and referral services across the province. To use this free resource, children can call 1-800-668-6868, or text CONNECT to 686868. Kids Help Phone offers Indigenous supports and staff to assist.
School Mental Health Ontario also has a number of great resources for students, parents and families on their website at www.smho-smso.ca. In addition, child and youth mental health agencies across the province continue to provide services.
The Ministry of Education’s TVO Learn and TFO IDÉLLO, apprendre à la maison portals will continue to provide supports for students learning remotely by accessing additional educational resources developed by Ontario certified teachers.
Schools are encouraged to share links to these resources with all students and families, as well as educators who may choose to incorporate these resources in their lessons.
Vaccination continues to represent our most effective strategy to prevent COVID-19 transmission and we are pleased to see the growing vaccination rates for school staff and eligible students.
We ask that you continue this work and promote vaccination efforts for students, families and staff.
Thank you for your continuing efforts and partnership to keep students safe and learning despite our current challenging circumstances.
Partnership Supporting Anishinabek Students in Ontario (December 17, 2021) – link
Ontario and the Kinoomaadziwin Education Body (KEB) have signed a three-year $7.9 million agreement to support the achievement and well-being of Anishinabek students. Renewed three-year funding will support ongoing collaboration between the Anishinabek Education System and the provincially funded education system. The agreement will improve access to culturally relevant education supports and services Anishinabek students need to realize academic success and prepare for successful entry into the workforce.
This multi-year investment is part of the government’s plan to improve learning outcomes for Indigenous students. It will fund the ongoing implementation of the Master Education Agreement, which outlines education commitments between the 23 Participating First Nations of the Anishinabek Education System, Ontario, and the KEB.
The Master Education Agreement includes strategies to support the Anishinabek Education System in providing high-quality educational programs and services to Anishinabek students, 92 per cent of whom attend school in the provincially funded education system, by:
- Promoting First Nation student success and well-being through improved access to culturally relevant resources and supports
- Supporting student transitions between First Nation schools and provincially funded schools
- Enhancing collaboration between the Anishinabek Education System and provincially funded school boards, including data and information sharing
- Supporting the advancement of Anishinabek language and culture, and the knowledge of Anishinabek First Nation histories, perspectives, and contributions within the Anishinabek Education System and provincially funded schools.
“Ontario’s investment will help ensure that Indigenous students gain access to quality education that meets their needs and prepares them for academic and professional success,” said Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education. “Through this partnership, we are ensuring that Anishinabek students are supported with learning opportunities that will help ensure students graduate high school, pursue higher learning, and get access to good-paying jobs.”
The Anishinabek Education System came into full operational effect on April 1, 2018, and it recognizes the jurisdiction of Participating First Nations over on-reserve education from junior kindergarten to Grade 12. In partnership with 19 Ontario district school boards, the Anishinabek Education System supports the success and well-being of Anishinabek students in its own schools and provincially funded schools.
The province’s support for the Anishinabek Education System and the implementation of the Master Education Agreement is another step towards addressing the 94 Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action. Ontario is also working in partnership with the KEB to integrate Indigenous knowledge and teaching methods in the classroom, which respond to Calls to Action No.10 and No.62. Through these and other initiatives, along with its ongoing work with Indigenous partners, the province is supporting reconciliation while helping to remove barriers, build a more supportive education system, and prepare First Nations students for success.
Materials Developed by SMH-ON to support “Back to School”
The ministry’s student mental health implementation partner, School Mental Health Ontario (SMH-ON), has prepared the following “Back to School Supports Package” for all school boards to share with their leaders, educators, parents and students. These resources will be used to help prepare for a mentally healthy return to school.
The package includes the following resources:
- Blog Post: https://smho-smso.ca/blog/support-for-student-mental-health-as-school-communities-return-to-remote-learning-following-the-winter-break/
- Virtual Return from Winter Break resource update – now live: https://smho-smso.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Mentally-Healthy-Return-to-School-Following-Winter-Break-and-Beyond.pdf
- Parent/Caregiver Video now live: https://smho-smso.ca/blog/watch-by-your-side-a-message-to-parents-and-caregivers/
- Grab and Gos now live: https://smho-smso.ca/blog/online-resources/grab-go-tools/
- Start Well https://smho-smso.ca/blog/online-resources/start-well/
The complete set of resources is available on the SMH-ON website: https://smho-smso.ca/
Additional Memos and Announcements:
- Email (January 14,2022): First Nation Education Partners COVID-19 Health Supports (PPE) Ordering Update
- News Release (January 12,2022): Ontario Adding More Vaccine Clinics for Education and Child Care Staff
- Memo (January 5,2022):
- Memo (December 31,2021): Ministry of Education Update: Return to School – January 2022