Lyonsgate Update Jan. 14 2022: Latest Info and Elementary Return

Hello Lyonsgate Families,

We are continuing to receive updated guidance and information as the Omicron wave continues, and as our Elementary students head back to in-person schooling on Monday. As you know, there have been significant changes to testing and to case and contact management. Lyonsgate will continue to keep you as informed as we can about any cases amongst students and staff. Please know, however, that the information we receive is significantly less than before the winter break.

Please also see information about 2022.2023 registration and payment, as well as a tentative schedule change for next year, below. We end this update on a bright note from the Elementary students’ online activity, so be sure to read through to the end.

Screening Forms

The updated screening forms can be found on the Home page of Each child requires a screening form to be submitted each day before they arrive to be dropped off at school. Please do not use any old bookmarks as these are new screening forms. The screening forms contain the most recent guidance on steps to take if symptomatic, test positive, etc.

[Tip: if you have questions about what to do in a specific circumstance, complete the screening form to match the situation and you will be directed to the most recent guidance. Adults can use the “Staff and Visitor” form. Please try to remember to not hit submit if you are using the forms for this purpose.]

COVID Advisory Page

At the beginning of the pandemic, we were required to add a “COVID Advisory Page” to the school website to report any confirmed cases. We very fortunately did not have to use that page until this recent wave. You can find the COVID Advisory Page on the Home page at with the rest of the COVID info links. Presently, we are only receiving notifications of positive test results from those voluntarily disclosing test results to us.

Voluntary Positive Test Reporting

If you have access to either Rapid Antigen Tests or PCR testing, and are willing to do so, please report any positive test results to Reporting your test results is not (and cannot be) mandatory. Presently, due to testing not being widely available and changes to protocols, we will not be informed of confirmed COVID-19 cases by Hamilton Public Health (they will not know unless it is a lab-confirmed PCR test, and are not notifying schools or child care centres at this time).

Close Contacts

We received an update this afternoon from the City of Hamilton’s Children’s Services and Neighbourhood Development Division, Healthy & Safe Communities Department, “that addresses some inconsistencies.” Specifically, they state, “Child Care/school cohorts will generally be NOT considered high risk contacts, though the case may identify specific persons who are considered close contacts based on their interactions.” We know that this is an inconsistency a number of you have also noted. At this time, there is no case management taking place in child care centres or schools by Hamilton Public Health. If we are informed of a positive test result in your child’s cohort (see above) we will let you know. Currently, the guidance is for the rest of the cohort to self-monitor for symptoms; they do not need to isolate and the cohort will not be automatically closed.

Rapid Tests for Home Use

The Primary campus (Casa and Toddler), as a licensed child care centre, will be receiving two rapid tests for most students and staff members for “symptomatic use” on Monday morning. At this time, we are not sure if we are to send those tests home with students and staff members when we receive them or if we are only to send them home when an individual becomes symptomatic at school. We also do not know if more rapid tests will be provided once the original shipment has been used.

On Friday morning, Jan. 14, we received communication from the Ministry of Education that they “will be communicating shortly with private schools regarding the provisions of tests.” These would be rapid tests for Lyonsgate Elementary students.

UPDATE: after we published and emailed this update we received further communication stating that rapid tests for students are not guaranteed:

The Ministry of Education is considering providing rapid antigen screening kits for all onsite private school staff and students, regardless of vaccination status, dependent on available supply. …At this time, rapid antigen tests are being considered first for onsite school staff. The survey link will also ask you to include the number of students enrolled at your onsite school should an opportunity for students to participate be made available.

Cohort or School Closures

Cohort or school closures are no longer being ordered by Hamilton Public Health. If a cohort or full school closure occurs the decision to do so will be made by the school.

“Absenteeism” Reporting

If the rate of absence reaches 30% among both staff and students, you will be notified by the school via a template letter from Hamilton Public Health. The process for us to report the absence rate to Public Health, and the template letter, have not yet been made available to us. It is also unclear at this time if we are to distinguish between COVID-related absences (confirmed cases and symptomatic individuals) and non-COVID absences when determining the absence rate.

Masks: N95 and High-Quality 3-ply Cloth

The Primary campus will be receiving 3-ply cloth masks for students to use, if parents wish to have their child wear them. We submitted our request on Thursday when the form was made available and requested a substantial quantity to hopefully be able to make them available to all Lyonsgate students. We do not know how many we will receive, however.

Staff have been provided with an initial supply of N95 masks. Based on guidance from the Ministry, it would seem that more will be delivered, but at this time we do not know for sure.


Vaccination continues to be the most effective strategy to protect against COVID-19, and children’s vaccinations, as well as booster shots for adults, including education workers, are heavily recommended.

On the Home page at you can links to: Book Your Child’s COVID Vaccination; Information About Children’s COVID Vaccines; and a Vaccine Tips for Parents video from McMaster Children’s Hospital.

The Ontario Ministry of Health also has a COVID-19 Vaccine Information Sheet: For Children
(age 5-11)
and a “COVID-19 vaccines for children and youth” page that also includes a booking link.

Ventilation and Filtration

Lyonsgate has HEPA filter units in every classroom at both the Primary and Elementary campuses and all units had new filters installed last week (the old filters were still well within their effective range but we want to provide the best mitigation we can). We will also continue to keep windows open for constant air exchange. Classrooms may be cool so a sweater and/or layers are recommended.

2022.2023 Registration and Payment

Thank you for your submission of registration forms for the 2022.2023 school year. We will be contacting a few families on our wait lists soon to fill the remaining few spots for next year. The initial payment for the 2022.2023 school year is due today, Friday, Jan. 14. Also, please remember to submit the signed, signature page of your registration form with payment (if you do not have print capabilities at home, please let us know and we will print one for you). Thank you.

Schedule Change for Next Year

While we hope things are more back to normal by September, we are planning for next year under the current requirements. One change we are planning to make for next year is to the schedule for the Casa classes: both classes will have the same drop-off and pick-up times — 8:00-8:30 drop-off and 3:30-4:00 pick-up. If current restrictions are still in place, the playground will be divided to keep the cohorts two metres apart. This schedule change will align better for families that also have sibling children in either the Toddler or Elementary programs.

At this point in the pandemic, we honestly can’t even guess at what September may bring, but this schedule change will likely be in effect.

Ending on a Positive Note from Elementary

While our Elementary students will return to in-person schooling on Monday, they have been up to great things online:

While learning from home this week, the Elementary students enjoyed a short film introducing Vincent Van Gogh and examining his Sunflowers series.  We explored composition and colour while using oil pastels to draw our own sunflowers.  In our culture lessons, students explored how people have met their fundamental needs for food. While our younger students heard the story of the First Farmers in the fertile crescent, our older students welcomed a virtual visitor from Nunavik, who shared stories of his Inuit culture and the traditional hunting practices that continue to be used today.  We look forward to seeing the students back on campus next week!


Marissa and Michelle