What are the guidelines for secondary music programming?

A) Secondary Music Programming (students enrolled in music courses) 

On the guidance of our local public health units, we have recently revised our protocols for music instruction for secondary students. These are as follows:  


  • Singing indoors is only permitted within a cohort. 
  • Masking and physical distancing are required. 
  • The use of wind instruments is permitted indoors only in well-ventilated places and ensuring physical distancing of at least 2 metres between students. 

Repertoire (instruments and/or vocal): 

  • All repertoire classes must occur virtually as we have strict direction from the Ministry of Education indicating that only two instructional cohorts may occur daily. 

(B) Secondary Music Extracurricular  

The following is an update on enhanced measures for extracurricular activities for students participating in bands, choirs, etc.:  

  • Extracurricular singing/choir may only take place outdoors with masking and physical distancing. 
  • Extracurricular music with wind instruments may take place outdoors with physical distancing maintained between cohorts or indoors in well-ventilated spaces and if physical distancing of at least 2 metres is maintained. 
Are elementary extracurriculars allowed?
Over the course of the next few weeks, planning will continue to support extracurricular activities for elementary students (i.e., athletics, clubs, music). Please note these are currently not in place yet in our schools. More information will follow. 
What are the guidelines for elementary music?
On the guidance of our local public health units, Thames Valley has recently revised our protocols for music instruction for elementary students. These are as follows: 
• Singing indoors is only permitted within a cohort (class). 
• Masking and physical distancing are required. 
• The use of wind instruments is permitted indoors only in well-ventilated places and ensuring physical distancing of students. 
• Masking is required if physical distancing is not maintained among individuals within a cohort (class). 
• Singing is permitted outdoors with physical distancing maintained between cohorts; please note, this would be for choirs, when they commence at TVDSB schools. 
Why are you requiring staff and students to mask, even if they are double vaccinated?

Masking and hand hygiene are among the most important protective strategies to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

All students (Kindergarten to Grade 12+) will be required to wear masks indoors in school, including in hallways and during classes, as well as on school vehicles. This aligns with the provincial direction and the Thames Valley District School Board motion of the Board of Trustees in August 2020 which included masking for our Kindergarten students (JK and SK)Our staff are committed to working to support our youngest learners to wear masks at school during their transition to school.

Masks may be temporarily removed indoors to eat and drink, and while outdoors for recess. 

The provincial guidelines state specifically that masks are mandatory for grade one and up. TVDSB is requiring kindergarten students to wear a mask. Please help me understand this discrepancy.
The Ministry of Education mandated masks for students Grade 1-12. The TVDSB Board of Trustees approved a motion in August 2020 to extend the use of masks to all students, including Kindergarten. This motion remains in effect this school year. For our students who may find wearing a mask to be a challenge, our TVDSB staff are committed to supporting these learners with mask wearing and understanding why wearing a mask at school indoors is important.  
Will school cafeterias serve food in September?
School cafeterias will be open beginning September 7 for student use, with limited capacity and requirements for physical distancing. We expect food services and the selling of food items to resume later in the fall of 2021. More details will be provided by individual schools that have food services in cafeterias. 
Are carpets/couches/furniture allowed in kindergarten classrooms? 
We are required to continue to ensure space in classrooms is prioritized to programming needs and allowing space, where possible, for physical distancing. Therefore, some furniture will continue to remain in our classrooms to support programming needs. Carpets may be returned, where possible, to some classrooms; this will be site specific. 
Will my secondary student be able to use their locker?
Thames Valley schools with lockers will be able to allow them to be used by students this school year. School plans will be developed to provide as much physical distancing as possible during transition times when students would be accessing their lockers. 
Will Secondary extracurricular activities resume?  
We are pleased to be able to provide most of our extracurricular activities to students, as available in our schools. There may be requirements for masking for some activities indoors and altered schedules and inter-school playing options. Please note that extracurricular activities may not resume immediately in order to ensure a safe delivery plan.  
Will I be able to volunteer in my child’s school? 
We are pleased to be able to invite our volunteers into our schools and are planning for this return later in the fall of 2021. There will be requirements for all approved visitors to adhere to our protocols, processes and immunization mandates.  
Will Kindergarten classes have a stagger start?
Specific details on the gradual start of our Kindergarten students will be provided by the school later in August. All current Senior Kindergarten (Year Two) students will begin on Tuesday, September 7, 2021. New Kindergarten registrants will enter gradually during the first week of school. 
What will the protocol be for parents/guardians/volunteers entering a school?
All visitors to schools must be approved by the School Principal. There will be a gradual return to visitors accessing our schools through the fall of 2021 in order to allow for our schools to prioritize the return to in person learning for our students. If granted approval, all visitors must adhere to the TVDSB protocols and procedures that will be shared by the Principal as part of the approval process. This will include adhering to mask requirements and the requirement from the Ministry of Education with respect to immunization mandates. 
What will happen if there is another lockdown? 
Thames Valley will be required to follow the direction provided by the Ministry of Education and the Chief Medical Officer of Ontario. In the event of a lockdown, we will remain committed to the well-being of our students, families and staff.  
Will I be able to change my student’s learning model from in class to full-remote?
TVDSB families were asked to declare a learning model for the 2021-2022 school year. Changes to learning models are disruptive to our students’ learning both for our in person and virtual classes. Therefore, we have asked that our families select a model for the entire school year in order to provide stability for our students.  
What happens if there is a positive case in my child’s classroom / school?
The Ministry of Education has provided school boards with the COVID-19 guidance: school case, contact and outbreak management document which determines the steps if there is a positive case in our schools. Requirements for self-isolation are outlined in this resource. TVDSB will continue to work closely with our local public health units for case managements in schools and on school transportation.
Will EQAO and OSSLT assessments be conducted in the 2021-2022 school year? 
EQAO is scheduled to resume this school year. The format and timelines have changed and more information will be provided by schools as these timeframes approach for our students who may be participating this year.  
Will field trips be permitted?
Thames Valley anticipates being able to provide an opportunity for some, approved field trips to begin later in the fall of 2021. Health and safety requirements will be in place for approved field trips. More information will be provided to schools at a later date 
Will child-care centres in schools be open?
All TVDSB sites with child-care centres will be open and continue with health and safety practices in place.  
Will mental health supports be provided to students?
Our TVDSB staff are committed to supporting the well-being and mental health of our students. Professional staff are able to provide in person and remote support to students who require it; requests are to be made through school staff. TVDSB’s Mental Health website provides our families, students and staff with many resources to be able to support our students’ well-being.   
How will students, families and staff be notified if there is a positive COVID-19 case at their school?
Notification of confirmed or probable COVID-19 cases is provided by the school through SchoolMessenger or other communication means (I.e., phone calls/ emails, as applicable). In addition, all confirmed or probable COVID-19 cases are listed on the TVDSB COVID-19 Alerts webpage. 
Will technology support be provided to students who are working remotely? Will they be able to obtain a device?
Our TVDSB virtual staff will be able to support students to learn the skills needed to engage digitally in their learning. TVDSB does provide access to support for families through our website. Students who require a device should request one from their home school staff.  

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