Update on Extension of School Closures and Next Steps

Update on Extension of School Closures and Next Steps
Posted on 04/01/2020
Update on Extension of School Closures and Next Steps

Dear OCDSB Families:

Today, the Government of Ontario announced that schools and child care centres will remain closed to students until Monday, May 4, 2020. As these dates come closer, this decision will be re-evaluated based on public health advice and the closure may be extended if necessary.

Commitment to Finishing the Academic Year

The learning needs of students from kindergarten to Grade 12 are a priority and there is a strong commitment to ensuring that all students can finish their academic year and be supported to advance to the next year or earn the credits they need to graduate. There is a very strong recognition of the unique needs of students in grades 11 and 12, ensuring no student will have their graduation compromised by COVID-19.

Phase 2 - Learning At Home

Beginning April 6th, students and staff at the OCDSB will move to the second phase of Learning At Home. Over the past two weeks, the OCDSB has been planning for this possibility. Today’s announcement and direction from the government will help to shape the plans that we have been working on.  

Ministry Expectations for Phase 2

The Ministry announced the following expectations for Phase 2 including:

  • Reconnecting students with teachers and other school staff, including mental health workers;
  • Re-establishing teacher-led learning by grade groupings as follows:
    • Kindergarten-Grade 3: five hours of work per student/week (focus on literacy and math)
    • Grades 4-6: five hours of work per student/week (focus on literacy, math, science and social studies)
    • Grades 7-8: 10 hours of work per student/week (focus on math, literacy, science and social studies)
    • Grades 9-12: three hours of work per course per week for semestered students; 1.5 hours of work per course per week for non-semestered students (focus on achieving credits/completion/graduation)
  • Leveraging digital resources and identifying alternative forms of teacher-student connectivity, such as phone and mail;
  • Developing a program of training for educators to support them in virtual learning delivery;
  • Requiring final report cards for all students;
  • Prioritizing and supporting students on track to graduate;
  • Distributing laptops and/or devices from schools as needed, while observing public health direction;
  • Maintaining a responsive posture for health care and community partner requests; and
  • Establishing formal COVID-19 working groups with education sector unions to work together, share ideas and to find solutions in the support of students.

You can read the full news release from the Ministry of Education here.

We know there are still many questions about the extended closure and what it means for your child, but this is a step forward in our progress. Together with our education and community partners, we are working out the details of this next step that recognize and support the needs of all learners. That includes working on plans to increase access to devices such as computers, tablets and portable wi-fi hotspots for families that need the supports; access to special education resources and supports; and access to meal programs and other community-based services that support the health and well-being of our community.

During this time, we continue to encourage everyone to follow Ottawa Public Health advice to stay home and practice physical distancing. As a reminder, you can visit our COVID-19 website for the latest updates, learning resources, frequently asked questions and mental health resources for families: ocdsb.ca/covid19.

Stay safe and be well.

Camille Williams-Taylor
Director of Education/Secretary to the Board

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