Kingston's public school board is calling on Ontario to continue tracking and publicly reporting confirmed COVID-19 cases in schools and implement a "test to return" strategy for students and staff testing positive for COVID-19.

The Limestone District School Board is also calling for the COVID-19 vaccine to be mandatory for students to attend school.

The board passed a motion Wednesday evening directing board chair Suzanne Ruttan to write Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore, the Ministry of Education and local medical officer of health Dr. Piotgr Oglaza with a list of demands before school resumes on Monday.

The Ontario government announced Wednesday that parents would only be notified of a potential COVID-19 outbreak in a school when approximately 30 per cent of staff and students are absent.  In December, school boards were told the province was suspending reporting of COVID-19 cases in schools, and case numbers will no longer be posted.

Data on absentee rates will be available to the public starting Jan. 24.

In a motion approved Wednesday, the Limestone District School Board trustees call on the province to continue tracking and public reporting of confirmed COVID-19 cases in schools by public health units.

The board also calls for support and implementation of a "test to return" strategy following COVID-19 illness and exposure, supported by an adequate rapid antigen test supply.

Other requests included:

  • Funding and supplies of optional masks and respirators for students similar to masks being provided for staff
  • Continued funding and supplies of rapid antigen tests for students and staff
  • Reimbursement of all school-based pandemic-related costs
  • Funding for additional staff for remote learning "to ensure choice and flexibility for students and families"
  • Update the Immunization of School Pupils Act and include COVID-19 as a mandatory vaccination