FAQs

The Learning Day

With the Government of Ontario’s recent return to school announcement, how will schools at the elementary and secondary levels operate?
Elementary schools: 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 8, 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.
Secondary schools: Secondary Adapted Learning

TVDSB has been directed by the Ministry of Education to open all secondary schools with an adapted model that combines in-person and remote learning. Students will be placed in groups of approximately 15 students, attending on alternate schedules. Secondary students enrolled in TVDSB Special Education Developmental Education classes will have the option to attend school in-person every day.

Quadmester

Secondary school courses will be timetabled using a “quadmestered” approach. In a quadmester, students take two courses at a time for a 10-week period. Students will then take their next two courses for the subsequent 10 weeks to complete a full semester. Where the secondary school year was previously two (2) semesters, this year the two (2) semesters are each divided in half, which establishes the Quad (4) breakdown of the school year.

Cohorts of Students

Students are assigned into groups as either Cohort A or Cohort B and each cohort will have approximately 15 students. Students will be a part of 2 cohorts, one in each of the 2 courses they attend in each quadmester (i.e., a student assigned to Cohort A will attend one course with one cohort of classmates and the second course with potentially another cohort of classmates); this scheduling is supported by local public health units.

  • Schools will be open every day to students in their assigned cohort. Start and end times for the instructional day remain the same; however, periods are extended to 120 minutes from 75 minutes.
  • Each cohort will be scheduled for both face-to-face and at-home learning.

Instructional Expectations

  • Each day includes 240 minutes of face-to-face instructional time with students.
  • Teachers will determine breaks within each period.
  • Longer course periods will support science labs, tech classes, practical courses, etc.
  • Half courses (such as Careers/Civics) will run for 5 weeks within each quadmester.
  • Study Hall (60 minutes per day) will provide an opportunity for the classroom teacher to connect with students during their at-home learning time.

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.

Full Remote Learning

We recognize that some families may elect to have their child(ren) learn from home rather than return to school in September. We respect and will honour these decisions and have developed a plan to support students who will engage in Full Remote Learning until such time as they are able to return to school.

Elementary and Secondary students who choose Full Remote Learning will participate in real time, synchronous learning every day. Classes will be led by qualified teachers at scheduled times during the school day. The amount of time students will spend in Full Remote Learning will be equal to the same amount of time as students who chose In-Person Learning. It will be expected that students in the Full Remote Learning Model participate every day; attendance will be monitored.

Families/students who require support with technology or Internet access to engage in Full Remote Learning should indicate this in the TVDSB Return to School Confirmation survey. If you have any difficulty with completing this confirmation, please contact the Help Line at 519-452-2005 or servicesupport@tvdsb.ca.

Students in this model will be assigned to a qualified TVDSB teacher (one who may not be from their school) and with other peers (who may not be from their school) in a Full Remote Learning class. This Full Remote Learning class will have its own digital learning platform and instruction will occur online through asynchronous and synchronous learning opportunities. Ontario curriculum will be taught, assessed and evaluated. Full Remote Learning Teachers will provide synchronous learning opportunities which may include individual or small group support (video conferencing via Google Meet / Teams, phone calls), mini-lessons and content/skill-based instruction, as appropriate. It will be expected that students participate every day and attendance will be monitored. 

Timetable for Full Remote Learning Students

Families of elementary and secondary students in the Full Remote Learning model will be provided with a schedule of synchronous (real time) and asynchronous (independent) learning opportunities. This schedule will be provided in advance to support families with planning. Secondary students who elect Full Remote Learning will participate in online courses within a Quadmestered schedule, to align with our Secondary Adapted model.

What if I want to change my mind about my child(ren) attending for in-person learning or full remote learning? 

If a family wishes to change learning models they are to contact and notify their school by Friday, August 28.

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.

Secondary students will be permitted to change models on:

February 4, 2021 (with advanced notification by Wednesday, December 16, 2020)

Please note: These dates were determined to align with the Ontario Secondary Reporting Periods (end of Semester One). 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.

What if I need to drop something off for my child during the school day or talk to my child’s teacher? How do I do those things with the new safety provisions?
Visits to the school and child care centres will be by appointment only. Wherever possible, telephone meetings with parents/guardians will be held. If you need to get in touch with someone at the school, please call or email your child’s school. Unscheduled visitors and family members of child(ren) may not be able to enter the location. Any approved visitors to schools will be required to self-screen and to wear a mask while on the school premises.
Are student nutrition/hot lunch programs running?
Student nutrition programs will continue where pre-packaged items are able to be provided to students. Hot Lunch Programs organized at schools will not be provided at this time.
Will there be field trips in the fall?
In the initial stages of re-opening, field trips will not be permitted.
Will students be able to participate in intramural or extra-curricular sports?
TVDSB is awaiting further clarification/direction from the Ministry of Education, Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations (OFSAA) and regional health units. Low/no contact sports and activities may be considered for a shortened season if approval is granted.
Will schools be running student clubs?
School clubs that can maintain physical distancing or run virtually may continue.

Will students be permitted to use common spaces such as library learning commons/ cafeterias/ auditoriums?

Common spaces, like Library Learning Commons, may be required to be equipped with plexiglass at circulation desks and floor markings for traffic flow and physical distancing. Cafeterias and auditoriums will be clearly marked to ensure physical distancing and schedules will be developed for the use of these spaces. The physical adaptations that have been implemented in our two pilot schools will be replicated in our Thames Valley schools, as needed. 

Will students still participate in school assemblies?

During the early stages of school re-opening, all large gatherings and assemblies will not take place in person. Schools will be encouraged to consider virtual options instead.

What times will staggered lunch times and recesses be?  

These will be determined at each school level and is dependent on the school enrolment numbers and school yard/facility. 

What is the plan for our school libraries. Will they be open? Running? What is the safety plan? 

Libraries will be open and practices with respect to borrowing of books in a safe manner will be in place.  School libraries may be equipped with plexiglass if the circulation desk requires it and floor markings are also in place to support physical distancing. 

Why is attendance being taken if attendance at school is voluntary? 

In-person attendance is optional (as indicated in the Ministry of Education’s Guide to Reopening schools- p. 13) Parents and guardians are able to select Full Remote Learning in place of In-Personal Learning. Those are the two options for attendance at school for school age children. Attendance is being monitored for students in both learning models. 

Will another teacher or staff member be floating from one class to another?  What about lunch? 

In Elementary, teaching staff who provide another subject of the Ontario curriculum will travel to the homeroom to provide this instruction. Lunch will be supervised according to a supervision schedule.  School Administration will work to limit the contacts to cohorts of students to specific staff members who provide instruction and supervision, where possible. 

In Secondary, teachers will be teaching cohorts of students in their Period 1 and Period 2 timetable.  Again, school administration will work to limit the contact of teachers to cohorts for both instruction and supervision.   

My child(ren) take the bus to school. How will busing work with the new enhanced safety protocols?

Our busing service, Southwestern Transportation Services (STS), has informed families that students who are eligible for transportation must register for busing in order to allow them to plan for routes. This registration process closes on August 14, 2020. Those who miss the deadline for registration should prepare for a delay in accessing transportation and may be waitlisted in some circumstances.

STS reminds parents and guardians that bus stops are unsupervised and physical distancing is the responsibility of the students and their caregivers at the bus stop. For more information, including STS’s COVID-19 safety protocols, visit www.mybigyellowbus.ca.

What capacity will our buses run at? Will all students have to wear masks on the bus? 

Based on Ministry guidelines, at this time, there is no maximum bus capacity. Students in grades 4-12 will be required to wear a mask and students in Kindergarten to Grade 3 will be encouraged to wear a mask.   

Can you take out books from school libraries?

Students will be able to take out books from school libraries for individual use in the classroom (e.g., independent learning). Library books that are signed out by students may not be shared with another student, until the book is returned to the library. The book selection, check out and return processes follow health and safety guidelines. 

Can late registrants be sent to different schools in the area? 

Students should register for their designated home school and we would encourage families to register prior to September 1st.  An online registration is available at https://www.tvdsb.ca/en/schools/register-for-school.aspx?_mid_=333 

After September 8, 2020 we would encourage families who need to register to contact their designated home school office or 519-452-2000.  

How are schools and neighbourhoods around schools going to deal with additional car traffic around schools? 

With our community partners, we have engaged in developing locations within proximity to the school that will allow parents and guardians to safely drop off students.  This drop off location will allow students who are able to independently walk to the school property and reduce congestion in and around the school property.  Where possible, students who can independently and safely walk to and from school, are encouraged to engage in active travel to start and end their school day.   With our community partners, we have engaged in developing locations within proximity to the school that will allow parents and guardians to safely drop off students.  This drop off location will allow students who are able to independently walk to the school property and reduce congestion in and around the school property.  Where possible, students who can independently and safely walk to and from school, are encouraged to engage in active travel to start and end their school day.  

Will Child Care Centres/Before and After School Programs be open?

All of our Child Care Centres and Before/After School Programs are operated by Third Party Operators. Please check with your child care provider for more information about their re-opening details. It is important to note that students who participate in Before and/or After School Programs are in established cohorts that may differ from those developed at the school level. To support contact tracing, school administrators will have cohort lists for these programs. 

What is the maximum allowable number for the before and after school cohorts? Who will be included? 

In our Before and After School Programs the allowable numbers are as follows:  

  • Kindergarten aged children cohort will be maximum 13 children/1 staff member (with a maximum of 26 children and 2 staff based on room size)   

  • Children aged 6-12 in one cohort with maximum 15 children and 1 staff member (with a maximum of 30 children and 2 staff based on room size)

I would like to participate in School Council or Home & School; will I be able to still do this if my child is registered for Full Remote Learning?

We value parent engagement and appreciate parents and guardians being actively involved and supporting our students. For students in Full Remote Learning, families will continue to be able to be a part of the School Council and/ or Home & School with their home school. 

Elementary In-Person Learning

Will the French Immersion program still be offered? 
Yes. Our French Immersion program will be offered for in-person learning AND full remote learning. 
How will recess and lunch be scheduled to ensure student safety?

Elementary students will be grouped together in one designated larger group for outdoor recesses and lunch breaks. Recesses/lunches may be staggered based on the size of the outdoor space and the availability of supervisors. Principals will develop a schedule and routine that allows for students to maintain appropriate physical distancing while still having an opportunity for fresh air and physical activity. Students will be taught about the importance of distancing, but it’s recognized that this is challenging to enforce.

Elementary students will be encouraged to stay at school for lunch and will eat lunch in assigned classrooms/desks.

Secondary students are also encouraged to stay at school for lunch and will eat lunch at desks or in designated areas.

Will students be permitted to use playground equipment?

Elementary school playgrounds will be permitted for student use at recesses and lunch. Students will all be required to clean their hands before and after each recess/outdoor time.

In Kindergarten, will learning still be play-based? 

Yes, the Kindergarten Program will continue to be taught by our Kindergarten Educator Teams; there will be opportunities for play-based learning that is adjusted to ensure a number of health and safety measures are in place. TVDSB will be providing more information for our Kindergarten Families on what the Kindergarten Program will look like for your K1/K2 child(ren).  Stay tuned to our Return to Learning website for updates. 

Will JK have a staggered entry?

As always, our JK(K1and NEW K2(SK) students are 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 of school, gradually as the week progresses. By the Friday of the first week of school, all Kindergarten students will have started their year at school in the Full Day Kindergarten program.  A specific schedule is provided to Kindergarten families, by the school, prior to the start of the school year.  

How does the 28 in a room work with social distancing?  

Activities and learning opportunities will be provided that support students to remain the recommended distance away from one another. Staff will work with students to practice physical distancing, as best as possible.  

How does drop off work with kindergarten if you aren’t allowed in the school?  

School administration will be working on plans for drop off and pick up. This will be a location specific to each school located outside of the school building. Prior to the start of the school year, school staff will communicate this location to parents and guardians.  

Caregivers will be asked to practice physical distancing at these locations and leave after dropping off their child(ren) to the supervisor in order to help reduce congestion at school sites.  

We recognize the First Day of School is a significant milestone for our NEW Kindergarten students and schools will be providing communication closer to September 8, 2020 on plans to welcome your child(ren) on this significant day. 

Who is responsible for washing toys and cleaning the bathrooms in the kindergarten space? 

During the day, disinfectant will be in classrooms for staff to spot clean. An extra custodian will also be assigned to each school to clean high touch points throughout the day, including bathrooms

Cloakroom areas are small and the kids often share them, how will this be addressed?  

Cubbies will be assigned to students with staff members who will be working with them to learn to practice physical distancing.  Physical Distancing will be encouraged throughout travelling routines in and out of the school (i.e. recess, outdoor learning, entry and dismissal).  Staff will also stagger the use of cloakrooms and supervise students while they are using this space. 

How will we handle dropping off at school? Will the children be in lineups outside, just as they were before COVID? 

This will be determined at each school site, as school premises differ throughout TVDSB.  School Administrators will be sharing information about drop off locations.  Physical distancing will be practiced when students are lining up inside and outside of the school.

What measures are being put in place to ensure that the outdoor space is being maximized for student learning? 

We currently have our Learning Support Services Program staff working on curriculum related plans that could be implemented to support outdoor learning.  In addition, our Working Group of Elementary Principals is establishing guidelines which include schools having opportunities to sign up for use of outdoor learning spaces on a staggered schedule and when weather permits.  

How are After-School Programs going to be managed within the school setting?   
These programs are run and managed by our Third Party Operators. They will be provided a location in the school that will be pre-determined for these programs.   
Will parents get a schedule for elementary? 
For both In-Person and Full Remote Learning options, parents will be provided a schedule.  For In-Person learning, this is provided by the school staff as part of the school start up procedures.  For Full Remote Learning, the Full Remote Learning teacher will provide parents and guardians with a schedule of synchronous (live) learning opportunity times.  This Full Remote Learning schedule will include the allocation of time for students in Grades 4-8 to have designated French instruction. As the school year approaches, Full Remote Learning staff will connect with families to provide more information.   
Will a student who develops symptoms in the In-Person model, be given work from their teacher (if requested by their parent/guardian) for their period of quarantine or self-isolation? 
Similar to situations that occur during the school year if a student  is required to be away from school for a short period of time as a result of an illness (for example, surgery), the teacher (In-Person or Full Remote) would provide material and support to the student, as needed, during their absence.  

Secondary Adapted Model 

Are exams going to be held? If so, how, and when? What will they look like for remote learners?

Exams will be held on two days at the end of each Quadmester. The first day of exams will be the Period One exam and Day two will be period two.  Remote learners will have remote final assessments and will not be physically present in school.

If a student has a spare during period 2 of a quadmester, are they allowed to leave after period 1? Will they have to return to attend study halls afterwards?

Students with spares are not required to be physically present in school and are encouraged to either stay home or go home if they walk to school or have alternate transportation. Student attendance in study halls is not mandatory.
How are dance classes going to be conducted? 

A guide for how each subject will be taught is being produced and will be shared with the community when it is complete. 

Is there a smaller range of courses available for full-online students? When is the list of available courses for each model going to be released?

The choice of online courses will focus primarily on compulsory courses (e.g., English, Math, Science, History, French) with a limited number of optional courses. The optional courses offered will be those that can be adapted and taught in an online format without the requirement of specialized equipment (e.g., Business, Social Sciences)  Students who opt out of in-person learning will be accommodated in e-learning courses in Quadmesters.  Guidance staff will support students with registering for full remote learning courses.  Students will be able to choose the level of their courses (e.g., Applied, Academic, Locally Developed, University, College or Workplace).

Are study halls mandatory?

Study halls at the end of the school day are mandatory for anyone still physically at the school.  Students who can walk home or who have alternate transportation may leave.  

Full Remote Learning

I’m not comfortable sending my children back to school. Do child(ren) have to attend school in the fall, or can they continue learning from home?

As outlined by the Ministry of Education, in-person school attendance is optional for the 2020/21 school year. Therefore, families are required to decide if their child(ren) will return to in-person learning at a school site or if they will be opting-out of in-person learning.  

Families receiving an email on Wednesday, August 5 asking if they will opt-out of in-person learning (for each child). If families do not opt-out by the deadline of Tuesday, August 18, it is assumed that their child(ren) will be attending school in-person on the first day of school Tuesday, September 8, 2020.

For more information on Full Remote Learning see above.

Is the class size for remote learning the same for in-person? 
Sizes of classes for remote learning will be the same as they would be for In-Person Learning.  These are based on the collective agreements of our union partners. These class sizes are based on collective agreements of our employee groups.  
What will online learning look like? 

Full remote learning will look different than Emergency Distance Learning, which occurred in the Spring of 2020. Students who decide to participate in Full Remote Learning will be placed in a Full Remote Learning class or course, which may not be a with a staff member or peers from their home school.

The teacher will be a qualified TVDSB teacher. Attendance will be taken and the learning will be the same amount of time as students in the In-Person Learning model.  Teachers will provide Synchronous (real-time) learning opportunities and Asychronous learning (independent) opportunities throughout the school day. 

A schedule of synchronous learning times will be provided to students, parents and guardians.  Students are expected to participate and engage in their Full Remote Learning classes which will be accessed through Brightspace or Google Classroom.  Attendance will be monitored. 

How much learning will take place through synchronous instruction? 

Synchronous learning will include both large group and small group instruction. Synchronous learning will also include individual learning tasks where the students are working on their own with the teacher available online to provide support. 

Students will not be expected to be working at a computing device for the entire time that is designated for synchronous learning. When students are working on individual tasks during scheduled synchronous learning, students may be working away from their device while the teacher remains available, in the digital classroom, for support. When students are working on individual tasks during scheduled synchronous learning times, the teacher will be overseeing their work and available to answer questions and provide support.  

What will a typical school day look like for parents who choose online Learning? 

Full remote learning will look different depending on the grade/course and teacher, much like it does in In-Person learning. 

Typically, it can be expected that there will be a robust amount of learning that occurs and more structure than the Emergency Distance Learning model that occurred in the Spring of 2020

A schedule will be provided for the daily synchronous learning time. In addition, learning opportunities could also include small group synchronous learning and/ or small group independent learning. 

The Ministry has provided direction on the number of synchronous (live, real time) learning minutes for specific grade levels: 

Kindergarten – 180 minutes 

Grades 1-8 – 225 minutes 

Secondary Students – 120 minutes course in a Qaudmestered model (2 courses in a 10-week block) 

*NOTE: these minutes are not continuously offered in one, complete session and will be divided into blocks of time (e.g. 20 minutes then independent time) 

 All subject areas in Elementary will be taught; therefore, there will be a French teacher also providing French instruction for students in grade 4-8. 

Will the whole day be online / screen time? 

Parents, guardians and students can expect a full day of learning in the Full Remote Learning model.  This is the “school model” that is selected and therefore, attendance is being taken and teachers are assigned to provide the full Ontario curriculum. 

Students will not be expected to be working at a computing device for the entire time that is designated for synchronous learning. When students are working on individual tasks during scheduled synchronous learning, students may be working away from their device while the teacher remains available, in the digital classroom, for support. When students are working on individual tasks during scheduled synchronous learning times, the teacher will be overseeing their work and available to answer questions and provide support.

If you have multiple students in the same household will they each be provided a computer, chromebook, tablet in order to facilitate this learning?

If families need support to allow for multiple children to access technology for synchronous learning opportunities, we would ask that they contact their school.  We have included this question in our Return to School Confirmation questions which we are requiring families to complete by August 18th so that we can support planning and the distribution of devices that could be needed. 

Will the online curriculum be synchronized with in-class learning to allow for reintegration more easily? 

Full Remote Learning is a new class for students.  This is similar to if a student moves schools or moves to a new course/ class within their home school. Planning and delivery of the Ontario curriculum expectations is not always in sync in face-to-face classes.  This will be the same for students who switch between models; it will be similar to students who move schools within the school year.  

Will there be any financial support for parents that choose ONLINE learning?  Material costs, etc. 

There should not be any requirement for materials.  A computing device and Internet access is all that will be required.  

Is there any impact to graduating (elementary), if students only learn in the remote environment?

There is no impact to graduation for elementary students or secondary students, who complete and pass courses through Full Remote Learning.  

Will my child(ren) have access to all courses in full remote learning? 

At the elementary level, students will be provided the full Ontario curriculum, including French for students in Grades 4-8 

At the secondary level, students will be able to select from compulsory courses (e.g., English, Math, French, Science, Geography, History) as well as some choice of optional courses. 

How many daily minutes of online learning will students who select full remote learning be engaged in? 

Students who are registered in Full Remote Learning will have 300 minutes of scheduled learning opportunities which will include both synchronous (live, real time) and asynchronous (independent) learning. 

How many minutes of synchronous (live, real time) learning will students participate in? 

The Ministry has provided direction on the number of synchronous (live, real time) learning minutes for specific grade levels: 

Kindergarten – 180 minutes 

Grades 1-8 – 225 minutes 

Secondary Students – 120 minutes course in a Qaudmestered model (2 courses in a 10-week block) 

*NOTE: these minutes are not continuously offered in one, complete session and will be divided into blocks of time (e.g. 20 minutes then independent time) 

What does synchronous (live, real time) learning look like for students? 
Synchronous learning will include both large group and small group instruction. Synchronous learning will also include individual learning tasks where the students are working on their own with the teacher available online to provide support.  
Will all the synchronous learning time involve working on a device? 
Students will not be expected to be working at a computing device for the entire time that is designated for synchronous learning. When students are working on individual tasks during scheduled synchronous learning, students may be working away from their device while the teacher remains available, in the digital classroom, for support. When students are working on individual tasks during scheduled synchronous learning times, the teacher will be overseeing their work and available to answer questions and provide support.  
How will students know what their schedule looks like? 
Families who select Full Remote Learning will receive communication from a Full Remote Learning staff member prior to the start of the school year. This communication will include information such as: login process, the schedule of learning (timetable), and student learning expectations. If timetable changes are needed at the secondary level, guidance counsellors will support any needed changes.  
What does Full Remote Learning look like if a family does not access technology for learning? 

Prior to the start of school, a Full Remote Learning Teacher will connect with each family.  If a family will not be accessing technology, the family may indicate their preference for non-digital learning, when they are contacted by the teacher. Support will be provided by non-digital means such as paper packages and phone communication.  

Can parents/guardians participate in School Council or Home & School if their child is registered for Full Remote Learning? 

We value parent engagement and appreciate parents and guardians being actively involved and supporting our students. For students in Full Remote Learning, families will be able to be a part of the School Council and/ or Home & School with their home school.

 

Digital Learning Technology

What platforms will students use for on-line or remote learning?
All students in TVDSB in both the In-person Learning model and Full Remote Learning model will be connected to a Digital Learning Platform (Brightspace or Google Classroom). Students will be provided with support, if required, to use these platforms. To support parents and guardians with understanding how to use these platforms, we have created several resources, which include videos, user guides and FAQs. These resources can be found on our website under Supports for Parents and Guardians and are available in multiple languages. TVDSB will be providing more learning opportunities about how to use these digital platforms.
What if my child does not have access to a device or the internet for remote or e-learning?

We are committed to ensure that all families have access to technology and the internet to support their child’s learning. As part of our Return to School Confirmation we will ask families of students opting for full remote learning and all secondary students about technology needs. If you have any difficulty with completing this confirmation, please contact the Help Line at 519-452-2005 or servicesupport@tvdsb.ca

 

Health and Safety

Will you be implementing additional safety procedures for specialty programs such as music, physical education, technology studies, etc.?

The safety of students and staff will require additional procedures for classes and musical bands, including the disinfection of equipment, tools, instruments, etc. as well as classroom layout considerations during face-to-face learning opportunities:

  • Equipment, tools and instruments should be assigned to individual students or have a disinfecting process in place between each use.
  • All shared equipment, tools or instruments must be cleaned and disinfected between users.
  • Classroom layout must adhere to physical distancing, where possible.
  • Vocal classes /choirs will be scheduled in large spaces or outdoors whenever possible.
What measures are being put in place to support health and safety for school sites?
TVDSB has developed a number of protocols and strategies to protect the health and safety of our students and staff:
Pilot Schools
Two pilot schools have been staged as examples of how TVDSB has planned for physical adaptations to support additional health and safety measures. In these model schools, all classrooms are staged with labelling of student desks for cohorts (to support our Adapted Model), in addition to floor markings and directional arrows which have been placed to support physical distancing. Hallways have been staged to include directional flow of traffic and physical distancing. The physical adaptations that have been implemented in our two pilot schools will be replicated in all schools.
Cleaning and Disinfecting

As a commitment to ensure the health and safety of students and staff, we have hired additional temporary custodians to support the disinfection of high traffic areas in schools and touch points that are regularly used by students and staff.

In addition, we are supplying all classrooms with disinfection products to allow for staff to use as needed. In the evening, electrostatic sprayers will be used to disinfect high touch points within school buildings.

As preventative measures to reduce the amount of contact to surfaces, classroom doors will always remain open so that doorknobs are not repeatedly touched, and light switches will remain on in classrooms and common areas.

Physical Distancing

It will be important to support our students to understand the added element of physical distancing that will now be part of their experience at school. Our staff is committed to assist students with this practice. Signage and floor markings throughout classrooms and school hallways are also in place to remind students to maintain physical distance from one another. In addition, where possible, other physical distancing measures will be used. These can include:

  • Removing non-essential items from hallways and high traffic areas.
  • Incorporating more individual activities.
  • Avoiding activities involving shared objects/toys that cannot be easily cleaned.
  • Maximizing physical distance between chairs and tables/desks, where possible.
  • Creating designated routes for students/staff to get to and from classrooms.
  • Moving activities outside to allow for more space.
  • Staggering periods of student movement around school and discourage student congregating in hallways, where possible.
  • Staggering periods of student movement around school including lunch, breaks and recess times, where applicable.
  • Having pre-set ‘staging’ locations for drop-off/pick-up routines
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
TVDSB has prepared for staff to have Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) which includes masks, face shields, gowns and gloves, as required. Parents and guardians can support our younger students by helping them to understand that staff will be wearing PPE as part of the re-opening of schools.
Non-Medical or Cloth Masks

The Ministry of Education, in consultation with provincial health officials, has prescribed the use of non-medical or cloth masks for all students in grades 4 through 12 when indoors, including hallways, during class and on school transportation.

If students are able to bring these masks from home, we would encourage parents and guardians to send them each day. However, we will have extra masks at each school in the event that a student requires a replacement mask.

Students in kindergarten to grade 3 will also be required to wear a mask when indoors and on school transportation. Staff will work towards mask compliance with K-3 students compassionately with no disciplinary actions for students who have difficulty complying.

If parents or guardians wish for their child to wear a cloth mask and they are able to bring these masks from home, we encourage them to do so. Extra masks will be available in the event that a student requires a replacement mask during the day.

Hand Washing

Schools will ensure that hand hygiene (cleaning) products are available in all rooms and at school entrances (e.g., hand wash sink with soap dispenser or hand sanitizer). All staff, students and essential visitors will be expected to practice proper hand hygiene, washing hands with soap and water or using hand sanitizer, at the following times:

  • Upon entering the school
  • At regular time intervals throughout day
  • Before/after eating food
  • After using the washroom
  • Before/after outdoor play
  • After sneezing or coughing
  • Before putting on and after removing PPE and/or non-medical masks/face coverings
Personal Student Belongings
Personal belongings brought to school by students should be minimized. All personal belongings should be clearly labelled. Secondary students may not have access to lockers and may need to keep all belongings with them.
Water Fountains
Students will be encouraged to bring their own labelled water bottle to school each day. Students will be directed to use filling stations. Opportunities to fill bottles will be scheduled for elementary students. All drinking fountains with mouthpieces will be shut off.
Drop-off and Pick-up Areas

Drop-off and pick-up areas at schools will be equipped with reminder signs to parents/ guardians regarding the need for physical distancing. Schools may provide more information closer to the start of the school year with respect to specific locations or “staging areas” for student drop-off/pick-up. We recognize how important it is to provide safe drop-offs for students and appreciate parent/ guardians’ adherence to these new routines and processes.

In addition, our board continues to work with our municipal partners to develop community-based drop off locations to support reduced traffic congestion.

Use of Outdoor Space

Staff will be encouraged to maximize outdoor space for learning opportunities for students. Physical distancing practices will be in place during such activities. TVDSB has engaged in planning for the effective delivery of curricular activities that could be supported in outdoor environments and using our outdoor spaces.

What is TVDSB doing to clean schools?

Enhanced cleaning and disinfection practices by TVDSB custodial staff have been reviewed with the Middlesex London Health Unit and Southwestern Public Health Unit. Here’s some of what we’re doing: 

• Frequently touched surfaces will be cleaned and disinfected during the day throughout the school building 

• Schools will undergo enhanced cleaning at the end of each school day 

• Soft surfaces that cannot be easily cleaned and disinfected will be removed from classrooms (e.g. plush/absorbent items, rugs, upholstered furnishings)

How will students and staff maintain clean hands throughout the school day?
• Hand hygiene supplies will be available and easily accessible in schools 

• Soap and paper towels will be provided in every classroom with a sink 

• Classrooms without a hand washing sink will be provided with alcohol-based hand sanitizer 

• A schedule to regularly clean hands will be incorporated into daily routines (e.g. upon entering the school, before and after lunch and recess breaks, after using bathroom, returning from playing outside and after sneezing/coughing) 

• Students will be educated on proper cough and sneeze etiquette and to avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth

Will students be required to wear a mask in school?
Students in Grade 4 to 12 will be required to wear non-medical or cloth masks while in school and on school transportation. Students in Kindergarten to Grade 3 will be encouraged but not required to wear masks in common spaces and on school transportation. 
Will the board provide masks for students that do not have them (beyond the two provided)? 
Each school will have a contingency (additional) supply of masks available for students and staff who require one.  
Will staff, students, and visitors be screened before entering a school? How will that work?

Staff, students, and visitors must not come to school if they have symptoms/feel sick, or if they have come in close contact with someone with a suspected or positive case of COVID-19 in the past 14 days, including within their household. 

Student Screening: Parents/ guardians will be provided with a checklist to perform daily screenings of their children before arriving at school and will be provided with information on the signs and symptoms of COVID-19. 

Staff Screening: Staff will complete a self-assessment tool and will be provided with information to ensure they are aware of possible symptoms of COVID-19 in order to self-monitor.

Signs will be posted at entrances to the school to remind students, staff, parents/guardians, and essential visitors with information on health and safety policies. Teachers and other staff members will be provided with information on the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 in children so that appropriate action can be taken if children develop symptoms during the day.

How will schools conduct contact tracing? 
Daily records of attendance of all persons within the school building will be kept up-to- date and available to our local public health units to facilitate contact tracing in the event of a confirmed COVID-19 case or outbreak. 
What happens if a student gets sick during the school day or there is a confirmed case of COVID-19? 

A protocol has been established to manage students who exhibit symptoms, confirmed cases and outbreaks:

Designated Area
Each school will have a designated area should a child become ill at school. This room/area will be used for the temporary placement of any individual who becomes ill during the day. Hand sanitizer, gloves, surgical/procedural masks, eye protection, tissues and a gown will be available for use by the ill individual and staff member supervising them.
COVID-19 Symptomatic Students

Family members will be notified immediately if a child becomes unwell during the day. Symptomatic students must be immediately separated from others and supervised in a designated room/space. Parents (or designate) must immediately come to the school to pick up their child. Students from the same family will need to be picked up as well.

Parents and guardians are expected to have children assessed for COVID-19 if symptoms are present or self-isolate their children at home for 14 days.

Confirmed Cases of COVID-19

When a student or staff member has been diagnosed as positive for the COVID-19 virus, the school and board will follow the directions of our regional public health units.

Students or staff who test positive for COVID-19 must provide medical clearance before being allowed to return to in-person instruction.

Outbreak Protocol

In consultation with our regional public health units, the following will be in place in all TVDSB schools:

Class Lists

School administrators ensure that class lists are maintained.

Bus Cohort Lists

Bus cohort lists will also be maintained for each school that has students accessing school transportation.

Testing Sites

As a board, we are in regular consultation with two public health units, London Middlesex Public Health Unit and Southwest Public Health Unit. Specific locations of Health Units and testing sites will be provided to school communities through school communications and on our TVDSB and school websites. The regional public health units will indicate if on-site testing at a school is required if an outbreak is confirmed within a school setting.

Privacy
Staff will follow the directions from the regional Health Units in terms of what medical/health information can be shared related to students or their families and that of TVDSB staff. TVDSB is appreciative that parents and guardians understand that not all personal information can be shared due to privacy concerns.

 Is the current plan flexible to change when and/or if a vaccine arrives? 

Yes. We may be changing how instruction is delivered during the year based on Ministry of Education requirements.

Will hallways be one way? 

We have placed directional arrows in hallways. Some of our TVDSB schools will have lines on both sides of the same hallway due to the setup of the school, while other schools will have one way hallways. 

Will the board provide masks for students and if so what kind? Disposable? Reusable? Will they be available for all ages or only grade 4 and above? How many masks are kids getting?   

We are asking parents to supply their children with masks. We have ordered cloth face coverings for students K-12, and each school will have a contingency supply to provide, should a student not have a mask and/or require a replacement. 

What pre-screen will students have to pass prior to coming to school? 

TVDSB has created, in consultation with our local Public Health Units, a parental attestation and link to a screening checklist to be competed in the Parent Portal for each child prior to attending their first day of school. Staff members will also be asked to complete this checklist and complete an attestation. This checklist is based on being aware of symptoms that are of often found with a COVID-19 infection; this checklist is similar to the screening signs found on most public buildings. It will not be based on pre-existing conditions. 

Is there a plan to upgrade the ventilation systems before the winter? In many classrooms the windows do not open, how is this being addressed?

Over the summer, we have serviced all of our HVAC systems to ensure they are operating as intended. 

What if a parent can’t pick up their sick child right away? What if that is not feasible? (e.g. parents are essential workers, etc.) 

As part of the parental attestation, parents and guardians need to commit to this arrangement and/or identify an emergency back up. We cannot keep sick students at schoolThis will be regularly communicated to our parents and guardians and we appreciate the understanding and responsiveness to this requirement.  

Why doesn’t the board message that those that can keep their kids home should, to reduce the spread? 

TVDSB supports equity and inclusion as one of our commitments to our community.  We are also directed and guided by the MoE’s mandates for the Reopening of Ontario Schools. Our TVDSB plan is based on their direction. 

How will students enter and exit the school safely when there are hundreds of students?   

School administration will be develop site specific entry and exit routines to allow this to happen while supporting the need for physical distancing.  Staggered entry and exits will occur particularly at recess and lunch times. 

How many hand washing stations will there be per 100 Students? 

We will have hand sanitizers at each school entry and each classroom will either have a sink with water/soap, or sanitizer. Students will need to wash/sanitize their hands upon entry into the classroom and again at set points throughout the day. 

If my child has a cold and has tested negative for COVID, can they return to school?

Students who have tested negative for COVID but are exhibiting symptoms associated with seasonal cold are asked to stay home until 24 hours after their symptoms subside.

 

Supporting Students

How will you support students with special needs?

Supporting our students with special education needs will continue to be a priority. All staff in the TVDSB Special Education Department will actively support students in all learning models. School-based staff (e.g., Learning Support Teachers and Educational Assistants) will work as a multidisciplinary team to collaborate with the classroom and Full Remote Learning Teachers, students, and their families to ensure our students with special education needs receive the support they need to be successful in any learning model.

Plans have been developed at each school to ensure that students with special needs are supported as they transition back to learn. Professional Services Staff will also work with individual school teams to develop and implement programs and services designed to meet students with special education needs, in support of their transition back to school.

The IPRC process will be followed as per the TVDSB’s Special Education Plan 2020-2021. The completion of all deferred Annual IPRC Reviews and new IPRCs requiring re-scheduling from Spring 2019-2020 will proceed either in-person or in a virtual format (as per parent(s)/guardian(s) preference).

Secondary

  • In an adapted model, all students with a placement in one of Thames Valley’s Special Education - Developmental Education Classes will have the option of attending school on a full-time, five days per week basis.
  • The needs of other students, formally identified through the IPRC process, will be reviewed to determine if they need to attend school, in-person and on a daily basis, as they are unable to have meaningful access to education through distance learning.

Students will have access to their Special Education Assistive (SEA) Technology during the Full Remote learning model. This includes computing devices (iPads, Chromebooks, and laptops) as well as mobility devices, sensory equipment, etc.

How will you support student health and well-being?

We know that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on our students, their families and our staff. We are prioritizing the building of school community and connection using this lens. It is important for the conditions of psychological safety, belonging, inclusivity, and connection to be established as our students return to learn in all learning models. We will support our staff to focus on a trauma-sensitive approach in all aspects of student interaction.

In all learning models, our TVDSB Professional Staff will continue to support and provide service to students. This may be through in-person, phone or virtual means. Professional Services staff will provide in-person consultation and support for teachers on social-emotional and mental health and well-being strategies in the classroom. TVDSB will also support school staff with additional information that will be provided in the School Mental Health Ontario learning framework and toolkit.

Where can I find information and help for mental health and well-being?
Our TVDSB staff are providing supports for students this summer through our Wellness Support Teams. For more information please visit our website at www.tvdsb.ca/mentalhealth. 

Supports will continue during the course of the school year. 

How will Thames Valley be accommodating students with special needs?
TVDSB is committed to supporting our students with special education needs. The TVDSB Special Education department is reviewing all aspects of COVID-19 that may impact the safety of staff and students. This includes but is not limited to: supporting students with special needs and their individualized programs, TVDSB Special 

Education Self-Contained classes, specialized equipment, additional personal protective equipment (PPE) for staff that need to work in close proximity with students, and transportation considerations. 

More information will follow with respect to transition planning for students prior to the return to school.

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