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.
The first day of instruction for students (originally planned for Tuesday, September 8, 2020) has been delayed until Wednesday, September 9, 2020.
Instruction will begin for Grades 9-12 secondary students on Wednesday, September 9th.
All students in Grades 1-8 attending in-class instruction will begin attending school every day, beginning Monday, September 14th. Remote learning will begin for students learning from home on Monday, September 14th.
The first day back to school, even under ‘normal’ circumstances, can be very stressful for students, families and staff. We recognize that this year, these feelings may be heightened given our current circumstances and the new health and safety protocols that will be in place as our schools re-open.
Delaying the first day of school by one day will allow staff to rehearse the new health and safety protocols, and adapt their practices to ensure an organized transition for students. It will also facilitate the set-up of the learning management systems and resources for remote learning.
A gradual return to school for our elementary students will help alleviate some of the anxiety in students by providing a calm environment to help students learn the new health and safety routines at school and practice our entry and dismissal procedures in smaller groups.
What Does this Mean for Elementary Students?
At the elementary level, we will be easing into the new school year by bringing Grade 1-8 students back to school in smaller groups on September 9, 10 and 11th. All Grade 1-8 students will be in school beginning Monday, September 14th.
The following schedule will apply to Grade 1-8 students in all elementary schools:
Wednesday, September 9th
Only students in Grades 1-8 with surnames beginning with the letters A-F will come to school
Thursday, September 10th
Only students in Grades 1-8 with surnames beginning with the letters G- N will come to school
Friday, September 11th
Only students in Grades 1-8 with surnames beginning with the letters O-Z will come to school
Monday, September 14th
ALL students in Grades 1-8 attending in-class instruction will come to school. Remote learning will begin for students learning from home.
As per our usual practice, we will implement a staggered entry for Kindergarten students. Year 1 and 2 orientation will take place on Tuesday, September 8th, and Wednesday, September 9th. Year 2 students will begin on Thursday, September 10th. Year 1 staggered entry will take place on Friday, September 11th, and Monday, September 14th. All Kindergarten students in school beginning Tuesday, September 15th.
Students in the self-contained Community Living, Essential Skills, and Structured Teaching special education classes in our elementary schools will begin in-class instruction on Wednesday, September 9 and attend school daily thereafter.
At the elementary level, students with special education needs who are not in self-contained classes will attend school on the designated alpha day with their peers. If the student would benefit from daily attendance, and/or further time to support transitions, they may attend on additional days in consultation with their school.
At the secondary school level, the first day of school will be delayed by one day for all students, except for students in the Life Skills classes, who will begin in-class instruction at school on Tuesday, September 8 and attend school daily thereafter.
As secondary students will be returning to an adapted instructional model, in cohorts of 15 or less, a gradual return will already be in place. Secondary schools will start in their Week 1 schedule, with the first day of instruction taking place on Wednesday, September 9, 2020.
Delaying the first day of school by one day will allow staff in our secondary schools to rehearse the new health and safety protocols, and adapt their practices to ensure an organized transition for students. It will also facilitate the set-up of the learning management systems and resources for remote learning.
Dr. Meghani is the Commissioner and Medical Officer of Health for Halton Region. She is a Public and Preventive Medicine physician and a Fellow with the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons. Dr. Meghani has a Masters of Public Health in Family and Reproductive Health and a Masters in Management (Health Leadership). She joined Halton Region from the City of Hamilton in 2014. Dr. Meghani is passionate about public health, prevention of illness and increasing health equity. As a mother and Halton’s Medical Officer of Health, she is deeply committed to keeping children safe and working with partners to create an environment that fosters good health.
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