Return to School Updates

REMINDER: All Schools Moving to Remote Learning on January 4th

On December 21, 2020, the provincial government directed all school boards to move to teacher-led remote learning on January 4, 2021

Elementary Schools

  • Our elementary schools will be closed for in-person learning between January 4-8, 2021. 
  • Beginning Monday, January 4th and ending on Friday, January 8th , all elementary students will learn remotely from home.

On Monday, January 4th, the day will begin with asynchronous learning for students in our elementary schools

  • Teachers will post asynchronous learning activities on their Learning Management System for the start of the morning session.
  • Synchronous (real-time) instruction will commence at the end of your child’s regularly scheduled lunch period.
  • On Tuesday, January 5, and for the remainder of the week, synchronous and asynchronous learning will commence at the regular school start time.
  • In-school instruction for elementary school students will resume on Monday, January 11, 2021.

Secondary Schools

  • Our secondary schools will be closed for in-person learning between January 4-22 2021.
  • Beginning Monday, January 4th and until Friday, January 22nd students will follow their regular Quadmester 2 schedule, but all cohorts (A, B, and C) will learn remotely from home. 
  • In-school instruction for secondary school students will resume on Monday, January 25, 2021.

Virtual Elementary School

  • Students enrolled in the Virtual Elementary School will continue to follow their established schedules. 
  • The change in learning format between in-person and virtual instruction is still scheduled to take place as planned on Monday, January 11, 2021.

Expectations Around Remote Learning

We knew at the start of the school year that we may need to pivot to remote learning at some point. Our teachers are prepared to deliver instruction via online learning platforms, and throughout this period of remote learning students will be provided with 300 minutes of daily learning opportunities, which includes a combination of synchronous (real-time) instruction and asynchronous learning activities. 

As noted in the Ministry memo to school boards, teacher-led remote learning during this period will be provided for all students in accordance with PPM 164: Requirements for Remote Learning. 

Here are the minimum requirements for synchronous learning: 

Division Grade Level of Students Daily Minimum Synchronous Learning Time Requirement* 
Elementary  Kindergarten  180 minutes 
  Grades 1 to 3 225 minutes 
  Grades 4 to 8  225 minutes  
Secondary  Grades 9 to 12  225 minute

Synchronous learning will be provided for large and small groups of students each day, in a manner similar to in-person classroom teaching. Synchronous learning time may include students working independently and in small groups while engaged in a virtual classroom with the teacher overseeing their learning and available for questions.

Resources for Parents and Families

The following links and documents provide some guidelines for parents and students to help ensure safe and effective live online learning:

Distribution of Devices for Elementary Students 

For those families who have requested the loan of a device to support student learning during the period of remote learning, distribution of devices will take place beginning on Monday, January 4, 2021. Your school will be contacting you directly with further instructions.    

Special Education

  • To support remote learning for all special education students, school staff (Teachers, Educational Assistants, etc.) as well as board professionals (e.g. Speech and Language Pathologists) will continue to provide ongoing support and services virtually. 
  • For students with special education needs who cannot be accommodated through remote learning, we will provide in-person support during the remote learning period commencing January 4, 2021.
  • Parents with children in the Community Living Class, Structured Teaching Class, Essential Skills Class and Life Skills Class have been contacted directly and asked to share their intentions for the remote learning period.
  • Most students with special education needs will be learning remotely during this period. In-person learning should be reserved for those students with special education needs, who cannot be accommodated through remote learning. 
  • If your child is not in one of the specialized classes noted above but has special education needs that cannot be accommodated through remote learning, please contact your School Principal. 

Child Care 

  • Child care centres will remain OPEN for the duration of the remote learning period.  
  • All Before and After School Programs will be CLOSED during the week of January 4-8, 2021, when elementary schools are closed to in-person learning.

Faith and Well-Being Supports

School Mental Health Ontario has posted a number of excellent resources to help students, families and staff navigate through this difficult period: www.smho-smso.ca.

As a Catholic faith community, we understand the importance of finding time for prayer and reflection – most especially during times of stress and uncertainty. We have posted a number of faith resources on our Return to School website at: https://learnathome.hcdsb.org/faith-well-being/

Thank you for your ongoing patience, understanding and support as we all adjust to the current requirements.

Translations

gligoricjREMINDER: All Schools Moving to Remote Learning on January 4th
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Provincial Announcement: All Schools Moving to Teacher-Led Remote Learning on January 4, 2021

On Monday, December 21, 2020, the Premier of Ontario announced that at 12:01 a.m. on December 26, 2020, our province will enter a period of additional public health restrictions and protocols to help curb the spread of COVID-19. Read the News Release here

One of these protocols is related to schools, and requires all publicly funded and private elementary and secondary schools to move to teacher-led remote learning on January 4, 2021

Expectations for Elementary Schools

  • Elementary schools will be closed for in-person learning between January 4-8, 2021. 
  • Beginning Monday, January 4th and ending on Friday, January 8th , all elementary students will learn remotely from home. 
  • In-school instruction for elementary school students will resume on Monday, January 11, 2021.

Expectations for Secondary Schools

  • Secondary schools will be closed for in-person learning between January 4-22, 2021.
  • Beginning Monday, January 4th and until on Friday, January 22nd, students will follow their regular schedule, but all cohorts (A, B, and C) will learn remotely from home. 
  • In-school instruction for secondary school students will resume on Monday, January 25, 2021.

Remote Learning 

Remote learning will be provided for all students in accordance with PPM 164: Requirements for Remote Learning, which provides specific expectations around synchronous learning.

Technology Support for Students 

Families requiring a device to support student learning during the period of remote learning will be invited to make a request through an online survey that will be emailed to parents on Tuesday, December 22, 2020.  

Learning Resources

The Ministry of Education recently announced the launch of two new portals, TVO Learn and TFO IDÉLLO, apprendre à la maison, which provide supports for students learning remotely by accessing additional educational resources developed by Ontario certified teachers. 

In addition, secondary students can continue to access TVO’s Independent Learning Centre (ILC) Open House and Portes ouvertes pour les cours TVO ILC in French-language, which provide access to 144 Grade 9 to 12 courses. These ILC resources are designed to provide flexible learning opportunities to help students keep up with their learning or deepen their understanding of a specific subject.

Supporting Students with Special Education Needs 

  • To support remote learning for all special education students, school staff (Teachers, Educational Assistants, etc.) as well as board professionals (e.g. Speech and Language Pathologists) will continue to provide ongoing support and services virtually. 
  • For students with special education needs who cannot be accommodated through remote learning, we will provide in-person support during the remote learning period commencing January 4, 2021.
  • Parents with children in the Community Living Class, Structured Teaching Class, Essential Skills Class and Life Skills Class will be asked to share their intentions, including transportation needs, through an online form that will be sent on Tuesday, December 29, 2020.

Student Transportation

As all students will be learning remotely the first week in January, no student transportation services will be provided January 4-8, 2021. Once elementary schools resume in-class instruction on Monday, January 11, 2021, student transportation services will resume. 

Child Care 

  • Child care centres will remain OPEN for the duration of these time-limited public health actions.  
  • All Before and After School Programs will be CLOSED during the week of January 4-8, 2021, when elementary schools are closed to in-person learning.

Mental Health Supports

School Mental Health Ontario has posted a number of resources for students, families and staff at: www.smho-smso.ca.

Government Funding for High School Students

A new Government Support Program for secondary student parents has been launched. If your child is between 13 years of age to Grade 12, you are eligible to receive a one-time payment of $200 per eligible student to help offset education expenses. Secondary school student applications will be open from January 11, 2021, to February 8, 2021. The application instructions will be available at: https://www.ontario.ca/page/get-support-learners.

Translations

De Franco, RobProvincial Announcement: All Schools Moving to Teacher-Led Remote Learning on January 4, 2021
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New Changes to the COVID-19 School Screening Tool for Children

Earlier today (October 1, 2020), the Ontario government released changes to the COVID-19 School Screening Tool used to monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 in children.

The guidelines continue to evolve as we learn more about COVID-19, how it spreads, and how it affects children and adults in different ways.

The updated screening tool offers a more comprehensive checklist of the type and number of symptoms needed for a child to stay home for a period of time and seek medical advice.

Please note that the COVID-19 School Screening Tool is not to be used as a clinical assessment or intended to take the place of medical advice; a diagnosis or treatment.

The online COVID-19 Screening Tool will be updated soon to include these new revisions

In the meantime, you are asked to keep screening your children for COVID-19 each day using the updated guidelines in the link below:

October 1st Update – COVID-19 Screening Tool for Children

Letter to Parents

gligoricjNew Changes to the COVID-19 School Screening Tool for Children
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Change to Learning Environment – REQUEST FORM

As indicated in previous correspondence, the opportunity to switch between learning environments will be offered at three points throughout this year: after Thanksgiving, after Christmas, and after March Break.

Request to Change Learning Environment  

If you wish to change your child’s learning environment by switching from remote learning to in-class instruction, or vice versa, you are asked to complete an online request form.

Important notes before you complete the online form:

  • You are asked to submit a separate form for each child.
  • You will need your child’s Ontario Education Number (OEN) to submit this request. The OEN can be found on a recent report card.
  • This online request form applies to elementary students ONLY. Requests for changes in the learning environment at the secondary school level should be sent to directly to your child’s secondary school Principal.
  • This form does not apply to homeschooling. If your child is currently being homeschooled and you would like to request a change to either in-class instruction or remote learning, please contact your Family of Schools Superintendent.

NOTE: Please do not complete this form unless you want to change your child’s current learning environment – i.e. your child is currently attending in-class instruction and you want to switch to remote (online) learning in a virtual classroom.

CLICK HERE to access the online form to request a change to your child’s learning environment.

The online form will remain open until 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, October 1, 2020.

Next Steps 

Once the online form has closed, our staff will begin to work through the rescheduling process.

  • Parents and guardians will receive confirmation of the changes to their children’s learning environment during the week of October 13th.
  • The changes will come into effect during the week of October 19, 2020.

Additional Information  

  • CLICK HERE to learn more about in-class instruction in our HCDSB elementary schools.
  • CLICK HERE to learn more about remote learning in our HCDSB Virtual Elementary School.

Letter to Parents

gligoricjChange to Learning Environment – REQUEST FORM
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Changes to COVID-19 Symptom Protocol

New COVID-19 School Screening Tool

On Thursday, September 17, 2020, the Ontario government released to school boards an online screening tool available for families, school staff and essential visitors to meet their obligation to screen themselves or their children for symptoms of illness each day before going to school. School boards and local health units have been asked to align the criteria in their screening tools with this new screening tool for schools. 

The COVID-19 School Screening tool has been posted on our Return to School (RTS) website under Daily Screening, and is accessible here: https://covid-19.ontario.ca/school-screening/

Parents or guardians (and students 18 years of age or older) must complete this new COVID-19 School Screening tool before leaving for school each day. Please use this screening tool moving forward, as the one that was provided at the start of the school year is no longer applicable.

Based on the new criteria in the school screening tool, the following changes to our previous screening protocol will now apply:   

  • Household members and close contacts of a symptomatic individual are no longer required to self-isolate unless they have symptoms. This means that unless otherwise directed by Public Health or a health care provider, siblings are not required to stay home or miss school while awaiting test results for the symptomatic student.  
  • However, if a household member (including siblings) has COVID-19 symptoms, they are required to self-isolate while awaiting test results.
  • In cases where an individual tests positive for COVID-19, all close contacts and household members (including siblings) will be required to self-isolate and will require clearance from Halton Public Health before returning to school. 

COVID-19 Advisory Board

We have posted a COVID-19 Advisory Board on our Return to School site that provides the number of active confirmed positive COVID-19 cases in connection to HCDSB schools. Please note that this chart will track any active confirmed positive COVID-19 cases connected to one of our school communities, but it does not necessarily mean the individual was exposed in our school. 

Letter to Parents

gligoricjChanges to COVID-19 Symptom Protocol
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Updates for Parents of Elementary Students

Gradual Return to School for Students Enrolled in In-Class Instruction

Our first day of gradual return to school for our elementary students enrolled in in-class instruction went very smoothly across our district. Today, students in Grades 1-8 with surnames beginning with the letters A-F came to school and spent the day reviewing the health and safety protocols that will be in place in our schools to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

  • Tomorrow (September 10th), only students with surnames beginning with the letters G-N will attend their school. 
  • On Friday (September 11th), only students with surnames beginning with the letters O-Z will attend their school.
  • Starting Monday, September 14th ALL students enrolled in in-class instruction will begin attending school. 

A reminder that students registered for remote instruction do not attend school on the gradual return days (September 9-11). 

Update for Students Enrolled in Remote Instruction 

Some of our families have opted to keep their children home to participate in remote (online) learning.  Remote learners will be part of a virtual classroom, in a virtual school.  Online classes are currently being finalized. Over the next couple of days, parents with students in virtual classrooms will be receiving direct communication with details about their children’s virtual classroom, including the name of the teacher, and a link to the online learning platform.  

The first day of instruction for students learning from home in our virtual classrooms will be Monday, September 14th.  

Switching Between Remote Instruction and In-Class Instruction 
Families will have the opportunity to switch between in-school instruction and remote learning at three identified points in the year:

  • After Thanksgiving
  • After Christmas
  • After March Break

The application process to switch from in-school instruction to remote learning (and vice versa) will be available as of September 21, 2020. 

New Student Registrations 

As our in-school class lists are now finalized, any students new to a school or new to HCDSB who are registered after September 8, 2020, will be placed in a virtual classroom.   As noted above, the next opportunity to transfer from remote (virtual) instruction to in-class instruction will be after Thanksgiving – Monday, October 12, 2020. 

Updates and Information 

We will continue to share information and updates with parents directly through email. Updates will also be posted on the Return to School Plan website and through the Board’s social media channels: 

Letter to Parents

gligoricjUpdates for Parents of Elementary Students
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Return to School Updates

Delayed Start of School Bus Transportation 

Halton Student Transportation Services (HSTS) has been working closely with our school board as well as the Halton District School Board to collate and coordinate the information received from parents, confirming which students will be returning back to school for in-class instruction, and how many of those students will require transportation. Due to the changes in the school schedules, as well as the enhanced health and safety protocols that will have to be in place on school buses, HSTS will require some additional time to finalize the transportation arrangements. In light of this, the start of school bus routes will be delayed this year. 

School bus transportation to and from school will be available as follows: 

  • For elementary students in the self-containedCommunity Living, Essential Skills, and Structured Teaching special education classes, and secondary students in our Life Skills classes, transportation to and from school will be available beginning Friday, September 11, 2020.
  • For all other students (Kindergarten to Grade 12), school bus transportation to and from school will be available beginning Monday, September 14, 2020.

Please note that our schools will be open to students, as we communicated last week.  We appreciate that many families rely on school buses to get their children to and from school, and we are hopeful that you will be able to make alternative arrangements for next week. 

Once transportation arrangements have been finalized, HSTS will be sending an email to parents so that they may confirm the confirm the route number, pick-time and location through the parent portal.   

Board Motion to Lower Elementary Class Sizes

At the Regular Board Meeting held last night (September 1, 2020), Trustees passed a motion authorizing the use of Ministry funding and Board reserves (savings) to lower class sizes in our elementary schools. This will help us ensure as much physical distancing as possible in our Kindergarten to Grade 8 classes, by reducing the class-size average to approximately 22 students, with a maximum of 25 students per class. 

Class Lists for In-School Instruction

Our elementary school principals are currently finalizing class lists, and while we are hoping the lists will be available on Friday, September 4th, the release may be delayed until the weekend. Parents will receive an email directly from the School Principal once the class lists are available. 

Please note that due to the timing and complexity of the process this year, schools will not be able to accommodate requests for changes to class lists. 

gligoricjReturn to School Updates
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