With the return to in-class learning Monday following the holiday break, as a precaution related to the pandemic, St. Joseph–Scollard Hall students are being encouraged by school officials to eat their lunches in their classrooms rather than leave the school grounds.
It is a recommendation and not a directive clarifies Nipissing-Parry Sound Catholic District School Board Communications Officer Kate Bondett.
"We have not created a new policy at SJSH, but we are encouraging our school community to make every effort to help reduce the spread of COVID-19, particularly during this provincial lockdown/shutdown," Bondett tells BayToday in correspondence.
In a letter addressed to parents and guardians, SJSH Prinicipal Derek Belanger explained the school cafeteria will be open daily for students to place an order online and have lunches delivered to their classroom.
"In an effort to do our part to help stop the spread of the virus in our community, SJSH will be taking extra precautions to limit gatherings, mobility and interactions between cohorts during school hours by encouraging students to eat their lunches in their classrooms during this provincial shutdown," writes Belanger.
SJSH invites students and their families to "please join us in this collective effort and we ask that parents and caregivers discuss with students the importance of remaining with their cohort and minimizing non-essential movement outside of school into the community during the school day."
The school's principal advises "movement breaks," will continue so teachers and students can get some fresh air and walk outside on school grounds, weather permitting.
"As you know, our return to school this week is in the midst of a provincial shutdown, with cases continuing to rise in our district over the past weekend," adds Belanger.
The recommendation to consume lunches in the classrooms is seen as an interim measure by school officials:
"In support of the community-wide focus on preventing the spread of COVID-19, and aligned with provincial public health advice on the importance of staying within established cohorts, we are encouraging this for the interim during the provincial shutdown."