March Break, Ministry, and City of Hamilton Updates

As you know, the Ministry of Education announced the postponement of the scheduled March Break for publicly funded schools on Thursday, Feb. 11. From the Ministry press release:

The actions announced today serve to limit opportunities for congregation – while reaffirming the evidence that schools are safe for students. …With respect to travel, our government’s position on this is unchanged. Ontarians should refrain from travelling, particularly given the increase in new variants that pose a direct risk to our country. Please stay at home as much as possible and continue following the direction of public health officials so that we can keep schools open and protect our seniors, frontline health workers and all families.

As you know, Lyonsgate had two weeks of March Break scheduled this year (March 8-19). In an attempt to accommodate parents who may have already booked time off in March, and for families that also have children in, or are employed by, the public or Catholic systems, we will be splitting the two weeks between March and April.

  • March 15-19 will be March Break (this aligns with the original HWDSB March Break)
  • April 12-16 will be April Break (the new HWDSB break).

We know that we still have a March Break week during the period of postponement. With the majority of children remaining in school during the March week, we anticipate there will be less opportunity for Lyonsgate students to congregate and we do not imagine anyone will be travelling in the current circumstance.

It is a delicate balance, and we know that this is very difficult for families that have already booked both March weeks off and will have difficulty securing additional time off in April. The pandemic and everything it brings remains difficult for all of us.

Please note: there may be further changes coming; a meeting with Hamilton Public Health scheduled for last week was postponed due to new information they received from the provincial government, including March Break postponement. That meeting has not yet been rescheduled, but when it is we may have new mandates from Public Health regarding March Break postponement requirements and additional COVID safety measures.

Latest Update: we received one update from the Ministry of Education today. The latest change affects other household members if someone in the household becomes symptomatic; from today’s Ministry update, they are now:

…requiring all household contacts of symptomatic individuals to quarantine.

Through this memo, this guidance is being applied to staff, students and children by requiring them to stay home from school or child care if anyone in their household has new or worsening symptoms of COVID-19 and has been recommended for isolation and testing.

All asymptomatic household contacts of symptomatic individuals are required to quarantine until the symptomatic household member:

  • receives a negative COVID-19 test result, or
  • receives an alternative diagnosis by a health care professional

If the symptomatic individual tests positive, or is not tested and does not receive an alternative diagnosis from a health care professional, the symptomatic individual must isolate (including from household members) for 10 days from symptom onset, and all household contacts must isolate until 14 days from their last contact with the symptomatic individual.

We will update the screening form “Next Steps,” Lyonsgate policy documents, and your “COVID-19 Supplemental Parent Handbook” next week, We are still expecting updated guidance related specifically to the Primary campus, but that update will most likely align with the “school” guidance above.

Vaccination Reporting to Public Health

Hamilton Public Health has made changes to vaccination reporting. At Lyonsgate, this primarily applies to children in their 2nd or 3rd year of Casa, or new to Ontario. From Public Health:

Parents and legal guardians of junior and senior kindergarten registrants and students new to Ontario are asked to report their vaccinations to Hamilton Public Health. Parents are responsible for notifying Public Health each time their daycare or school-aged child receives a vaccine [Note: this applies to all Lyonsgate students].

Due to the on-going COVID-19 Pandemic we are moving away from paper registration for reporting vaccinations. Please visit our online reporting tool at and select the online option.
If you do not have access to the internet or you have any questions, please call 905-540-5250.

Required Children’s Vaccination Records
By law in Ontario, Public Health needs:

o An up-to-date vaccination record, or
o A valid exemption form

This is required for each child attending a licensed child care centre, licensed home child care agency (Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014 – ) or school (Immunization of School Pupils Act –

How to Check your Vaccination Records
You can check to see if your child has the vaccines they need to attend child care or school by:

– Reviewing their vaccination record (yellow card)
– Asking your health care provider
By checking Online
– Or by calling Public Health at 905-540-5250

Community Safety and Well-Being Plan

Also from the City of Hamilton:

A Community Safety and Well-Being Plan is being developed for Hamilton. The planning and  development of this plan is being overseen by a cross sector community advisory committee bringing together representatives from municipal government, education, police, not-for-profit sector, health care, and human services. The aim of the Community Safety and Well-Being plan is to ensure all residents in Hamilton feel safe, has a sense of belonging and can meet their needs for education, healthcare, food, housing, income, and social and cultural expression.

As part of the Hamilton’s Community Safety and Well Being Plan (CSWBP), we are holding community sessions later this month seeking feedback from residents and service providers as we work to prioritize six challenges facing the community. These include: mental health and stigma, housing and homelessness, hate incidents, violence, substance use, and access to income.

It is critical that the CSWBP reflect the needs and perspectives of Hamiltonians. During this phase of planning, the community can provide feedback in a few ways:

Thank you everyone. So far, next week has no PD days, holidays, or snow days in the forecast, and fingers crossed there are no more pandemic problems.