Slow and safe return to activities planned for SMCDSB’s reopening

Students within the Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board (SMCDSB) can look forward to pizza days, sports, and playgrounds when schools resume Sept. 7.

The board released its  to families late afternoon on Aug. 27. 

“We are hopeful that as we move through 2021-2022 we will be able to slowly and safely return to some of the activities and practices you would find in a more typical school year,” said Frances Bagley, SMCDSB’s director of education.  


As mandated by the Ministry of Health, the board will be hosting COVID-19 vaccine clinics run by the Youth 12 and up can be immunized without parental consent. 

Vaccination clinics are planned at six schools in September. These locations have less than 50 per cent of the student population fully vaccinated, the plans states.

These secondary schools include: St. Dominic Catholic Secondary School in Bracebridge, Patrick Fogarty Catholic Secondary School in Orillia, St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Secondary School in Tottenham, St. Theresa’s Catholic High School in Midland, St. Joan of Arc Catholic High School in Barrie, and Holy Trinity Catholic High School in Bradford.


The SMCDSB said it has invested $14.7 million in COVID-19-related maintenance and infrastructure renewal projects with $8.1 million for ventilation improvements. All projects are well underway and are targeted for completion by Dec. 31. There are 16 investment projects in schools and two at board office locations. 

All schools have mechanical ventilation systems.

Here’s what you need to know:

• Students from kindergarten to Grade 12 will be required to wear cloth masks while in school, but not outside. 

• There will be no student contact limits. (Last year it was 50 elementary and 100 secondary)

• Secondary schools will use a quad-mester model, but with two classes per day instead of one.

• Cafeterias, libraries and learning commons will be open, but food services will not be operating.

• Field trips, assemblies and masses are on pause at this time.

• Lockers will not be used at the secondary level.

• All students and staff must complete and submit a daily online COVID-19 screening assessment.

• It is not mandatory that students ages 12 to 17 be vaccinated to attend school in-person.

• Hands-on programming such as physical education, music, and cooperative education will resume with health and safety restrictions in place.

• Outdoor sports begin Sept. 20 and indoor sports will begin Sept. 27.

• Common touch points will all be cleaned using disinfectant at least twice during the school day and once in the evening. 

• Playground will be open, but not cleaned and disinfected between cohort use. Students will sanitize their hands before and after use.

• Elementary families will receive an email prior to Sept. 7 regarding classroom and teacher placement including those participating in virtual learning.

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