Return to Learn

Student Health AgreementFrequently Asked Questions

Digital Learning Technology
Digital Learning Platforms

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.

Access to Technology, WIFI and Data-Enabled Devices

Student Device and Bandwidth Access

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 filling out an Online Service Request Form.

Do you need Technology or Software Support? 

Supporting Our Students
Supporting Our 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.

Supporting Student Mental 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.

See the TVDSB Mental Health and Well-Being website.

Health and Safety Protocols
Access to School Sites
Parent/ Guardian and Visitor Access
Our Health & Safety practices, in addition to the Ministry of Education’s recommendations, limit parents/guardians and visitors within the school. Parents and guardians who require essential access can arrange it through the school administration. Signage has been developed to limit entry to buildings, and provide information on how to contact the school to arrange for approved essential access. Unscheduled visitors and family members may not be able to enter the location. Any approved visitors to schools will be required to self-screen, sign in at the office and to wear a mask while on the school premises.
Child Care Centres and Before/After School Programs
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.
Community Use of Schools
Indoor permits through Community Use of Schools will continue to be on hold until further notice.
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.

Parent and Guardian Responsibilities
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 Bottles
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.
Daily Screening of Students

Students 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 individuals within their household. Parents/ guardians will be provided with a checklist to perform daily screenings of their child(ren) before arriving at school. More information will be provided on this screening process prior to the beginning of the school year.

Signs will be posted at entrances to schools to remind students, staff, parents/guardians, and essential visitors of health and safety guidelines. 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 a student develops symptoms during the day.

Picking up Students Who Are Exhibiting Symptoms
As part of our process to ensure the health and safety of staff and students, it will be important to monitor signs and symptoms of students and staff during the school day. As such, if a student exhibits a COVID-19 symptom while at school, they will be relocated to a supervised designated location in the school. Staff will immediately contact the parent or guardian. We request that parents and guardians establish a process for the retrieval of their child in the event that they are notified during the school day. Students will not be able to take school transportation if they have been isolated with symptoms.
Health and Safety Practices for School Sites
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 

Sharing of Resources/Materials

Staff will limit the sharing of supplies, equipment, and textbooks that cannot be easily cleaned. Adequate supplies for instruction will be provided to each student, and where it is not practical to give each student their own resources, then the shared equipment will be cleaned or disinfected between use.

Parents and guardians can support younger students who are participating in In-person Learning by reminding them that sharing of personal belongings and school supplies is not suggested.

We recognize that the start of the school year often prompts some families to purchase individual student learning materials in preparation for school. This is not required, and schools will be equipped to provide necessary materials to students. However, if parents or guardians are interested in purchasing school learning items, the following could be used at school:

  • An individual refillable, clearly labeled water bottle
  • Pencils
  • Erasers
  • Pens for older students
  • Scissors
  • Glue/glue stick
  • Pencil crayons
  • Pencil case

In addition to these learning items, technology will continue to be used in our In-person Learning Model. Students who participate in the In-person Learning Model may opt to bring a computer device to school for their own personal use. This should be labelled and will be the responsibility of the student.

Fitness Rooms and Equipment
Schools can use fitness rooms and equipment for in-class instruction when physical distancing can be maintained. Schools must ensure that proper cleaning procedures are in place for all equipment that is used. Staff/students must agree to clean and disinfect all equipment before and after use and maintain physical distance from others who may be in the room simultaneously.
Washrooms
Signage will be placed inside washrooms to remind students of room capacity, physical distancing and proper hand cleaning practices. All school washrooms will be cleaned and disinfected throughout the school day and again every evening.
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.
Recess/ Lunch

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.

Playground Structures
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.
Common Spaces – 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.

School Day Operations
Student Transportation

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 

Attendance
Attendance will be taken for all students attending In-Person Learning, and a record will be maintained when students are in areas of the building other than their classroom. This will assist us with contact tracing should a positive case of COVID-19 be determined. Daily attendance will also be taken for any student participating in Full Remote Learning as there is an expectation by the Ministry of Education that student attendance in this learning model be monitored.
Emergency and Preparedness Response Drills
Practice drills will continue for students participating in the In-Person Learning model. Drills will be done in both Cohort A and B in Secondary Schools to ensure all students take part. During these drills, classes will move throughout the building while maintaining physical distance between students in the classroom, hallway and at all exits.
Student Nutrition Programs/Hot Lunch Programs
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.
Field Trips
In the initial stages of re-opening, field trips will not be permitted.
Intramural and 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.
Clubs
School clubs that can maintain physical distancing or run virtually may continue.
Contactless Payments
To reduce the handling of cash, families are encouraged to use SchoolCash online.
Garbage and Recycling

Classroom garbage will be collected and disposed of daily.

Students will be asked to bring home all lunch and snack containers and to recycle in their own home rather than at school. Schools can continue to recycle items such as paper and cardboard boxes from school-based activities.

Large Group Gatherings and 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.
Symptoms, Confirmed Cases and Outbreaks

The implementation of our enhanced health and safety protocols will reduce the risk of transmitting the COVID-19 virus. If everyone does their part to stay safe and healthy (both inside schools and in any public setting), the likelihood that someone will contract the COVID-19 virus at school will be low. The Ministry of Education has established COVID-19 outbreak protocols that we are supplementing in the event that someone feels sick and/or contracts the virus.

See Symptoms, Confirmed Cases and Outbreaks.

Our priority is the safety and well-being of our students and staff. We have involved our local Health Units as part of our planning, while also following the directions of the Ministry of Education to ensure that our schools and workplaces are prepared and our staff and students experience a successful return.

We recognize that the ‘school life experience’ may not be as it was prior to the school closure period, and we remain committed to providing as robust of an academic program as possible, given the health and safety regulations provided.

Ongoing contact with families will take place throughout the school year to provide further details about specific school level information and board wide updates.

More Resources

The following is a list of updates and resources provided for our school communities during COVID-19:

Contact Us