December 31, 2020
Thank you for your patience and ongoing support as we continue doing our part to ensure the safety of our students and staff during this unprecedented time.
As you may be aware, the increased public health restrictions which commenced across Ontario on December 26, 2020 have impacted the return to school for January 2021.
While the Chief Medical Officer of Health has confirmed that transmission of COVID-19 in schools has been low, and schools remain a place for students to learn safely, the COVID-19 situation in Ontario continues to evolve rapidly.
With that in mind, the Ministry of Education, in collaboration with the Chief Medical Officer of Health has mandated the following:
Elementary and secondary school students province-wide will participate in remote learning from January 4-January 8, 2021. In-person instruction will not be permitted during this period.
- Elementary school students can return to in-person learning on Monday, January 11, 2021.
- Secondary school students will continue learning remotely until Monday, January 25, 2021, at which point they can resume in-person learning.
- Secondary students currently in a CO-OP will begin January 4 in remote learning with their CO-OP teacher until deemed appropriate to return to their placements.
- Grade 7/8 students at St. Paul Catholic Secondary School will follow elementary timelines.
- Those students already enrolled in remote learning through the ALCDSB Virtual School are not impacted by these changes and will continue their regular programming.
Similar to last spring, teachers and support staff will be available online during regular school hours to support your child's learning through the Microsoft TEAMS or D2L/Brightspace platform. Teachers will use a blend of synchronous and asynchronous strategies to facilitate learning and student engagement. Your classroom teacher will be in contact on the afternoon of January 4th to provide further information and material for students.
It is the goal for ALCDSB that our synchronous learning will commence after the distribution of technology to students, likely towards the middle of the week January 4th-8th, 2021.
Should you have any questions or concerns regarding your child's learning or require support in getting connected to the online classroom, please contact your child's teacher effective January 4th.
Supports for Students
ALCDSB has worked to ensure plans are in place to support students with special education needs through the capacity of Special Education Resource Teachers, Educational Assistants, and board professionals to support remote learning.
Most students with special education needs will be learning remotely during this period. While Secondary schools are closed, an exception will be made for Secondary school students enrolled in specialized classrooms. In-person learning will be available for Secondary school students in Life Skills Developmental Centres. Your school principal will contact you on Monday January 4th with further information.
Please be reminded that students who access services at the school and in the community-based classroom as per the individual education plan will continue to be connected to those services. Students will continue to have remote access to services, through the school, community child and youth mental health or local healthcare partners. In addition, mental health resources remain available to students and families, including Kids Help Phone, which offers 24/7 counselling and referral services across the province. To use this free resource, children can call 1-800-668-6868, or text CONNECT to 686868.
School Mental Health Ontario also has a number of great resources for students, parents and families on their website at www.smho-smso.ca. In addition, child and youth mental health agencies across the province continue to provide services.
Additional 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 in addition to their regular course timetable.
Schools will continue to provide access to their on-site childcare centres.
This is a challenging time for our Catholic learning communities, but I remain confident that through our collective efforts and commitment to following public health guidelines we can continue to build faith-filled learning communities where each member is loved, inspired and successful.
Director of Education