Elementary In-Person Learning

The Ministry of Education has directed all elementary schools (JK to 8) in Ontario to reopen with a conventional in-person delivery model of teaching and instruction, with enhanced health and safety protocols in place. In this model students attend school full time, five days per week starting on September 14, 2020.

Elementary students will be grouped together in a cohort for the full day, including recess and lunch. School schedules will include staggered recess and lunch times in consistent larger groups of students.

In addition to being in a cohort, students will be continually supported and reminded to practice physical distancing, proper hand washing and respiratory etiquette. Students will require significant support to understand the new routines of hand washing practices and physical distancing. Our schools will be clearly marked to support these practices and staff will provide reminders and scheduled opportunities throughout the day.

Students in grades 4 through 8 will be required to wear a mask indoors. Masks are encouraged but not required for students in Kindergarten to grade 3. School administration will maintain records of all student contacts (both peer and teachers) during instructional times and recess/lunch breaks.

Instructional Expectations

  • Each day includes 300 minutes of face-to-face instructional time with students.
  • Timetables will limit, as best as possible, the number of specialty teachers, while maintaining delivery of all subject areas in the Ontario curriculum.
  • Kindergarten programs will continue to support play-based, inquiry and outdoor learning opportunities.
  • Increased outdoor learning opportunities will be encouraged.

Operational Expectations

  • School will begin and end at regular times.
  • Schedules will include time for washroom use/drinks/hand washing opportunities.
  • Staggering of recess and lunch will occur.
  • Contact points will be minimized throughout the day.

Staggered Start

The Ontario Ministry of Education has permitted Boards to allow for up to a two-week staggered start this year. This means that some students will begin on different dates and attend school in person on specific days.

A staggered start will help us ensure that all health and safety protocols are in place at our schools, allow students more time to learn new school routines in smaller group settings and help parents to adjust to the drop off and pick up routines with reduced congestion.

Each school will divide their student population into two groups, alphabetically, to keep families together. Group one will attend on Monday, September 14 and Tuesday, September 15, while group two will attend on Wednesday, September 16 and Thursday, September 17. All students would attend on Friday September 18th, 2020.

The schedule for students will be determined and sent to families as soon as possible. Parents and guardians should be prepared to make alternate child care arrangements for the first two weeks of the school year.

Sample schedule

Requests to Change Learning Models

Once school begins, if parents and guardians/students wish to change from Full Remote Learning to Elementary In-Person Learning/Secondary Adapted Learning (or vice versa), they will be permitted to change learning models at set points during the school year with advanced notification.

Elementary students will be permitted to change models on:

  • November 2, 2020 (with advanced notification by October 16, 2020)
  • February 8, 2021 (with advanced notification by January 22, 2021)

Please note: These dates were determined to align with the Ontario Elementary Reporting Periods. Advance notification is required for staffing purposes.

If a family/student requests a change of learning models at a time that is different than those stated above, the change will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. If the request is able to be accommodated, transition time will be required for planning purposes.



Our Full Day Kindergarten In-Person classes will continue to engage our youngest students in learning through play- based and inquiry opportunities.

The programs focus on children’s learning development within four frames (topics):

  • Belonging and Contributing
  • Self-Regulation and Well-Being
  • Demonstrating Literacy and Mathematics Behaviours
  • Problem Solving and Innovating

For Kindergarten students who select In-Person learning, active play-based learning opportunities will be provided outdoors, when possible. In the Kindergarten classroom, students will participate in engaging learning times, at several spaces around the classroom (not solely at a table or desk), with physical distancing measures in place.

What does In-person Kindergarten learning look like, sound like, and feel like in Thames Valley?  

As a board, we are committed to providing learning opportunities that build on the Ontario Ministry of Education Kindergarten Program. Inquiry and play-based learning focuses on development within four frames that align to how learning naturally happens:  

  1. Belonging and Contributing  

  1. Self-Regulation and Well-Being  

  1. Demonstrating Literacy and Mathematics Behaviours  

  1. Problem Solving and Innovating  

What will my child be doing during In-person Learning in the Kindergarten classroom?  

Children will:  

  • Participate in a variety of play-based and inquiry learning throughout the day that are planned by the educator team, with the interest, needs, and abilities of all learners at the forefront; 

  • Engage in large group, small group, and one-to-one learning to build meaningful relationships with children and educators in their class;  

  • Learn and participate in consistent routines around proper handwashing, physical distancing and safety protocols - these will become a natural extension to your child’s day as they practice these routines; through modeling, visual supports, poems, and the use of social scripts (stories about positive behaviours at school); 

  • Be prompted to follow health and safety protocol throughout the day (e.g., distancing, hand washing); 

  • Experience classroom environments that are set-up to promote building relationships, using materials that can be cleaned and sanitized easily;  

  • Frequently be learning outdoors; 

  • Have support getting dressed, with the intention of increasing independence; 

  • Bring individual lunches, snacks and water bottles to school each day.  There will be multiple opportunities throughout the day to eat, with sanitization taking place in between; 

  • Be assigned an individual coat hook/cubby where they may place their personal belongings each day.  

How are educator teams preparing to welcome my child to Kindergarten?  

Educator teams will: 

  • Be trained in COVID-19 related health and safety protocols; 

  • Develop a ‘flow of the day’ routine that allows for large blocks of time for children to play and learn indoors and outdoors, while ensuring opportunities to practice proper handwashing; 

  • Set up the classroom learning environment to foster a play-based and inquiry program with learning areas and materials that adhere to health and safety guidelines; 

  • Continue to plan and implement the Kindergarten program, with a focus on Belonging and Contributing and Self-Regulation and Well-Being; 

  • Be encouraged to increase learning in the outdoor spaces; 

  • Remove all non-approved materials from the classroom based on TVDSB health and safety protocol (e.g. costumes, soft toys etc.); 

  • Provide specific invitations to peak each child’s interest and expand their learning, using health and safety approved materials. 

What will the first weeks look like for my Kindergarten child?  
  • Kindergarten children will begin school the week of September 14. 

  • This change in start date is required to re-organize all of our schools based on the high number of families who have selected Full Remote Learning.   

  • Elementary students, who have selected to return to school in person, will begin with a staggered start the week of September 14. 

  • Your child's school will contact you by Friday, August 28 to inform you of which days your child will attend. All elementary students will attend on Friday, September 18.   

  • A smaller cohort of children will enter school on each of the days in order to help each child adjust to the environment and learn school day routines with support from their educator team;  

What Enhanced Safety Measures are being put in place to ensure the health and safety of my child and their educators?  

TVDSB has developed protocols in consultation with the Middlesex-London and Southwestern Public Health Units and is following the Ministry of Education Guide to Reopening Ontario’s Schools. These protocols and enhancements to health and safety at our schools can be found on our TVDSB website in our Return to Learn section – a resource document for our TVDSB Community. The most relevant information for our Kindergarten children includes: 

  • All students in Kindergarten to Grade 8 must wear masks/face coverings in school and on student transportation.  

  •  If a student requires a mask, the school will provide one. 

  • All high touch surfaces (e.g., door handles, railings, washrooms, etc.) will be cleaned and disinfected at least twice a day; 

  •  Children will learn and participate in consistent routines around proper handwashing, physical distancing and safety protocols;  

  • Children will proceed directly to their classes to perform hand hygiene; 

  • Items that cannot be easily disinfected (e.g., carpets, plush toys, costumes, soft surface materials etc.) have been removed from classrooms and only essential items will be permitted; 

  • Shared learning materials and tools will be limited; 

  • Any shared items will be cleaned/disinfected at the end of the day or before being used again; 

  • Parents can help by minimizing personal belongings sent to school, labelling any belongings and remind children they must not be shared; 

  • Nutritional breaks will take place in the classroom at the children's' assigned learning space or outdoors. No sharing of food or beverages; 

  • Children will stay together and move together in one cohort (group) throughout the day including nutrition breaks and recess; 

  • To maintain distance between children, staggered nutrition breaks, recesses, and transitions will be implemented; 

  • Until further notice, volunteers will not be permitted in classrooms. 

Helping your child be prepared for Kindergarten

Our parents and families play a vital role in promoting positive messages about attending school. When you are preparing your child for coming to school in the fall, reassure your child that school is a safe place to learn, play and grow. Practice hand washing, opening food containers, doing up zippers, putting on own shoes, opening lunch bag, and your morning routine.

Gradual Entry for Kindergarten Year One (K1) and New Year Two Students (K2)

Our JK (K1) and NEW K2 (SK) students will be supported through a process we refer to in TVDSB as gradual entry. Gradual entry means students who are new to the school (K1 students and new K2 students) start on different days throughout the first week (September 8-11), gradually as the week progresses. By Friday, September 11, 2020, all Kindergarten students will have started their year in the Full Day Kindergarten program. A specific schedule is provided to Kindergarten families by the school prior to the first day of school.

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