Home/COVID-19 – Coronavirus Updates

COVID-19 – Coronavirus Updates

CoronavirusUpdate

Ongoing Updates

School Closure Announcement

May 19, 2020

The Government of Ontario has announced that schools will remain closed for the remainder of this current school year. We will provide additional information as it becomes available. Please visit https://wcdsblearnathome.wcdsb.ca for all the most up-to-date information.

The official government announcement is available here: https://news.ontario.ca/opo/en/2020/05/health-and-safety-top-priority-as-schools-remain-closed.html

Special Message from the Chair of the Board & Director of Education

May 12, 2020

Dear Waterloo Catholic Community –

We hope that you found ways to enjoy the Mother’s Day Weekend despite the less than spring-like weather and that fact that many of us were unable to celebrate in the more traditional ways that have characterized years past.  It has been a few weeks since we have connected, so we thought it important to offer you a few important updates.  As always, we sincerely hope that you and your families are well and that you are finding ways to stay healthy and positive.  We want to commend our WCDSB community for the impactful and joyous ways we managed to still celebrate Catholic Education Week.  Few of us could have predicted how appropriate or needed our theme of Igniting Hope would be.  It was truly heartening to see the many videos, messages, artwork, pictures and reflections of hope in our schools and homes.  Truly we believe we all feel the importance of our faith and our community at this time.

We are now settling into our journey of educator-led distance learning.  We know that for some it will be going well and that for a variety of reasons, for others, it may still be a challenge.  Our realities are each different and at Waterloo Catholic we are working hard to ensure the best possible experience for our students.  You may recall the invitation we gave our stakeholders in the week of April 14th to 21st to engage in a Thought Exchange where you were invited to share your concerns and questions.  We have now processed all that feedback and we would like to share with you what you said and how we would like to respond.

We are pleased to report that we had over 1,900 respondents, 1,700 thoughts and 37,000 ratings.  We had a broad cross-section of voices and the number of respondents from each group was a good representation of that stakeholder group.  Parents in general did reflect that they appreciate the efforts of their children’s teachers and we could certainly not be prouder of the hard work of so many to connect our students with learning at this time.  Elementary parents told us that they can be over-whelmed at times with balancing their own responsibilities and their children’s learning, that sometimes they need better clarity on what is optional and that they would appreciate a better sense of routine.  Perhaps most of all – they desire that connection between educator and home.  Secondary parents are also looking for clear communication and want to remain involved in their child’s learning.  They would like to see the inclusion of synchronous (‘Live”) learning or video conferencing.  And there remains a concern about their children’s report cards and post-secondary impacts.

We would like to report that we have heard you.  We continue to provide our teachers with further guidance and clarity about assessment, evaluation and reporting during this time of distance learning.  We have also worked on staff communications that are intended to strengthen consistency and clarity of expectation, while also looking at ways to solidify our collaboration with one another as staff.  We have heard you that a sense of routine is important and we will be working to reinforce that message.  We are also providing further professional development on good practices connected to synchronous learning, which remains an option in a teacher’s toolkit.  No student should be adversely affected as a result of COVID-19 school closure and we are working hard to ensure that is the case.  We know that equity issues matter to you and we are doing our best to bridge gaps, but providing resources and supports where they are needed to the best of our ability.

We are most appreciative to our staff who have worked so hard to put provisions in place so that we could reach all of our students.   One common theme regardless of stakeholder group-  was the desire for connection.  We miss one another – and that is both heartening and normal.  Schools are remarkable places where relationship and community are forged, and maintaining that strong sense of connection is hard work.  We hope you will agree with us that our staff have certainly risen to the occasion and we know that each one has put their best foot forward in support of our students.  The sense of care and the love for their students is evident.  The physical, mental and spiritual well-being of our students remains our priority.  That said – we will continue to prioritize this work and the strong sense of family that we have as the community of Waterloo Catholic.

Thought Exchange Thoughts and Themes

We know that further clarity about the length of the closure is likely to come later this week.  Full clarity about our return or what that might look like when we do return, may still be a while in coming, but we are committed to sharing those details when we have them.  We also know that seminal spring events such as communions, confirmations and graduations are currently being re-imagined.  We are hopeful that we will be able to have fall convocations for our graduates.  We know that you are missing the opportunity to celebrate this spring.  There are some virtual and media events which will assist in the short-term.  Communions will be re-scheduled in the fall, parish by parish, as we are able.  Similarly, once we are able, more information will follow about confirmations, as we learn about the availability of the Bishop and/or Vicar, and balance that with the size of the confirmandee class.  There is an intention to proceed, once we are able.

As always, on our WCDSB board website you will find from our home page a link to WCDSBLearn@Home where a host of additional resources for all learners will be found.  We also encourage you to continue to visit our WCDSBPray@Home webpage as well as our FAQ page.

Finally – as we have said before, we do encourage you to closely follow any and all directives from our governments and Region of Waterloo Public Health.  As we have reflected before – we are apart but never closer.  Let us commit to being there for one another.  Reach out to us through your local school.  While our Thought Exchange is done for now, we are still interested in hearing from you and walking with you.  Please reach out to us if you need help or guidance, and remain confident that we are here to support you, as we walk together as a hope-filled community.  #WCDSBTogether.

Sincerely,

Loretta Notten                                           Bill Conway

Director of Education                             Chair of the Board

Special Message from the Chair of the Board & Director of Education

April 23, 2020

Dear Waterloo Catholic Community –

It has been a few weeks since we have connected, so we thought it important to offer you a few important updates as we continue to navigate this time of school closure and distance learning.  Let us begin by saying that we truly hope that you and your families are well and that you are finding ways to stay healthy and positive.  As an Easter people we pray that the hope of the season is alive in your homes.  But these are unsettling times for everyone and we believe it is absolutely OK to feel that you are not OK.  We know that each of us has a unique reality and that will position us differently in terms of our ability to walk through this time and to support our children’s learning journey right now.

For the past three weeks we have begun the journey into Educator-led learning and it could not have been done without the tremendous efforts of so many.  We are most appreciative to our staff who have worked so hard to put provisions in place so that we could reach all of our students.  We hope that every student continues to have contact with their teacher(s) and that each one knows that we care for and value each of them.  Your teachers are truly amazing and they are definitely here for you. We will reiterate that our most pressing concern remains student well being – both mentally and physically.  As we have said before, it is not “business as usual”, but we do hope that students are connecting with their teachers as this is our “new normal” for the time being.

We wanted to provide you updates on a few different topics of interest to you and your children.  Know that this is a rapidly changing landscape and with many uncertainties, and as there are many players to both consult and work with, as well as others who provide us vital direction or information, sometimes full clarity takes a little time.

As always, on our WCDSB board website you will find from our home page a link to WCDSBLearn@Home where a host of additional resources for all learners will be found.  We also encourage you to continue to visit our WCDSBPray@Home webpage as well as our FAQ page.  You can also follow the #STEAMDays hashtag where lots of fun and engaging activities are being posted.  With that said, a few updates:

Length of the closure: 

We are awaiting direction from the government and Ministry of Education on this point.  We expect it will be forth coming soon.  While it is unlikely we will be returning to our buildings in the short term, full clarity about our return or what that might look like when we do return, may still be a while in coming.

Expectations During Distance Learning:

We realize there are different realities for all of our students and all of our educators.  For that reason, each student and teacher is held to the guidelines the Ministry has provided for minimum hours.  To review what we have shared previously – the suggested hours reflect both the time a teacher might use in providing formal instruction or guidance, as well as the time the student will spend completing the learning task or activity.  There is not a firm expectation that all students have to be “online” at the exact same time, although in some cases that might happen on occasion.

Assessment and Evaluation:

Equity has been a significant consideration in this new landscape as not all children are equally positioned to succeed to the best of their ability when learning from home.  We also know that students learning from home can place added pressure on a parent who may be juggling their own work or family related responsibilities.  For these reasons, assessment in elementary is taking the form of feedback or formative assessment, rather than grading.  Students can benefit and continue progressing through this feedback.  For our students in secondary, they will receive both formative and summative assessments – that is feedback and grades, but teachers will be working to support a student’s best outcome and will not be penalized if the current circumstances detract from their ability to succeed.  Marks will not drop below that attained on March 13th, when schools were declared closed.  There is however every opportunity for a mark to improve, and for learning and achievement to be enhanced.

Report Cards:

There will be a report card in June for all students and they will contain grades.  As noted above, those grades will be largely informed by the marks students had attained prior to March 13th, but there is every opportunity for those grades to improve based on any work submitted during this time of distance learning, if there is evidence of growth and/or improved performance.  In the case of graduating students, midterm marks were sent to the Universities and Colleges to assist with post-secondary admission.

Graduation:

We know that graduation is a significant event in the life of a student and his/her family. For this reason, this has been a difficult decision.  Our secondary schools have no option but to postpone graduation ceremonies as a result of venues not being available to us.  As you can appreciate secondary graduations are often large events and so they are not easily accommodated in alternate settings.  We have made the decision that all of our secondary schools will hold their graduations in the fall.  This will in no way impact a student’s ability to actually graduate from high school should they have met the requirements.  We are still in the process of finalizing our decision in relation to grade 8 graduations and will communicate that information as soon as a final decision has been achieved.

Thought Exchange – Your Voice

As most of you will be aware, we recently engaged our stakeholders in an exercise of asking them what questions or concerns they had after one-two weeks of distance learning.  Our survey closed on Tuesday April 21st in the evening and we are now starting to unpack that feedback.  We are thrilled that you took us up on this invitation.  We had just under 2000 participants and approximately 37,000 ratings from all our stakeholders.  We know that at a very high level elementary parents are expressing thoughts about the home learning environment and the types of tasks students are assigned, about feedback and assessment, and about equity.  Secondary parents are sharing thoughts about the nature of student and educator contact, and also about feedback and assessment, as well as issues related to equity.  There are roughly 14 sub-themes in the Thought Exchange feedback that we have identified and there is much more analysis we can do, and it will help to inform our thinking and actions moving forward.  A high level report on parent feedback is available at these two links, but much more will be shared in the weeks to come, that will map to themes and the take-aways from the feedback.

Parent/Guardian for an Elementary Student

Parent/Guardian for a Secondary Student

Finally – we encourage you to closely follow any and all directives from our governments and Region of Waterloo Public Health.  As a local and global community – we have never been more connected by an event or issue and now is the time to do everything we can to ensure we can soon return to life as we knew it not so long ago.  As an Easter people we believe in the power of the resurrection and the promise of new life.  Certainly this signs of the season affirm that promise.  Please reach out to us if you need help or guidance, and remain confident that we are here to support you, as we walk together as a hope-filled community.  #WCDSBTogether.

Sincerely,

Loretta Notten                                                Bill Conway

Director of Education                                  Chair of the Board

Special Message from the Chair of the Board & Director of Education

March 31, 2020

Dear Waterloo Catholic Community –

We hope that you and your family are well and staying healthy.  Today we learned, that as a key part of the Government of Ontario response to the COVID19 crisis, that the closure to schools is extending to May 1st, 2020.  The government will continue to monitor the situation and further extensions or updates may occur.  We reiterate, that these decisions are being informed by a concern for preserving the health and safety of all, and in this regard we know that each of us shares a common goal.  Realizing that this extension of the closure was likely, and as previously communicated, both the provincial Ministry of Education and locally here at Waterloo Catholic, we have been preparing for remote teacher-led learning.

Today the Ministry released a memo that provides explicit guidance to all of us about expectations for learning.  It provides an outline of the number of hours teachers and students should engage in learning – based on their grade level.  To be clear – the suggested hours reflect both the time a teacher might use in providing formal instruction or guidance, as well as the time the student will spend completing the learning task or activity.  There is not a firm expectation that all students have to be “online” at the exact same time, although in some cases that might happen on occasion.

Both Waterloo Catholic and the Ministry of Education have been thoughtful about matters of equity, as they apply to access to technology, to internet, language barriers, students with special needs and varying home environments.  All to say – this is not a “business as usual” learning environment but at Waterloo Catholic we will strive to do our very best to ensure each student feels valued and is connected to learning.  One thing we are doing in this regard is working on Chromebook distribution to those families who indicated the need for a learning device.  Your local school will provide more detail if you are an affected family.  Deployment is happening this week.  That said – at Waterloo Catholic, our number one priority will be ensuring that each child experiences connection and that they know their teacher cares.

We would also like to draw attention to the fact that while there will be consistent expectations for students in the same grade, that optional, additional activities will also be made available to all students.  On our WCDSB board website you will find from our home page a link to WDCSBLearn@Home where a host of additional resources for all learners will be found.  We also encourage you to continue to follow the #STEAMDays hashtag where lots of fun and engaging activities are being posted.

We understand that there is added anxiety for students who are in senior grades of high school or in graduating years.  This too is something to which we are very attuned.  The Ministry has provided some direction today and there will be ongoing conversations and plans that will be communicated in relation to these students.  Certainly there is an intent that no student on track to graduate – or any student – should be negatively impacted by the current public health crisis.

Finally – we encourage you to closely follow any and all directives from our governments and Region of Waterloo Public Health.  As a global community – we have never been more connected by an event or issue and now is the time to do everything we can to ensure we can soon return to life as we knew it not so long ago.  We wish your family good health as we look ahead to Holy Week.  Please continue to remain confident that we are here to support you, as we walk together as a hope-filled community.  Our faith will be a source of comfort and strength, as will the sure knowledge that after the pain and heartache of Good Friday, comes the hope, joy and new life of Easter.

Sincerely,

Loretta Notten                                                Bill Conway

Director of Education                                  Chair of the Board

Special Message from the Chair of the Board & Director of Education

March 24, 2020

Dear Parents / Caregivers –

Since last we reached out to you, the global situation in relation to COVID-19 has continued to worsen and here at home we have seen unprecedented actions taken by our federal and provincial governments.  As you know, schools are now closed and it would appear that this will stretch beyond the Easter weekend, although exactly when we might return to face to face learning is not yet clear.  These decisions are being informed by a concern for preserving the health and safety of all, and in this regard we know that each of us shares this common goal.  Nonetheless, the news that students will be home indefinitely may be disconcerting to you and your child.

We want to assure you that at the Waterloo Catholic District School Board, we will be working to the best of our ability and in collaboration with the province, to ensure that your child is connected to learning opportunities.  We will use the initial two weeks for the board to support our teachers in establishing at least an initial contact with all of their students through the most appropriate means possible, including mail, phone, email or other channel.  We will try to use this time to establish what is needed to support teacher-led learning and to aid you as families, to the best of our abilities under the circumstances.

We also want to acknowledge that this could be a time of great uncertainty and anxiety for our students.  We would encourage you to visit our board website where a number of resources can be found that may be helpful to you or your child, as you navigate this time.  We are also truly blessed to have our faith and prayer to aid us at this time.  Our God walks with us always and the Holy Father reminds us that prayer is a sign that we are not alone.

While we are in the process of “gearing up”, we would remind parents that WCDSB has launched #STEAMDays, a fun and interactive way to be connected to activities that have a daily focus on science, technology, engineering, the arts or mathematics.  Further, the Ministry of Education has launched the website Learn at Home and you are encouraged to visit that site for learning activities.

Finally – we encourage you to closely follow any and all directives from our governments and Region of Waterloo Public Health.  As a global community – we have never been more connected by an event or issue and now is the time to do everything we can to ensure we can soon return to life as we knew it not so long ago.  We wish your family good health.  Remain confident that we are here to support you, as we walk as a hope-filled community of faith toward the season of Easter and the re-birth it brings.

Sincerely,

Loretta Notten                                                              Bill Conway

Director of Education                                                  Chair of the Board

Cancellation of EQAO Testing & Introduction of WCDSB #STEAMDays

March 19, 2020

The COVID-19 situation in Ontario is continuing to evolve and WCDSB is committed to keeping you informed. As updates are available or new questions emerge, we are posting to our Board website.  We encourage you to continue checking there for updates.

Please be aware that the Minister of Education has provided direction to cancel all Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) assessments for the 2019-20 school year. The Minister has also directed that the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT) be waived as a graduation requirement, as set out in Section 6 of Ontario Schools, Kindergarten to Grade 12: Policy and Program Requirements, 2016, for students who are otherwise able to graduate in the 2019-20 school year. These changes provide the conditions to enable students to fulfill graduation requirements in our current context.

The government and WCDSB remain committed to ensuring learning will continue for our students. The Ministry and WCDSB will be posting online learning resources, and we encourage you to stay tuned for more about this resource and other distance learning supports and opportunities.

At WCDSB we are also launching #STEAMDays – a fun and interactive way to keep the learning happening at home as we work our way through the unprecedented COVID-19 shutdown.

Please view the VIDEO to learn more.

In times like these, it is vital for one and all to come together – and #STEAMDays will provide a convenient platform for parents and educators alike to share ideas, resources and fun ways to keep the learning process going.

As ideas are shared, we will gather some of them and post via our website: www.wcdsb.ca/STEAMDays

Please visit on social media via:

Twitter: @WCDSBNewswire #STEAMDays

Facebook: @wcdsb #STEAMDays

Instagram: @waterloocdsb #STEAMDays

COVID-19 Update from Waterloo Region Municipalities: Facility closures and program cancellations

Sunday March 15, 2020

Waterloo Region – As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve around the world and in our local community, the health and wellbeing of Waterloo Region residents remains our top priority. All area municipalities continue to work closely with the Region of Waterloo’s Public Health experts to monitor and respond to new developments.

Late evening on Friday, March 13th, the Province’s Chief Medical Officer of Health provided updated guidance to support public health units in managing and responding to this ongoing issue. Based on this update, Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang, Region of Waterloo Public Health’s Acting Medical Officer of Health, has recommended an increased emphasis on social distancing in order to slow the spread of the virus within the community.

In response, the Region and all area municipalities are making significant changes to services and programming, effective immediately.  These changes will remain in effect until April 5, and will be evaluated for potential extension beyond that date:

Facility Closures

All municipally-run cultural and recreational facilities will be closed to the public from March 16 to April 5. This includes all arenas, pools, community centres and public libraries.

Program Cancellations

Day Camps

The Province has issued guidance to licensed childcare providers which requires active screening for program participants, staff and volunteers. Municipally-run children’s programs, including March Break day camps, do not have the capacity or resources to enact this recommended practice; as a result, all municipally-run day camps will be canceled from March 16 to April 5.

Recreation Programs and Activities

All recreation programs and activities offered in municipal facilities including community centres, pools, etc. are cancelled from March 16 to April 5.  Refunds will be provided to registrants for municipally-run programs. Resident are encouraged to contact their respective municipality for more information.

Public Libraries and municipally-operated museums and galleries

Kitchener, Cambridge, Waterloo and the Region of Waterloo rural library system along with municipally-operated museums and galleries will be closed to the public effective March 16 to April 5.

Municipal Farmers Markets

Local municipalities recognize that our municipally-operated farmers markets (Kitchener Market and Cambridge Farmers’ Market) are an important food source for residents. For that reason, we will be investigating whether or not they can continue to operate while ensuring that a suitable level of social distancing can be achieved consistent with the guidance received from the Medical Officer of Health. A decision about whether or not they will be closed will be made prior to Saturday, March 21.

For more information and to find details related to specific closures and cancellations, visit your respective municipal website.

Other Municipal Services

Residents are encouraged to delay any non-essential business with their respective municipality or to consider conducting business online or by phone, where possible.

All emergency services and essential regional and municipal services will continue.

Parks, trails and outdoor spaces

All municipal parks, fields, trails and outdoor spaces will remain open and available for residents to enjoy.

These are challenging times for our community, and the residents and businesses our municipalities proudly serve.

As organizations, we recognize that the pace at which decisions and changes are occurring is disruptive and disconcerting, and that these decisions may have significant impact on those we serve. We regret the disruption these changes will have; however the safety and wellbeing of our residents and our community at large is our top priority.  Based on the recommendations of our regional, provincial and federal health care leaders, we believe these decisions are in the best interest of our communities, and our collective health.

For more information on closures and cancellations across Waterloo Region, visit:

www.regionofwaterloo.ca
www.kitchener.ca
www.waterloo.ca
www.cambridge.ca
www.woolwich.ca
www.wilmot.ca
www.wellesley.ca
www.northdumfries.ca

March 13, 2020

As a result of the Government of Ontario’s order for all publicly funded schools in Ontario to remain closed from March 14, 2020 to April 5, 2020 (https://news.ontario.ca/opo/en/2020/03/title.html), the Waterloo Catholic District School Board is taking the following actions to further assist in limiting the spread of COVID-19:

  • Effective March 14, 2020 to April 5, 2020 all WCDSB schools (including all St. Louis Adult Education campuses) are closed.
  • Effective March 16 all Extended Day programs are cancelled. Families registered in WCDSB operated programs will not be charged fees during this time period.
  • Effective March 14, 2020 to April 5, 2020 all Community Use of Schools permits are cancelled.
  • WCDSB Co-op placements, Dual Credit and SWAC programs are cancelled.
  • The March 23, 2020 public meeting of the Board of Trustees is cancelled. Any delegations pertaining to the St. John CES Boundary Review will be received as planned on Monday, April 6 at the regularly-scheduled Board Meeting, and again at a Special Public Board Meeting on Monday, April 20, 2020.
  • The March 26, 2020 Blessing & Dedication ceremony for the newly-renovated Waterloo Region Catholic Education Centre is postponed to a later date to be determined.

The safety and wellbeing of our students and staff is always our top priority, and we will continue working with local Public Health staff to ensure our schools remain clean, safe and welcoming in anticipation of the resumption of school in April. We encourage everyone to remain vigilant regarding hand hygiene and cough / sneeze etiquette and to follow all Public Health guidance and directives.

We ask all WCDSB stakeholders to continue monitoring our special COVID-19 web page for up-to-date information (https://wcdsb.ca/covid-19-coronavirus-updates/)  — and our prayers continue for all those around the world who have been or will be affected by COVID-19.

March 12, 2020

Statement on Closure of Schools

The government’s order for all publicly funded schools in Ontario to remain closed from March 14, 2020 to April 5, 2020 will remove a lot of student and staff uncertainty about COVID-19 and concern about implications for schools. We believe this action is in the best interests of the health of Ontarians.

The safety and wellbeing of our students and staff is always our top priority, and we will continue working with local Public Health staff to ensure our schools remain clean, safe and welcoming in anticipation of the resumption of school in April. We encourage everyone to remain vigilant regarding hand hygiene and cough / sneeze etiquette and to follow all Public Health guidance and directives.

In the meantime, we ask all WCDSB stakeholders to continue monitoring our special COVID-19 web page for up-to-date information (https://wcdsb.ca/covid-19-coronavirus-updates/)  — and our prayers continue for all those around the world who have been or will be affected by COVID-19.

March 11, 2020

Region of Waterloo Public Health – COVID-19 Letter to Parents and Guardians

March 9, 2020

Dear Parents I Caregivers:

As the spread of the new COVID 19 virus in countries around the world continues to make news, you may be wondering about how we are working to prevent and mitigate the spread of illness in our schools, and how we are preparing for the potential of additional cases of the virus to emerge in Waterloo Region. The current risk level in Waterloo Region remains LOW.

As a school system we understand that the emergence of COVID 19 is concerning and we want to reassure you that, as always, the health and well being of our students and staff is our top priority. We are in close and regular contact with public health experts from Region of Waterloo Public Health & Emergency Services to ensure we have all the most up-to-date, factual information available concerning COVD 19.

Similarly, we work in partnership with the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health, as well as other educational partners in the exchange of information.

At this time, Public Health advises the following steps to be followed by residents of Waterloo Region:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash and/or cough or sneeze into the crook of your arm, not into your hands.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Avoid misinformation. Region of Waterloo Public Health continues to provide up-to-date and evidence-based information’ on their website so that you have the information you need to make informed decisions about your health: regionofwaterloo.ca/2019NovelCoronavirus

We are following all the above guidelines with our own staff and we hope you will join us in promoting these strong habits with your own children.

We will keep you informed as new information becomes available or if the situation regarding COVID 19 changes in Waterloo Region. We are confident that if we follow the sound advice and practices that have been advocated, we will be as prepared as we can be and that our schools will remain safe and healthy places to learn and grow.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. They can cause diseases ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV). Some transmit easily from person to person while others do not. COVID-19 is a new disease that has not been previously identified in humans.*

Those with COVID-19 may have little to no symptoms. You may not know you have symptoms of COVID-19 because they are similar to a cold or flu. Symptoms may take up to 14 days to appear after exposure to COVID-19. Symptoms have included:

  • fever
  • cough
  • difficulty breathing
  • pneumonia in both lungs

In severe cases, infection can lead to death.*

Human coronaviruses cause infections of the nose, throat and lungs. They are most commonly spread from an infected person through:

  • respiratory droplets that are spread when you cough or sneeze
  • close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
  • touching something with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands*

If you are a healthy individual, the use of a mask is not necessary. It is not recommended that healthy people or people who have not travelled to a COVID-19-affected area wear masks. Wearing a mask when you are not ill and are not at high risk for developing symptoms may give a false sense of security. Masks can easily become contaminated and need to be changed frequently and fitted properly for them to provide adequate protection. You can stay healthy and prevent the spread of infections by:

  • washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • avoiding touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands
  • avoiding close contact with people who are sick
  • coughing or sneezing into your sleeve and not your hands
  • staying home if you are sick to avoid spreading illness to others*

No, there is currently no vaccine to protect against COVID-19.*

No, the flu vaccine does not protect against COVID-19.*

* Source: Public Health Agency of Canada

SARS CoV 2 (COVID-19) Web Resources

For more information for educators, parents, and students on supporting positive student mental health during the covid-19 crisis please visit:

https://smho-smso.ca/covid-19/

For more general information on mental health, coping strategies and Waterloo Region mental health services please visit

https://wcdsb.ca/programs-and-services/mental-health-and-well-being-at-wcdsb/

World Health Organization (WHO)

Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC)

Ontario Ministry of Health

Region of Waterloo Public Health & Emergency Services

Ontario Ministry of Health COVID – 19 Information Sheet (Translated)

The Ministry of Health has developed an information sheet about the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) to inform Ontarians about the virus, how they can protect themselves and what to do if they think they have contracted the 2019 novel coronavirus. The information sheet is available in multiple languages.