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Novel Coronavirus Update 112
Novel Coronavirus Update

May 19, 2020 - Schools Closed for the Rest of the School Year

Dear families,

We have received notice from the Premier and Minister of Education that the current closure of all Ontario schools will be extended until the end of this school year, as part of the ongoing effort to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. All schools in York Region District School Board will continue to be closed for the rest of the school year. 

It is critically important at this time to continue to follow the direction of public health to practise social distancing to flatten the curve of this pandemic virus. Please note that, in accordance with the Provincial Emergency Declaration, school grounds remain closed and inaccessible to the public, which includes playgrounds and school yards.

Items in t​​he Schools

The provincial emergency order requires that schools be closed to students, however we know families will have questions about picking up items left at school. We are working with public health on a safe process for families to pick up these items. As soon as we have information, we will share this with families. 

Online ​​Learning

We will continue to support your child’s education through online teacher-led learning, and I thank you for your patience as we have been implementing new ways of teaching and learning on this scale. If you have any questions about your child’s online learning, we encourage you to reach out to your child’s teacher. While our schools may be closed, we remain dedicated to supporting your child’s learning and well-being. 

We also continue to prioritize the mental health and well-being of our students and families, and have supports and resources available. Please speak with your child’s teacher, principal or visit our website www.yrdsb.ca/covid19 for more information. 

I’m sure you have a lot of questions and concerns about what these closures mean for your child’s education. The Minister of Education continues to reassure Ontarians that school closures will not affect students’ ability to graduate and that Ontario students will not lose this school year. As the Premier mentioned today and we had previously communicated, students will receive an end-of-year report card. More details will follow as we receive them. 

Summer Le​arning Programs

The Premier and Minister of Education also announced enhanced summer learning opportunities. At this time, we don’t have additional information on the implementation of this announcement. We will send more details as soon as we are able. Current information and opportunities are available on the Board website

Graduations and Cele​brat​ions

I know many students are also concerned about the postponement or cancellation of graduations and other important milestone events. Due to the school closures, we previously made the difficult decision to cancel end-of-year celebrations such as proms and semi-formals. In addition, we are regrettably postponing June graduations with a goal to reschedule for the fall of 2020. More information will be made available as soon as logistics are finalized, including information on how graduates may obtain a copy of their diploma. 

On our website www.yrdsb.ca/covid19 you can find information about school closures, answers to many of the questions you may have about school closures as well as resources to support student learning and student and family well-being. You can also follow the Board’s twitter feed @yrdsb for up-to-date information.


I wish you continued health and well-being. 


Sincerely, 

Juanita Nathan, Chair

Louise Sirisko, Director of Education


April 26, 2020 - Schools Closed until at least May 29

Dear families,


We have received notice from the Minister of Education that the current closure of all Ontario schools will be extended until at least May 29, as part of the ongoing effort to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. All schools in York Region District School Board will continue to be closed to students during this time. You will receive additional information about the potential opening closer to the end of May. We do not have information about extensions beyond this date. 


It is critically important at this time to continue to follow the direction of public health to practise social distancing in order to flatten the curve of this pandemic virus. Please note that, in accordance with the Provincial Emergency Declaration, school grounds remain closed and inaccessible to the public, which includes playgrounds and school yards.


Online Learning

We will continue to support your child’s education through online teacher-led learning, and I thank you for your patience as we have been implementing new ways of teaching and learning on this scale. If you have any questions about your child’s online learning, we encourage you to reach out to your child’s teacher. While our schools may be closed, we remain dedicated to supporting your child’s learning and well-being. 


I’m sure you have a lot of questions and concerns about the further extension of school closures. The Minister of Education continues to reassure Ontarians that school closures will not affect students’ ability to graduate and that Ontario students will not lose this school year. More information regarding online learning will be sent to you in the near future. 


Graduations and Celebrations

I know many students are also concerned about the postponement or cancellation of graduations and other important milestone events. Due to the extension of the closures, we have made the difficult decision to cancel end-of-year celebrations such as proms and semi-formals. In addition, we are regrettably postponing June graduations with a goal to reschedule for the fall of 2020. More information will be made available as soon as logistics are finalized, including information on how graduates may obtain a copy of their diploma. 


On our website www.yrdsb.ca/covid19 you can find information about school closures, answers to many of the questions you may have about school closures as well as resources to support student learning and student and family well-being. You can also follow the Board’s twitter feed @yrdsb for up-to-date information.


I wish you continued health and well-being. 

Sincerely, 

Juanita Nathan,  Louise Sirisko, Chair Director of Education


April 9, 2020 - Update on Assessment, ​Evaluation and Reporting during COVID-19

Dear families and students in secondary school,

Yesterday, I sent a message providing information regarding assessment, evaluation and reporting during COVID-19, as well as additional details about access to technology, learning from home and tips available for families on our Board website. This update provides further specifics about final marks for half-credit courses and midterm marks. This year, midterm marks are only required for graduating students. 

Teachers will use their professional judgement and interpretation of evidence of student learning when determining final marks for half-credit courses and midterm marks for potential graduates. Under the current circumstances, teachers are asked to use the full body of assessment evidence available to them based on work assigned up until March 13 to determine a midterm mark that reflects a student’s learning and achievement to date. Additionally, teachers may use evidence of learning and formative assessment from April 6 onward, if the further achievement of expectations results in an improved mark. Midterm marks will be submitted to the Ontario Universities’ Application Centre (OUAC) and the Ontario College Application Service (OCAS) on April 23.  

If you have questions about assessment, evaluation and reporting, or any other classroom or course-related questions, I encourage you to connect with your child’s teachers directly. Thank you for your support during these exceptional circumstances. Please continue to visit our Board website and Twitter for updates while your child learns from home. 


Sincerely,

Louise Sirisko
Director of Education



April 8, 2020 - Assessment, Evaluation and Reporting During COVID-19

 
Dear families and students,
 
I hope you, your families and loved ones are all well. On the evening of Friday, April 3, the Ontario Ministry of Education sent out a memo to school boards outlining guidance on assessment, evaluation and reporting. This letter provides information for this week and beyond. If further direction is provided by the Ministry of Education regarding assessment, evaluation and reporting, the details in this letter will be modified where necessary and we will communicate that to you. 
 
Elementary:  Grade 1 to 8 students will receive a final report card at the end of the 2019-20 school year. Kindergarten students will receive the Communication of Learning. Assessment information gathered prior to March 13 will be used to inform the information in these documents. Elementary students will continue to be assessed throughout the remainder of the school year to support their ongoing learning.  Specifically, teachers will use a variety of approaches to gather evidence of how students are progressing in their learning. Teachers will provide feedback to students on their progress.
 
Secondary: All secondary students will receive a final report card at the end of the 2019-20 school year. Teachers will continue to assign learning tasks, projects and culminating activities that will be assessed to inform students about progress and marked for the purposes of evaluation. Teachers will communicate results of these marked assignments to students.  Results will be used by teachers to inform students’ final course marks.
 
Grade 12 Student Midterm Marks: This year, midterm marks are only required for graduating students. Teachers will use their professional judgement and interpretation of evidence of student learning when determining a midterm mark for potential graduates. Under the current circumstances, teachers are asked to use the full body of assessment evidence available to them based on work assigned up until March 13 to determine a midterm mark that reflects a student’s learning and achievement to date. The midterm marks will be submitted to the Ontario Universities’ Application Centre (OUAC) and the Ontario College Application Service (OCAS) on April 23.  
 
Graduation Requirements: The Government of Ontario stated that no student will have their graduation compromised by COVID-19. The Ministry of Education continues to work with the Ministry of Colleges and Universities to ensure that there will be no barriers to accessing post-secondary education.
 
Access to Technology: We know not all of our students have the technology they need to access online learning resources. We are working to get equipment into the hands of our students and their families in a safe and efficient manner. Secondary students will begin to access YRDSB technology this week, with elementary students receiving technology starting next week.
 
Learning from Home: As part of learning from home, most students and staff will engage in learning that is not required in real time. This means they will engage in activities at different times of the day and evening to best suit their individual needs. Teachers will develop learning opportunities (e.g., tasks, assignments or projects) for students that may involve engagement both online and offline.  Teachers will plan opportunities to assess student learning and provide feedback to students throughout the remainder of the school year. At this time, there is no requirement for teacher-led instruction with groups of students or classes online at the same time. Throughout all planning and programming processes, teachers consider the strengths and needs of students with Individual Education Plans. 
 
We recognize these are exceptional circumstances and learning from home can be very different for our students and families. We know parents and caregivers may be essential workers or working from home and not available to provide support for students. These are not normal times and as educators, we understand the challenges ahead. Our goal is to create online learning environments that are safe, equitable and inclusive, and support every learner, without penalty for circumstances beyond the control of our students. We will do our very best to support our students during this unprecedented time, and believe our students will rise to the occasion, presenting their best efforts.
 
Tips for Families: Teaching and learning online at home is new for our students, families and teachers. To help you support your children through this transition to learning from home, we have developed some tips for families available on the Board website at www.yrdsb.ca/covid19. You will also find additional information about community supports, learning and well-being resources and a list of frequently asked questions. The website includes a built-in translation tool that can translate content into over 100 languages. 
 
If you have questions about assessment, evaluation and reporting, or any other classroom or course-related questions, I encourage you to connect with your child’s teachers directly. We are learning together. Thank you for your support, patience and understanding. 
 

Sincerely,
 
Louise Sirisko
Director of Education


March 31, 2020 - Closure Extension

​​

 

Dear families,

We have received notice from the Premier of Ontario that the current closure of all Ontario schools will be extended to reopen May 4, 2020. This is in an effort to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. All schools in York Region District School Board will continue to be closed to students during this time. Schools are expected to reopen May 4 and you will receive additional information about the opening closer to this date.  

It is critically important at this time to continue to follow the direction of public health to practise social distancing in order to flatten the curve of this pandemic virus. 


 

YRDSB Learning and Caring​ Plan for teacher-led learning

This week, your child’s teacher will be reaching out to you to check in with your family and let you know that beginning next week, we will be implementing online teacher-led learning for our students. Students can expect some online learning activities and opportunities, as well as information about how to connect with their teacher. You will be receiving information from your child’s teacher about what this will look like for your child. While our schools may be closed, we remain dedicated to supporting your child’s learning and well-being. 

If you do not have access to technology or the internet, please complete our questionnaire, or let your child’s teacher know when they contact you. 


 

What does the school closure mea​n for students?

I’m sure you have a lot of questions and concerns. You want to know about marks, graduation requirements, post-secondary applications, and more. While I don’t have all of the answers today, I’m going to share as much as I can, and I will continue to keep you updated as we learn more.

We know that students may be missing important milestones this year -  trips, athletics and important activities. We share your disappointment and will look for ways to celebrate their achievements when students return to school. For now, it is important to focus on keeping our community safe and healthy. 

You may be concerned about your child’s emotional well-being. You can find tips on how to speak to your child about COVID-19 on our website. We also recognize that this situation is affecting families in different ways. We have compiled a list of community supports and resources, also available on our website.

Thank you for your ongoing support and patience. For up-to-date information and resources, please visit www.yrdsb.ca/covid19 and the Board’s twitter feed @yrdsb

I wish you continued health and well-being. 



Sincerely, 

Louise Sirisko

Director of Education

 

March 27, 2020 - Access to Technology Questionnaire

York Region District School Board has been identifying opportunities to support the continuity of learning and caring for all of our students. We know not all of our students have the technology they need to access these resources, and we want to hear from our families. 

We have created a brief questionnaire to help us understand how many of our students require technology (devices or internet access) to continue learning at home. If you have multiple children attending a YRDSB school(s) who require technology support, please fill out this form for each child.

If your child has access to a device such as desktop, laptop or Chromebook with Internet, you do not need to complete this questionnaire. 

For up-to-date information and resources for families during the school closures, please follow us on Twitter @YRDSB or visit www.yrdsb.ca/COVID19.

 

March 25, 2020 - Learning and Caring Plan

Dear families,

I hope this letter finds you and your family and loved ones well. I know you have a lot of questions about how educators will be supporting students in their learning during the school closure. 

I also know many of our staff members and students have been keeping in contact during the closure, whether it’s been through a classroom tool or social media. We all care about our students and families and want to maintain these important connections. 

As a board, we have been identifying opportunities to support the continuity of learning and caring. Our staff will provide important support in gathering information to coordinate learning and caring plans for our students during this challenging and unprecedented time. Not all of our students have access to technology and we are looking at ways to make technology accessible. Plans are in place for school staff to connect with families to check to see how our students are doing, and gather information on particular technology needs of students and families. 

As you know, on March 20, the province provided phase one of this learning, which includes online opportunities for students to engage in independent learning through Learn at Home. Additional online learning resources are available on our Board website. We know the importance of teacher-led learning, and this will play an important role in our efforts to support student learning and well-being, which will inform phase two of learning continuity. Although this is still not ideal, we need to find new ways to engage and learn and work together, while apart.  We are continuing to work with the Ontario Ministry of Education to prepare for the continuity of learning and caring across YRDSB and the province. 

We are also receiving questions regarding how long the school closure will last. The Ministerial Order stated that all publicly funded schools would reopen on April 6. However, on March 23, Premier Doug Ford stated during a press conference that it is “unlikely that schools will reopen on April 6. ”At this time, school boards have not received notice, additional information or clarification on the timing of schools reopening. As soon as we receive this information, we will share it with families. 

I know you still have many questions about assessment, evaluation, what the day-to-day will look like. We don’t have all of the answers to your questions today. Our intention is to share information with you as soon as possible, as we receive it. We will continue to share these plans with you. 

Please continue to take care of yourselves, your families and your loved ones. I know everyone is dealing with a great deal of anxiety and uncertainty at this time. If you or others in your family are experiencing emotional distress, it is important to seek help from a mental health professional.  There are also crisis counselling supports available, if needed, through the Kids Help Phone 1-800-668-6868 or 310-COPE (905-310-2673) and Mental Health Helpline 1-866-531-2600.

For those in our community who are essential workers, thank you for all that you are doing to keep our communities safe, healthy and fed. For those who are able, please stay home as much as possible to flatten the curve of this pandemic and help keep our healthcare workers and first responders safe. Further, I want to thank all our families who are staying at home. Although we have never faced something like this before, we can get through this together, while staying apart. 

 

Sincerely,

Louise Sirisko

Director of Education


March 23, 2020

Video message from Director of Education, Louise Sirisko that provides an update on what the Board is doing to support families and ensure that learning continues during this extended break.

AE YouTube Web Part ‭[1]‬

AE YouTube Web Part ‭[1]‬


March 20, 2020

Dear families,

Today, the Ontario Ministry of Education announced online courses and more educational programming to support the continuation of learning for Ontario students. Programming will be available on a new online portal called Learn at Home. This education programming is not for assessment purposes, but is intended to keep students engaged in learning. The Minister of Education has stated that this is the first phase of continuity of learning and will provide additional updates in the coming days. We are currently looking for ways to support families without access to technology or internet and will provide more information as we learn more. 

We have also provided a list of online learning resources for families and students to support ongoing learning. 

We’re sure you have a lot of questions and concerns. We know you are concerned about your child’s academics. You want to know about marks, graduation requirements, post-secondary applications, and more. While we don’t have all of the answers today, we’re going to share as much as we can, and we will continue to keep you updated as we learn more. For now, it is important to focus on keeping our community safe and healthy. 

You may be concerned about your child’s emotional well-being. You can find tips on how to speak to your child about COVID-19 on our website.

Thank you for your ongoing support and patience. We will be sending follow-up communications as more information becomes available. For up-to-date information, please visit www.yrdsb.ca and the Board’s twitter feed @yrdsb.  On behalf of all of the Trustees and employees at  York Region District School Board, we wish you and your loved ones safety and health during these uncertain times.  


 

Sincerely, 

Juanita Nathan, Chair of the Board

Louise Sirisko, Director of Education


March 18, 2020

The Ontario Ministry of Education has given notice to cancel EQAO assessments for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. The Minister has stated that this decision will not affect students’ ability to graduate. The Ministry of Education has provided the information below for students graduating this year:  

For students who are graduating in the 2019-20 school year, the literacy graduation requirement as set out in Ontario Schools, Kindergarten to Grade 12: Policy and Program Requirements, 2016 will be waived. This applies to students in publicly-funded and private/First Nation schools. Students who are not graduating this school year will have the opportunity to write the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT) in the upcoming 2020-21 school year.”  

Ontario Ministry of Education.



​March 12, 2020

Dear families,

We have received notice from the Ontario Ministry of Education that all Ontario schools will remain closed for two weeks following the March break. All Ontario schools will be closed March 16 until April 5, 2020. This is in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19, which earlier this week was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization. All schools in York Region District School Board will be closed to students during this time. Schools are expected to reopen on April 6, 2020.​

Thank you for your ongoing support and patience. For up to date information, please visit www.yrdsb.ca and the Board’s twitter feed @yrdsb


Sincerely, 

Louise Sirisko

Director of Education​


Additional ​Information​

For additional information please visit York Region Public Heath's website: www.york.ca/covid19

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