Re-Opening Information

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

You will receive information from your child’s school by September 2, 2020with 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

You will receive information from your child’s school by September 2, 2020with 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. The livestream link will be available on the Board website

We look forward to welcoming you back to school.

Louise Sirisko

Director of Education