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DDSB to continue current COVID-19 communication practices


DAN CEARNS The Standard

DURHAM: The Durham District School Board is not yet ready to rescind its COVID-19 communication practices.

Associate Director Jim Markovski explained, at a meeting on Monday, July 10th, what resolution staff were recommending to have trustees rescind.

“The resolution was passed, stating: we would report case data, provide a self-reporting mechanism for families and staff, communicate school and class closures and communicate unusually high rates of absenteeism. This resolution was subject to the government’s directions on these matters. As part of the resolution, the DDSB also took the further step of maintaining the COVID-19 advisory information on our website and updating [it] with relevant data. Schools also sent home communication advisories when self-reported cases were present for staff and students.”

Associate Director Markovski noted, the board continues to work collaboratively with the Durham Region Health Department, and “our enhanced cleaning, disinfection and ventilation measures, still remain in place.” He stated, staff feel the reporting resolution is “no longer needed” and “has served its purpose.”

Whitby Trustee, Christine Thatcher questioned if the rescinding of this motion has been discussed at any other meetings.

Chair Donna Edwards stated, it hasn’t, explaining “it’s a timing issue,” given the school board’s summer schedule.

Director Camille Williams-Taylor said, the board is “confident with the direction from the Ministry, with the direction from Public Health, we’re able to resume regular operations.” However, Pickering trustee, Emma Cunningham felt this might be premature for the board to undertake, given how COVID-19 cases are usually low in the summer months and higher in the winter.

Oshawa trustee, Shailene Panylo suggested, deferring, the rescinding of this motion, would “give us time to maybe explore if there’s another way we can build a tool from this, which serves schools long term [which] perhaps isn’t as labour intensive to maintain.”

Trustees later voted in favour of deferring the rescinding of the resolution, to a governance committee meeting in September. Once the discussion is held there, a decision will be made by the board at an October meeting.

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