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School Reopening

 

 Return to School Plan - Digital Publication

 

Letters to Fa​​milies




Dear Families:

Thank you for your support as we work through COVID-19 school reopening.  We recognize that some families are requesting a change in their school program model from face to face learning to virtual school or from virtual school to face to face.  On Monday, September 21, we will share a School Model Change request form for families requesting a change.  

Only families requesting a school model change will need to complete this form.  The form must be completed by Tuesday, September 22 at 7 p.m. to be considered.   

We had previously communicated an elementary transition time at the end of October. We have adjusted this to provide the opportunity now and the best continuity of learning for our students throughout the remainder of the term.  There will not be another opportunity to change program models before the end of January 2021.   

Due to the complexity of the pending reorganization and staffing, your child may be assigned a new teacher.

Staff will continue to work diligently to provide the best program for each child and to comply with the reduced cohort class size targets.  Please note, however, that there may be changes prior to September 30, 2020. The number of combined grade classes may increase and the number of students within each class may increase.

You will be informed of any changes to your child’s class placement or program model through the school principal.

We thank you for your support, patience and cooperation.



 
 

September 13, 2020 - Elementary Virtual School (EVS)

Dear families,

Thank you for your ongoing patience as we launch our online Elementary Virtual School, which contains over 29,000 students across the Region. 

As we looked to complete this process and ensure that all students have access to live virtual learning, we have had to complete hiring and transfer of educators from in-person to the virtual environment and prepare technology. While we are continuing with our plan to provide a full day of online learning as projected on Monday, September 14, 2020, there are some classes which are not yet ready for live (synchronous) learning. With limited exceptions, we anticipate this process to be complete this week. We appreciate this can be inconvenient and frustrating for you; we appreciate your patience and cooperation as we work to address this quickly. 

Over the last few weeks, we have hired or transferred over 1,000 teachers to support the elementary virtual school and these class assignments are being finalized. If your child does not have an assigned teacher or a virtual environment developed by Monday morning, resources have been prepared by division (i.e., Kindergarten, Primary, Junior, Intermediate) that parents can access through the temporary Elementary Virtual School Activities website. The activities are age appropriate. Families can expect to receive more information before Wednesday, September 16, 2020. 

For those that have teachers assigned you can expect live (synchronous) learning to begin once their virtual classroom has been developed. However, given the requirement to create new classes and assign resources, this also means that, as we reorganize, your child’s current teacher may change. If your child has been placed in a class erroneously (e.g., French Immersion student placed in an English track), please contact your site administrator to correct their class placement. As the virtual school begins, we have established expectations for live (synchronous) learning for each Grade as outlined in the letter to you on September 9, 2020

Once again, we appreciate your patience and cooperation as we reopen learning for students in the new virtual school in a manner that is both safe and provides high quality instruction. We will continue to keep you up to date, please continue to visit the Elementary Virtual School website. On behalf of all educators, we look forward to seeing your children again and restarting the school year. 

Sincerely,

EVS Administration Team.



WEST

Virtual School 1

NORTH

Virtual School 2

Including East Schools: Aldergrove, Armadale, Beckett Farm, Cedarwood, Randall

EAST

Virtual School 3

CENTRAL

Virtual School 4

Emails

elementary.vs1@yrdsb.ca       

elementary.vs2@yrdsb.ca         

elementary.vs3@yrdsb.ca     

elementary.vs4@yrdsb.ca  

Site Administrators

Heather Zaitlin 

Rebecca Greaves

Stacey Taube

Bruce Baynham

Monica Wand

Priya Rajan

Aileen Matrakoukas

Heather Stevens

Nan Mantle

Helen Ou-Hingwan

Paul DeSousa

Julie C. Scott

Jordan Appelberg

Administrative Assistants

Traci Shatz

Josie Altieri

Cecilia Clarke

Elham Ebrahimi

Sheila Lau

Angela Tsigoulis



September 9, 2020 - Elemen​tary Schools

Dear Families, 


Over the summer, staff have been preparing for the safe return of your child to school. In August, families indicated their decision to send their children back to school following a face to face or virtual model of learning. Staff have reviewed families’ choices and are communicating information about cohorts, calendars and class placements as it is finalized. 


Students Attending in Person


Families with existing EDSBY accounts can access information about their child’s classroom placement through EDSBYInformation on how to sign up for EDSBY is available. Families who are new to the school will receive an invitation to join Edsby. If you do not receive an invitation or do not have an Edsby account, please contact your child’s school. 


Students attending Elementary Virtual (Remote) School


Families with children attending the Elementary Virtual School have been sent a separate message with information. Please refer to that email. If you did not receive a message from the elementary virtual school, please contact your home school.


Transfers between Virtual School and in-person school


As a reminder, schools have confirmed spaces in the virtual schools and home schools for all students.  At this time, no further transfers between the different models will occur.  Students and families requesting a transition between the online learning option and face-to-face option may be required to wait for specific entry points. In secondary schools, students will need to wait until the end of semester one (January 29, 2021), and in elementary, students will need to wait to the end of each reporting period (e.g., Progress Report in late October or early November, 2020).  After the school year begins for students, families will receive information on how to request a transfer between the models. At that time, please note that transfers will be dependent upon space and program availability. We appreciate this may be disappointing for some families, however, we’ve based our reopening strategy on a balance of health and safety, as well as teaching and learning benefits.  We are confident that each learning model that YRDSB students will participate in this year will be both safe and engaging. 



We look forward to welcoming students back to school.




Dear Families,


We hope that you and your families are healthy and keeping well during this time of global pandemic.  We look forward to welcoming our students into the Elementary Virtual School (EVS), which currently comprises over 28,000 students and over 1,000 staff members.


Our staff have been working closely with the Ministry of Education and York Region Public Health to plan for the 2020/2021 school year.  We thank you for your understanding and patience as we navigate through this unprecedented time in education.  We are committed to providing optimal learning experiences for our students and are working diligently to ensure inclusive and inviting learning environments for all our students.  Please visit our Elementary Virtual School (EVS) website for more information.

Orientation Days

We will  provide an update on the virtual school plan on Thursday, September 10 and Friday, September 11 that will ensure a supported entry for all our students.  Regularly scheduled classes will resume on Monday September 14.  

EVS Supported Entry Plan  - Orientation to the Elementary Virtual School (EVS)


Date Time Activity​
​Thursday, September 10 Link will be posted here by 1:00 p.m.  ​Part 1:  Focus on School Operations

Orientation for Supported Entry (30 minutes) followed by Asynchronous Activities for Students

​Friday, September 11 Links will be posted here by 1:00 p.m  ​Part 2: Focus on Curriculum

Orientation for Supported Entry (30 minutes) followed by Asynchronous Activities for Students

​Monday, September 14 ​8:45 am - 3:15 pm ​Full Day of Classes EVS 

 

Timetable/Class Placement Information

By noon on Sunday, your child’s teacher will be sending a welcome message to your child with more information including access to the Google Classroom that will be used as a platform for learning this year.  A schedule is below.


Elementary Virtual School (EVS) Schedule: K-8

Time

Mins

Days 1-5

8:45 - 9:35

50

Period 1

9:35 - 10:25

50

Period 2

10:25 - 10:55

30

Break

10:55 - 11:45

50

Period 3

11:45 - 12:35

50

Period 4

12:35 - 1:35

60

Lunch

1:35 - 2:25

50

Period 5

2:25 - 3:15

50

Period 6


Switching Between In-Person and Virtual Models of Learning

We appreciate that with new information and demands of this time, parents/guardians may wish to request a switch between the in-person and the virtual models of learning.  Transfers from in-person to virtual cannot be accommodated at this time. Elementary Virtual School (EVS) is timetabling and staffing and must work with the numbers that have been shared already to complete this process. Subject to the availability of space and program, additional transfer requests will be considered when the initial timetabling and staffing process is complete and we have had an opportunity to verify the data. Home schools will hold on to any past requests at this time which will be placed on a waitlist.  During the week of September 14, 2020, families will receive information on how to request a transfer between the models, i.e., online transfer request form.  Students new to YRDSB should be registered and timetabled in home schools, pending consideration of their request to attend EVS.  

French Immersion Update

EVS will offer French Immersion for Grades 1 to 8.  For primary EVS students, Grades 1 to 3, French Immersion students in the virtual school will receive 150 minutes of French instruction per day and 150 minutes of instruction in English per day.  Similarly, Grades 4 to 8 will receive this same amount of French and English daily instruction.  The provision of French instruction will enable us to meet the Ministry of Education requirements for French Immersion, while allowing maximum use of teachers with French qualifications to maintain the offering of French Immersion in EVS.

Core French

Students in the regular track in Grades 4 to 8 will be receiving 150 minutes of French Instruction each week.  This amount of time will meet the Ministry requirements of 600 minutes by the end of Grade 8.

Virtual School Digital Tool Supports for Families

To support you and your child accessing learning materials and synchronous learning tools through Google Classroom, a number of online resources are available:


For more digital tool resources, including video screencasts, please visit our parent resource page on the Board website.  In the near future, you will also be able access Frequently Asked Questions for families specific to the Elementary Virtual School (EVS).


If your child requires technology, families can make requests for devices and internet access by contacting their home school, who will then complete the request for technology on your behalf. If you require further technical supports for board provided devices, please fill out the Student Tech Help.  Students who are new to the board, or have forgotten their Username or Password, should contact their “home school” office staff to retrieve their Username and Password.



YRDSB held a Virtual Town Hall meeting recently in order to answer families' questions about our reopening plan.  It was live-streamed on Wednesday, September 2, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. Watch the Virtual Town Hall recording here.

Elementary​ Virtual Schools

Regional Principal:  Bernadette Smith

EOAA:  Margaret Burns


West​ ​North

East: Aldergrove, Armadale,
Beckett Farm, Cedarwood, Randall​
​East ​Central
​Emails elementary.vs1@yrdsb.ca elementary.vs2@yrdsb.ca   elementary.vs3@yrdsb.ca  elementary.vs4@yrdsb.ca 
Site Administrat​ors ​Heather Zaitlan 

Rebecca Greaves

Stacey Taube

​Bruce Baynham

Monica Wand

​Priya Rajan

​Heather Stevens

Nan Mantle

Helen Ou-Hingwan

​Paul DeSousa

Julie C. Scott

Jordan Appelberg

​Administrative Assistants ​Traci Shatz ​Josie Altieri

Cecilia Clarke

​Elham Ebrahimi

Sheila Lau

Angela Tsigoulis
  

Email:  elementary.vs@yrdsb.ca                           

Twitter:  @EVS_YRDSB 





Dear Secondary families, 

Over the summer, staff have been preparing for the safe return of your child to school. In August  families indicated their decision to send their children back to school following the adaptive or virtual model of learning. 


Staff are reviewing families’ choices and are in the process of confirming cohorts, calendars and timetables. To support learning this year, students will become familiar with and access a number of digital resources and tools.


Google and Teach​Assist 

The first step for all students is to ensure that they have access to our Google Applications (GAPPS).  All secondary students (Grades 9-12)  will need access to their Google email and the Google Learning Platform.

All students are provided with a unique email and password for their ease of access and security. All student passwords follow the similar format: 

User Name:  12345568@gapps.yrdsb.ca 

Password:     XXXXXXXXXX


Students who are new to the board, or have forgotten their Username or Password, should contact their “home school” office staff to retrieve their Username and Password.


On September 8 or 9, students will receive an email to their GAPPS email account. They will receive a separate invitation for each course. 

Students in Grades 10-12 are likely familiar with the TeachAssist program used in all our schools. TeachAssist is available to all students in Grades 9-12 and provides easy access to course timetables, teacher contacts, calendars and course grades.  In TeachAssist, students use their student number as their user ID, and their password is the same board provided password. 


Tip sheets, videos and resources to support families using some of these digital platforms are available on the Board website, including how to access your GAPPS email account


Grad​e 9 Students

On September 8, after 5:30 p.m., students in Grade 9 will be able to login to TeachAssist using their Username and Password to access their school timetable information. Cohort information will be provided at this time. All students will be placed in either Cohort A or B, identifying which days they will attend face-to-face. Please note that new cohorts are created for each face-to-face class.  


Students in Cohort A will have classes with section numbers from 1 through 49 and students in Cohort B will have classes with section numbers from 51 - 99. 

For example:

​First Day of School
Corhort ​A
September 10
Cohort B​
September 11
English​ ​​​​ ​ENG1D1 -01 ENG1D1 -51
​French FSF1P1 - 03​ FSF1P1 - 53

Grade 9 Students in Cohort A (section numbers 1-49) will attend school on Thursday September 10 for their first face-to-face class.  In the afternoon, students will continue learning online for their blocks 2 - 4 classes.  Students in Cohort A return to school and begin their regular schedule on Monday, September 14. 

Grade 9 Students in Cohort B (section numbers 51-99) will attend school on Friday, September 11 for their first face-to-face class.  In the afternoon, students will return home and continue to learn remotely for their blocks 2 - 4 classes.   Students in Cohort B return to school and begin their regular schedule on Tuesday, September 15


TeachAssist will also provide a student calendar to assist students.  Students moving from Grade 8 to Grade 9 can use their existing Username and Password to access information through TeachAssist.  


Grades 10-12 Students

On September 9, after 5:00 p.m, students in Grade 10-12 will be able to login to TeachAssist using their Username and Password to access their school timetable information. Cohort information will be provided at this time. All students will be placed in either Cohort A or B, identifying which days they will attend face-to-face.  


Students in Cohort A will have classes with section numbers from 1 through 49 and students in Cohort B will have classes with section numbers from 51 - 99.  

For example:

SAMPLE Cohort A Cohort B
English ENG2D1 - 01 ​ENG2D1 - 51
Visual Arts​ ​​AWQ201 - 06​ AWQ201 - 56​​

Students in grades 10 - 12 will start school remotely on September 10.  Classroom teachers will individually email students invitations to their GAPPS accounts.
  • Cohort A (section numbers 1-49) begin Face-to-Face school starting on Monday, September 14.  
  • Cohort B (section numbers 51-99) begin Face-to-Face school starting on Tuesday, September 15. ​

Grades 9-12 Course Change Requests

Secondary schools will share information regarding their “Course Change Request” process. Course change requests will be dependent upon space and program availability. Please note that course changes during the first face-to-face rotation will be limited due to health and safety considerations. 


Transfers between Virtual School and in-person school

As a reminder, schools have confirmed spaces in the virtual schools and home schools for all students.  At this time, no further transfers between the different models will occur.  Students and families requesting a transition between the online learning option and face-to-face option may be required to wait for specific entry points. In secondary schools, students will need to wait until the end of semester one (January 29, 2021), and in elementary, students will need to wait to the end of each reporting period (e.g., Progress Report in late October or early November, 2020).  


During the week of September 14, 2020, families will receive information on how to request a transfer between the models, i.e., online transfer request form. At that time, please note that transfers will be dependent upon space and program availability. We appreciate this may be disappointing for some families, however, we’ve based our reopening strategy on a balance of health and safety, as well as teaching and learning benefits.  We are confident that each learning model that YRDSB students will participate in this year will be both safe and engaging. 


Study Hall for in-person schools

Please note that the study hall for those students who require it, will start on September 16, 2020 for cohort A and September 17, 2020 for cohort B. Your school will survey students directly to determine the need for the study hall option and to ensure cohorts are maintained. Study hall is for those who have a need for internet access to stay in the school building for lunch and the afternoon of online learning for their in-person day. As a reminder, the teacher(s) conducting the online afternoon courses will not supervise students opting for the study hall. Students that need technology support (e.g. loaning of equipment) should contact their schools directly. 


We appreciate your patience and understanding as we work to finalize student timetables and cohorts. We are looking forward to welcoming students back to school.




Dear elementary school families, 


We look forward to welcoming students back to school, whether they are attending in person or participating in online learning. Following updates from the Ministry of Education, we are sharing some additional information about the start of the school year and elementary school classrooms. 

Supported Entry 

The Ministry of Education is allowing school boards to stagger the return to school during the first two weeks of school. This will give school staff additional time to prepare the school for your child’s return and give students time to learn and practice new health and safety measures in smaller groups. Welcoming students back in smaller groups will enable educators to better help students transition back to school and to new school routines. 

Kindergarten

  • Students in Year 2 Kindergarten will start school Thursday, September 10, 2020. They will attend school every day.

  • Students in Year 1 Kindergarten will start school Monday, September 14 or Tuesday, September 15, 2020.

    • Students will be divided into two groups by last name alphabetically and go to school on alternate days (i.e. students attend for a full day on September 14 and 16 or September 15 and 17). 

    • All Year 1 Kindergarten students will begin attending school every day on Friday, September 18.

  • All Kindergarten students who are placed in a community class will be invited to attend all day every day beginning on September 10th. 


You will receive information from your child’s school by September 2, 2020 with specifics regarding attendance associated with last names. In determining groups, consideration will be given to siblings, transportation, and before and after care programming. While unlikely, please note that in the event of unforeseen or emergency circumstances, these start dates may change - if this occurs, we will notify you immediately. 

Grades 1-8

  • Students will start school on Thursday, September 10 or Friday, September 11, 2020

  • Students will be divided into two groups by last name alphabetically and go to school on alternate days for the first four days (i.e. your child will attend school on September 10 and 14 or September 11 and 15).

  • All students in Grades 1-8 will begin attending school every day on Wednesday, September 16. 

  • All students in a community class, with the exception of gifted community classes, will be invited to attend all day, every day beginning on September 10th.  Students in gifted community classes will attend in cohorted groups.


You will receive information from your child’s school by September 2, 2020 with specifics regarding attendance associated with last names. In determining groups, consideration will be given to siblings, transportation, and before and after care programming. While unlikely, please note that in the event of unforeseen or emergency circumstances, these start dates may change - if this occurs, we will notify you immediately. 

Remote/Virtual Learning

The first day of virtual learning will be Thursday, September 10, 2020.

Elementary Class Sizes

The Ministry of Education is allowing school boards to access reserve funds to lower elementary class sizes. We are attempting to minimize class sizes in elementary schools as much as possible with the space and funds we can access.  The Board is allocating $15.25 million to hire additional teachers and educational assistant support. More information on class sizes will be available as the timetabling process concludes. 

Lunch and Recess

Students will remain with their class cohort throughout the day, including for recess and lunch to limit student contacts. Students are encouraged to stay at school for lunch. For additional information about what to expect in elementary school classrooms, please see the Board’s website at www.yrdsb.ca/school-reopening

Remote/Virtual Learning

For students attending school fully online:

  • Kindergarten students will have a minimum of 180 minutes a day out of a 300-minute day of real-time, live (synchronous) learning with a teacher. Any remaining time will be asynchronous (not live) learning. 

  • Grades 1-8 students will have a minimum of 225 minutes out of a 300-minute day of real-time, live (synchronous) learning with a teacher. Any remaining time will be asynchronous (not live) learning. 

  • Learning will follow the Ontario curriculum and follow teaching patterns similar to a regular classroom such as small and large group learning opportunities, with students engaging with their teacher and classmates. 

  • Students will receive a daily schedule or timetable that includes breaks and time for lunch.  

  • We are working to finalize plans to provide French Immersion and specialty course programming in remote/virtual learning.  While we remain cautiously optimistic, given the changing context and focus on maintaining health and safety protocols, we cannot provide a guarantee at this time on specialty optional programs. However, if its provision is not possible this year, this will not negatively affect their attendance in the program the following 2021-22 school year. We will update you as soon as possible.

Additional Information 

  • We will support transitions between the two models (remote online learning and in-person learning) as space allows. However, families requesting a transition between online learning and face-to-face learning may be required to wait for a specific entry point, such as the end of a reporting period. 

  • Supporting students with special education needs is a priority in both learning models. Special education staff will continue to support students in both models. 

  • Students in Grades 4-8 are required to wear non-medical or cloth masks. It is strongly recommended that students in Kindergarten to Grade 3 wear non-medical or cloth masks. 

  • On a daily basis, parents/guardians of students under 18 and students over 18 are responsible to review and adhere to the checklist from York Region Public Health.

  • For more information on health and safety measures, please visit the Board website. 

  • Earlier today, the Ministry of Education released its COVID-19 Management in Schools Guide. We will be reviewing this information and updating our plans. We will share additional information as it becomes available.   


We know that families have many questions about the return to school, and we will continue to share information with you as it becomes available and to share information, videos and resources on our Board website at www.yrdsb.ca/school-reopening. Please also read this letter from the Minister of Education. In addition to ongoing direct messaging and information posted to our website, we are planning a virtual town hall for families on September 2, 2020 from 5:00-6:30 p.m. If you have a question you would like us to answer during the virtual town hall, please submit them via the online form


We look forward to welcoming you back to school. 




 


Dear secondary school families, 


We look forward to welcoming students back to school, whether they are attending in person or participating in online learning. Following updates from the Ministry of Education, we are sharing some additional information about the start of the school year and elementary school classrooms. 


Supported Entry


The Ministry of Education is allowing school boards to stagger the return to school during the first two weeks of school. This will give educators additional time to prepare the school for your child’s return and enable us to transition students back to school in a supported way.


This means that the first day of school for your child will be September 10 or 11. You will receive information from your child’s school clarifying which date your child will return. 


This will offer opportunities for students to practice and understand new health and safety practices to promote a secure entry into the new school year. The following timelines are still to be considered draft. Finalized supported entry timelines will be shared with families shortly.


Thursday, September 10, 2020

Grade 9 Cohort A

Students in Grade 9 Cohort A will attend school in the morning on Thursday, September 10, 2020 and participate in virtual Grade 9 activities in the afternoon.


Grades 10-12 Cohorts A&B

Compressed online schedule for all courses 


Students in highly supported Special Education Community Classes  (Autism, Multiple Exceptionality, Developmental Disability, Complex Needs, Acquired Brain Injury) will be invited to begin all day, every day on September 10th. Secondary students in Gifted placements will be following their school schedule.


Virtual School

AM: Grade 9 only. 

PM: Grade 9 Activities; Grades 10 to 12 - Compressed schedule for all courses.


Friday, September 11, 2020

Grade 9 Cohort B

Students in Grade 9 Cohort B will attend school in the morning on Thursday, September 11, 2020 and participate in virtual activities in the afternoon.


Grades 10-12 Cohort A&B

Compressed online schedule for all courses. 


Virtual School

Regular schedule for all online students.


Monday, September 14, 2020


The regular school schedule for all students, both face-to-face and virtual, will begin on Monday, September 14, 2020. 


You can visit our website for sample supported entry calendars


You will receive information from your child’s school identifying their cohort and the dates they will be attending school. In determining groups, consideration will be given to siblings and transportation. 

Adaptive Model - in-school learning timetables

Sample timetables are available on the Board’s websit​e. Schools are finalizing individual student timetables and those will be provided by the schools. The province’s Ministry of Education has identified York Region as a designated area, which means secondary school students must be limited to cohorts of approximately 15 and direct and indirect contacts of approximately 100. On alternate days, students will attend in a classroom for one subject for 150 minutes and every day will have three online 50 minute periods including synchronous (live) online opportunities for students to engage with teachers and peers in real time. In addition, on days in which students attend in-person, those that require to, may also opt to remain in school for a “study hall” to conduct the online courses. This option will support students who need access to broadband. While supervision is provided, students will not be supervised by the teachers conducting the online course, as students attending study hall will remain in cohorts. Over a two-day cycle, the YRDSB model provides students with a potential 450 minutes, or 75 per cent of the time with live instruction with a teacher over the total 600 minutes of the two school days. 


In developing our adaptive model, the Board considered feedback from families received over the summer that indicated a strong preference to real time access to teachers. The model being provided by YRDSB provides additional learning time over the course of the semester, including in-class learning, compared to some other models reviewed and allows for a smoother transition to a conventional learning model if public health determines it is safe to do so. Sample timetables​ are available on the board’s website. ​

Remote/Virtual Learning

For students attending school fully online:

  • Students in Grades 9-12 will have a minimum of 60 minutes of real-time, live (synchronous) learning with a teacher for each 75-minute period.

  • Learning will follow the Ontario curriculum and follow teaching patterns similar to a regular classroom such as small and large group learning opportunities, with students engaging with their teacher and classmates. 

  • Students will receive a daily schedule or timetable that includes breaks and time for lunch.  

  • We are working to finalize plans to provide French Immersion and specialty course programming (e.g. AP, Co-op) in remote/virtual learning.  While we remain cautiously optimistic, given the changing context and focus on maintaining health and safety protocols, we cannot provide a guarantee at this time on specialty optional programs. However, if its provision is not possible this year, this will not negatively affect their attendance in YRDSB programs the following 2021-22 school year. We will provide updates as soon as possible. 

 Additional Information 

  • We will support transitions between the two models as space allows. However, families requesting a transition between online learning and face-to-face learning may be required to wait for a specific entry point, such as the end of a reporting period. 

  • Supporting students with special education needs is a priority for us in both learning models. Special education staff will continue to support students in both models. 

  • Secondary school students are required to wear non-medical or cloth masks. 

  • On a daily basis, parents/guardians of students under 18 and students over 18 are responsible to review and adhere to the checklist from York Region Public Health.

  • For more information on health and safety measures, please visit the Board website. 

  • Earlier today, the Ministry of Education released its COVID-19 Management in Schools Guide. We will be reviewing this information and updating our plans. We will share additional information as it becomes available.   


We know that families have many questions about the return to school, and we will continue to share information with you as it becomes available and to share information, videos and resources on our Board website at www.yrdsb.ca/school-reopeningPlease also read this letter from the Minister of Education.​ In addition to ongoing direct messaging and information posted to our website, we are planning a virtual town hall for families on September 2, 2020 from 5:00- 6:30 p.m. If you have a question you would like us to answer during the virtual town hall, please submit them via the online form


We look forward to welcoming you back to school.



Dear families, 


Thank you for submitting your registration form for reopening. If you have not submitted your form, school staff will be reaching out to you to confirm your child’s classroom placement. We are analyzing the choices of families and planning for online and in-person school attendance. As our plans become finalized, we will communicate them to you.  We are looking at all ways to reduce class sizes as much as possible for in-person learning in elementary schools and will be maximizing physical distancing in all classrooms.  Student and staff safety is our top priority. 


This week, we received confirmation from the Ministry of Education that we could proceed with our adaptive learning model for secondary school students. Our model complies with the requirements set out by the Ministry. 


The timetables previously shared with families will not change, other than small timing adjustments which have been updated in our Secondary Programs: Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment section of the website. Students who have opted to attend school in person can expect to attend school on alternating days. On the days they attend school, students will have 150 minutes of in-class learning at the start of the school day in one course, and three 50-minute periods of online learning in the afternoon. This scheduling model of in person and online learning time is aligned with most other adaptive school boards in the province. Each afternoon learning period will include live, online (synchronous) learning with their teacher.  


 The Board is also introducing an optional study hall for students on the days that are attending school in person. The study hall will offer a space in the school where students may attend their online periods to access the school wifi. Students must exercise physical distancing and will be supervised by a member of staff. Students must arrange their own transportation home after leaving the study hall and will be expected to leave school promptly at the end of the school day. The Board will also continue to support students who require access to technology and data by providing equipment.


Student and staff safety remains our top priority. The Board reviewed a number of different adaptive secondary learning models. The four course model chosen minimizes contact between cohorts of students as they will be attending class with only one cohort each day during a rotation. It focuses on student safety and meets the requirements that students remain in cohorts of 15 and that direct and indirect contact of students is limited to 100.  It also provides additional learning time over the course of the semester, including in-class learning, compared to some other models and allows for a more smooth transition to a conventional learning model if public health determines it is safe to do so. The four course model maximizes safety and teaching is paced to provide more time for learning and assessment.


In addition, we are finalizing staff training on safety protocols, including masking.  We are awaiting the provincial outbreak protocol and will be ensuring that our local plans uphold these expectations. We have developed resources for educators that focus on student well-being and promote discussion and understanding of how the pandemic has affected students and families differently. We recognize that the pandemic has significantly affected all families, students and staff.  Our reopening is designed to provide routine, reestablish classrooms as places where caring adults can nurture positive and trusting relationships with your children and have them learn to their greatest potential.


We will continue to communicate with you in the days and weeks ahead to keep you well informed.  We are planning a staggered entry for elementary and secondary schools to help students learn routines and become familiar with their new learning environments. More information about our plan for a staggered entry will be available soon. We are excited to welcome your child(ren) back to school.  We have missed them and I know they are eager to return too, whether that be online or in class.  The safety of our students and staff will continue to be at the centre of our decision making, as is our relationship with you.


Sincerely,


Louise Sirisko,

Director of Education




 


Dear families, 


We are looking ahead to a very different start to the school year. We appreciate that you have a lot of questions and are looking for as much information as possible to help you plan for September. We continue to connect with both our local public health authorities and the Ministry of Education in finalizing our plans for the school year. In all of our planning, the health and well-being of our students and staff members remains at the forefront. 

Reopening Registration Form

As outlined in an email to families on July 30, we are asking all families to complete a Re​opening Registration Form​ (that you will receive by email) to indicate your intention for each of your children to attend school in person or through online remote learning.


Families with more than one child will receive more than one invitation to this form.  Please complete a separate form for each child attending our schools. 


For those eligible for transportation, the form also includes the ability to opt-out of this service. Where possible, parents are asked to arrange their own transportation to and from school for their children. 


Please complete this form for each child by August 14, 2020 by 5:00 p.m. 

School Models 

Elementary School Model

The Ministry of Education has indicated that elementary students in Kindergarten to Grade 8 will attend school five days per week.  School schedules, including start and end times, will remain the same. Regular class sizes will be maintained. Students will remain in their classes as one cohort (or group). Specialized teachers (e.g., French, The Arts) will still be joining classrooms to provide the full breadth of programming for students.  Recess and lunch will be staggered to adhere to cohort guidelines.   

Elementary Online Learning 

Families can make the decision to send their child to school or engage in remote online learning. Online learning will be available for students who do not return to school physically. Students will be able to engage in online learning, including real-time live sessions directed by a teacher in a scheduled manner similar to day school. Specific remote learning classes will be created and taught by teachers available to the system. This means that your child may be taught online by teachers who are not connected to your child’s school.

Please note that, in order to maintain safety and appropriate cohorts, children whose families opt for online learning in September may be required to wait for a specific entry point (e.g., end of a reporting period) to return to in-person learning at school. We will also support transitions between face-to-face and online learning when possible as space allows. 

Secondary School Model

As directed by the Ministry of Education, secondary schools in York Region will open using an Adaptive Model to support student learning.  In this adapted model, students will continue with their scheduled classes through a modified school schedule that includes both synchronous (real time) and asynchronous learning during the school day.

In the morning, attending cohorts will be in schools for in-person face-to-face learning with their teachers. Students will leave the school and later engage in live online learning for their afternoon classes with the entire class. On non-attending days, students will engage in asynchronous and/or synchronous learning in the morning and then engage in their afternoon classes through live online learning with the entire class. School specific information on school times will be available to families in the near future as details are finalized.

This model minimizes contact between cohorts of students as they will be attending class with only one cohort each day during a rotation. Schools can use their existing timetables to build student timetables in this model. Over the full semester, this model provides additional learning time, including in-class learning, as compared to other adaptive models that were reviewed.

You can find sample timetables for four-course and five-course schools posted today on our Board website. This information will be shared this week with families.

Secondary Online Support

In addition, families can also make the decision to send their child to school or engage in remote online learning.  Online learning will be available for students who do not return to school physically.  Specific remote learning classes will be created and taught by teachers  who are available to the system and who may not be normally connected to the school.  Students will be able to engage in live online learning with teachers available to the system scheduled in a manner similar to day schools. 

Please note that, in order to maintain safety and appropriate cohorts, children whose families opt for online learning in September will be required to wait to specific reporting cycles (e.g., beginning of Semester 2) to return to in-person learning at school.  Note, not all courses may be available online.  

Updates


We will continue to share information with you regularly, and update our Board website with information about: health and safety measures, program and curriculum information, special education supports, transportation and more. You can also access a letter from the Ministry of Education. We will also soon be posting a digital publication on our website that outlines our Return to School Plan. 


Thank you for taking the time to complete the important Reopening Registration Form. The information will help inform our planning and be used to support the creation of remote classes for students. 


I also want to thank families for their patience and understanding as we work to finalize learning models that will best support student learning, achievement and well-being, while meeting Ministry of Education and public health guidelines and adhering to health and safety measures. While the school year may look different, we have truly missed our students over the past few months, and are looking forward to welcoming them back to school in September. 


Louise Sirisko

Director of Education




Dear families, 

On Thursday, July 30, 2020, the Minister of Education announced that elementary schools will open for conventional in-person delivery of teaching and instruction, five days a week. This means students in full cohorts will be attending. Secondary schools will open on an adapted model, with class cohorts of approximately 15 students, on alternating schedules with at least 50 per cent of in-class instructional days.​

Our Board has been working on developing plans to support the safe reopening of schools for our students and staff members. We appreciate that these are uncertain times and you will have questions and concerns about the process for reopening. We will continue to prioritize health and safety and take measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 through the reopening of schools. Today, we are sharing with you additional details about our planning and will continue to provide you with updates as they become available. The full details of this update are available on the Board’s website, and we have also included some information in this email. 


Teaching and C​urriculum

Instruction will be provided in all subject areas as outlined in the Ontario Curriculum. As a result of health and safety measures, some of our curriculum delivery may be modified to meet the needs of our students and staff members. These changes are based on guidelines and advice from Public Health, the provincial Ministry of Education and our goal of offering high-quality public education for all. For more subject-specific information about modifications, including for elementary and secondary schools, please visit the Board’s website

School Schedules and Tim​etables

In elementary school, the Ministry of Education has indicated that elementary students in Kindergarten to Grade 8 will attend school five days per week for the full day of learning in one cohort. More information on timetabling will be available to families in the near future as details are finalized. In addition, families can also make the decision to send their child to school or engage in remote online learning. Online learning will be available for students who do not return to school physically. Please note that, in order to maintain safety and appropriate cohorts, children whose families opt for online learning in September may be required to wait for a specific entry point (e.g., an entire term) to return to in-person learning at school.

In secondary school, as directed by the Ministry of Education, secondary schools in York Region will open using an Adaptive Model to support student learning.  In this model, all in person face-to-face classes will have a cohort limit of approximately 15 students at one time.  Students physically attend school on alternating schedules, which may mean attending on alternate days for at least 50 per cent of the instructional day(s). Secondary school students in this adapted model receive an opportunity for both synchronous and asynchronous learning during the school day. York Region District School Board staff are currently reviewing the Ministry announcement and guidance documents to finalize its plans for the adaptive model in secondary schools and will provide additional information as it becomes available.  Online learning will be available for students who do not return to school physically. Please note that, in order to maintain safety and appropriate cohorts, children whose families opt for online learning in September may be required to wait for a specific entry point (e.g., an entire semester) to return to in-person learning at school.

Pre-Registr​ation Form

Next week, you will receive a pre-registration form from YRDSB asking families to indicate their intention for students to participate in person at school or through remote learning. For those eligible for transportation, the form will also include the ability to opt-out of this service. Where possible, parents are asked to arrange their own transportation to and from school for their children. 

Health and Safe​ty Protocols

We continue to work closely with public health authorities and follow their direction and advice. The following measures will be in place in our schools to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health and well-being of our students, staff members and families. For additional details, please visit the Board’s website:

  • Face coverings (PPE) - Parents/guardians will be expected to provide their child with a personal face covering (non-medical mask) to wear at school to reduce the spread of their own respiratory droplets to protect others. In Grades 4 to 12, students will wear non-medical or cloth masks while in school. In Kindergarten to Grade 3 non-medical or cloth masks are strongly encouraged for students.

  • Self-assessment - On a daily basis, parents/guardians of students under 18 and students over 18 are responsible to review and adhere to the COVID-19 self-assessment instructions that will be provided by York Region Public Health. Any student experiencing COVID-19 symptoms is required to remain home.

  • Hand washing and sanitizing - A hand sanitizing station will be placed in the front lobby of the school and in classrooms. Students are not encouraged to bring their own hand sanitizer. Students and staff members will wash their hands or use hand sanitizer regularly, including when they enter the classroom, before and after lunch and recess, after using the washroom or touching shared objects or common touch spots. 

  • Cleaning and disinfection - Additional cleaning measures will be put in place in schools, including twice-daily cleaning and disinfection of high touch surfaces, in line with public health guidelines. 

  • Movement around the school - Directional signs and stickers will be installed throughout the schools to minimize close contact between students. 

  • Visitors - Until further notice, visitor(s) are not to enter the school during hours of operation unless identified through a prearranged exception. If you need to attend the school, please contact the principal to make arrangements. Accommodations will be made in emergency situations. All visitors must comply with safety protocols. 

  • Lunch - Please ensure your child brings their lunch and snacks required for their day at school. Lunch drop-offs will not be available, including access to lunch delivery services. Until further notice, secondary school cafeterias will be closed and food services will not be provided. 

  • Water fountains - Students are encouraged to bring reusable water bottles and to use the fill stations in schools. 

  • Breakfast, snack and milk programs - These nutrition programs will continue with enhanced safety protocols.

  • Returning school equipment - Students who have borrowed learning resources such as textbooks are asked to return them to the school as early as possible in the school year. Students who borrowed technology devices for remote learning may hold them until the protocol for their return is announced. 

  • Lockers - Until further notice, the use of lockers will not be permitted. Use of hooks and cubbies in elementary schools is permitted. 

  • Extra-curricular activities and field trips - Until further notice, extra-curricular activities (such as sports and clubs) and field trips are cancelled. 

  • Kindergarten - More information is available on the Board’s website. 

  • Guidance (secondary) - Meetings with guidance will continue virtually where possible. 


Special E​ducation

In partnership with families, schools will be working alongside the Board’s Student Services department and Regulated Health Professionals to plan for a safe return to school and the provision of safe and appropriate support for students with special education needs. This will be accomplished through collaboration and consultation between schools and families. More information regarding Special Education is available on the Board’s website.  

 

Transportatio​n (Busing and Taxi Service)

Transportation services will continue with modified ridership and safety and cleaning protocols. Those eligible for transportation may opt-out of transportation services through the reopening online form provided to families next week. More information on routes, bus stops and timing will be available prior to the school year start. You may see some frequently asked questions about transportation on the Board’s website

We know that families may have questions beyond the information in this letter and on our website. We will continue to provide updates and additional resources as information becomes available. As always, we will maintain student and staff safety at the forefront of our planning and decision making. Next week, you will receive information about completing the return to school forms, we hope you take the time to complete it so that we can tailor services in accordance with your plans. 

Please know that while this school year may look different in many ways, our commitment to supporting student well-being, learning and achievement has not changed, and we look forward to supporting your child’s transition back to school and learning, and to reconnecting with our students and families.

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 Key Principles Informing the YRDSB​ Approach

 
Prioritize student and staff safety - all plans must adopt the safety measures recommended by the provincial Chief Medical Officer of Health/Ministry of Health and the local York Region public health unit.
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Well-Being - we must centre the well-being of students, families and staff in this difficult time.

Continued Commitment to Equity - we must continue to centre the strengths, needs and interests of students and families who are marginalized or vulnerable as we plan and deliver learning in this new context.
Flexibility and Adaptability - each of our models needs to enable us  to quickly and effectively move between them to minimize learning disruption for students.
Continued professional learning - teachers have developed the skills to teach in an online learning environment and we will continue to provide centrally developed professional learning to enhance their professional knowledge and skills.
Trust Teachers - we must trust the professional knowledge and judgement of teachers; they know their students, including prior learning, strengths, needs and interests.
Communication - Ongoing communication with students, families and colleagues is key and builds public confidence.
Collaboration - our plans must include planning with transportation, neighbouring boards and daycare providers.
Fiscal responsibility - our plans must be financially feasible and sustainable and we must track and communicate the costs of the pandemic to levels of government.
High Expectations - in all models, some students will be learning exclusively online; the adaptive model will​ reduce face-to-face instruction; we must provide instruction that maximizes student engagement and learning.​​