- York Region Public Health Screening Tool (Click on "Check for Symptoms Daily")
- York Region Public Health Staying Safe at School
- Youth COVID-19 Vaccine Fact Sheet
- COVID-19 Advisories
- Virtual Town Hall
Secondary School Learning Model Changes
In September, we shared that we would provide families further information to support switching between in-person and remote learning models prior to mid-semester.
Students learning remotely may request to return to face-to-face learning by contacting the school. Changes will be facilitated within 1-2 days. Transportation may require additional time to initiate.
Requests may also be made to move from in-person learning to remote learning. Please contact the school to request a switch to remote learning. Staff from the school will make arrangements to contact you to review the request and share information about the hybrid learning model.
- Learning model changes for students affected by COVID-19 will be facilitated within 2-3 school days.
- Model change requests will be facilitated as soon as possible and prior to mid-semester reporting.
After mid-semester reporting, students and families may request a short-term COVID-19 related model change or a long-term model change for other circumstances by contacting the school.
For more information on elementary and secondary learning model changes, please visit the frequently asked questions.
School Reopening Videos
Letters to Families
We are very pleased to share that we have received approval from York Region Public Health to return to a more traditional pre-pandemic secondary timetabling. This means students will return to participating in four 75 minute course periods each day compared to the current modified semester system with two 150 minute course periods per day alternating weekly.
We have heard from many students and staff members looking to return to 75 minute periods, and we are grateful to have received this approval from public health. This change is possible in part to the vaccine coverage among York Region’s 12 to 17-year-old age group, which currently is at 87.1% with one dose and 83.5% with two doses. York Region Public Health will continue to closely monitor the rate and number of COVID-19 exposures/outbreaks in our schools and will continue to apply targeted interventions as the situation warrants.
Starting December 6, courses will return to being 75 minutes each. There will be no change to the start or end time of the school day, or to any student transportation services. Lunch periods will be shortened slightly to accommodate travel time between courses. Students will remain with the same classes and teachers for the remainder of the semester.
We know the pandemic has been particularly challenging for our students and feel tremendous optimism with the return of the pre-pandemic timetable and believe our students will benefit greatly. Should you have any questions about your child’s timetable, please contact their school.
We are writing to share some important updates with you. This letter includes important information about:
- Inclement Weather Days
- Active Screening Confirmation
- Winter Break
- Secondary School Timetables
- Vaccination Clinics
- Reminders from York Region Public Health
Inclement Weather Days
As we enter the colder months, we wanted to inform families that similar to last school year, we have made the decision to close schools to students when an inclement weather day is declared and school transportation is cancelled. Please do not send your child to school when an inclement weather day is declared.
This decision has been made in consultation with Public Health to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and support the health and safety of our students, staff members and families. Prior to the pandemic, schools remained open when school transportation was cancelled. This year, given the importance of adhering to our health and safety guidelines, we are unable to guarantee appropriate coverage for students on inclement weather days when school transportation is closed and classes cannot be combined.
Please take the time to make plans in the event of an inclement weather day school closure. Please note that before and after care programs will not be operating on inclement weather days.For on-site, full-day child care, please confirm with your childcare operator. We recognize that this may be an inconvenience for some families. This decision was not made lightly and made to prioritize the health and safety of students, staff members and families.
All students will be provided with asynchronous learning activities for the day. We recognize that each family’s situation is unique. As with inclement weather days in the past, the learning will be optional and supplementary to help students continue learning. New material will not be introduced.
There are rare occasions when school transportation is cancelled due to extreme cold weather and not road conditions, and schools will remain open for students.
Communication to families
Decisions about school transportation and school closures will be made as early as possible and no later than 6:00 a.m. We will do our best to notify families in advance. Our priority continues to be the safety of our students, staff members and families. If you have any questions, please speak with your school principal.
Transportation cancellations or school closures will also continue to be communicated through:
- Student Transportation Services website: www.schoolbuscity.com
- Student Transportation Hotline: 1-877-330-3001
- Board website and school websites
- @YRDSB Twitter account
- Radio and TV media outlets
Families who have provided the school with their cell phone will also receive a text message, unless you have opted out of this service. Please contact your school if you have any questions.
For more information on inclement weather days, please visit our website www.yrdsb.ca.
York Region Public Health has asked us to remind all staff and students that screening must be completed every day using the Ontario School Screening Tool for any signs and symptoms of COVID-19. The tool indicates when individuals should be isolating at home and when they should be getting tested.
The Ministry of Education has announced that, prior to the winter break, all students will receive a Rapid Antigen Test kit. These kits will include five tests with instructions for students to voluntarily complete the testing prior to returning to the school. We will provide more information on this initiative as it is received.
Families choosing to travel over the winter break are reminded to consult federal and provincial government requirements for testing, quarantine and other appropriate protocols required upon arrival and prior to returning to school. We gratefully appreciate everyone’s cooperation with these regulations to ensure the safe return from the winter break on January 3.
Secondary School Timetables
The Ministry of Education also announced that, with approval from local Public Health Units, school boards may transition secondary school timetables to a traditional semester model as soon as they can do so, or for February 2022. This would mean returning to 75-minute periods. We are currently in discussion with York Region Public Health and will continue to share updates with you. Once approved, we will make the transition to the traditional semester model as soon as possible.
COVID19 Vaccination Clinics
The Board continues to work in partnership with York Region Public Health to provide access to COVID19 vaccines for all those eligible. Pending approval for vaccines for 5-11 year olds, the Board is actively working with public health for in-school clinics. More information on school community-based clinics and other options will be provided to families as it becomes available.
Important Reminders from York Region Public Health
- For those with COVID19 symptoms identified through the screening tool, testing should not be delayed if symptoms persist or worsen. Delaying testing means children may be out of school longer as public health may need to use the date tested when confirming isolation periods if it is too far removed from the first symptom onset date.
- Individuals with symptoms should be tested right away with a PCR test through a COVID-19 Assessment Centre or take-home PCR tests once available from the province; if children are part of a dismissed cohort or otherwise a close contact of a confirmed case, communication from York Region Public Health will outline the specific testing information to follow; staff and students with mild symptoms (runny nose or sore throat) not on the screening tool must stay home until symptoms are improving for 24 hours (48 hours for gastrointestinal symptoms). Rapid antigen tests should not be used if individuals are experiencing any symptoms OR are part of a dismissed cohort/close contact of a confirmed case; antigen testing should only be used by unvaccinated asymptomatic persons who are not part of a dismissed cohort; positive antigen tests must also be confirmed via PCR testing at a COVID-19 Assessment Centre.
- Continue to adhere to public health measures when out in the community. While we have a large proportion of our age 12 and older population fully vaccinated, individuals under the age of 12 remain susceptible. We are seeing cases and outbreaks of COVID-19 in schools attributed to social gatherings, sports and other activities and exposures occurring outside of school. Continue to keep your loved ones safe by practicing physical distancing, wearing masks, performing hand hygiene and avoiding large gatherings, especially if the vaccination status of these individuals is unknown. Vaccination opportunities are around the corner for our five to 11-year-old children.
- School-wide assemblies and other large congregations of students across cohorts should continue to remain on hold until the number of cases in the community trend downward and this is sustained for a period of time.
Effective Monday, October 18, 2021, York Region Public Health will require students and staff members to use the provincial COVID-19 school and child care screening tool. Students, parents and guardians will still be able to access the link to the tool through the York Region Staying Safe at School webpage.
Please see this message from York Region Public Health which contains important screening and testing updates.
As a reminder, on Friday, October 15, school staff will engage in professional learning on the hybrid model.
Schools will be closed to students on Friday, October 15. Please do not send your child to school.
Asynchronous (not live) learning activities will be posted in your child’s online classroom to support their continued learning. If your child requires technology to access learning on October 15, 2021, please contact your school office.
We want to thank families for their patience and support as we have started the new school year and implemented the hybrid learning model. Over the past month, our Board of Trustees and senior staff have had an opportunity to hear feedback from families and educators and observe classrooms.
On Friday, October 15, school staff will engage in professional learning on the hybrid model.
Schools will be closed to students on Friday, October 15 . Please do not send your child to school. Asynchronous (not live) learning activities will be provided to students in order to support their continued learning.
This additional professional learning will enable us to share effective practices and support, and be responsive to some of the feedback we have heard. We are committed to creating learning environments that enable all of our students, both in-person and remote, to be successful, and feel connected and supported.
We want to acknowledge the professionalism and dedication of our educators as they implement this new model, which enables students to remain connected with staff and peers in their home school, and allows for greater flexibility between remote and in-person learning options, and maintaining the continuity of learning.
We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause for families and thank you for your patience and support.
We are writing to provide an update on daily screening requirements.
COVID-19 Daily Screening - Changes Beginning Monday, September 27
While self-screening continues to be a daily requirement for all students, beginning Monday, September 27, parents/guardians and students are no longer required to complete the confirmation form each day.
Secondary school students and parents/guardians of elementary school students are still required to review and complete the COVID-19 School and Child-Care Screening Tool (Click on Check for symptoms daily) on a daily basis, prior to their child entering the school. Daily screening is an essential step in helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Please ensure you review this screening tool each day and follow instructions as outlined.
However, families will no longer be required to complete the self-screening confirmation form. The Ministry of Education required families to complete a confirmation for the first two weeks of school only. Screening confirmation will continue to be required for staff members and visitors only.
School Start-Up Forms
We also want to remind families to complete the school start-up forms that were sent to families last week. It is important that these forms are completed as soon as possible at the start of the school year as they contain important information and permissions. They can also be found on the Board website at www.yrdsb.ca/familyresources under Family Start-Up Forms, along with some information on how to complete the forms. Please note, you must be signed in to your child’s student GAPPS account to complete the form. Please remember to sign out of one student account before signing into another.
Thank you for continuing to work with us to help us protect the health and safety of our students and staff and create a positive learning environment for our students.
As we approach the first day of school, we are all very excited to welcome back our students and staff. It has been five months since we have had students in our school buildings and we appreciate the efforts everyone in our communities have made to support a safe return for all.
Below are some reminders and new information that we have recently received from the provincial government and York Region Public Health.
A new screening tool for the 2021-2022 school year has been provided by York Region Public Health (please click on Check for Symptoms Daily). This screening tool replaces previous versions and all students and staff must complete the screening prior to attending any YRDSB school or facility.
Secondary students will have to provide confirmation of a successful screening as follows:
- After completing the screening tool, secondary students (or parents/guardians of students who may not be able to complete the form independently) must complete the Secondary School Confirmation Form. Upon completion of the form confirming successful screening, students will receive an email. For students who may not be able to complete the self-assessment process independently, parents/guardians are asked to complete it.
- After receiving this email, students can then attend their school and will have to show the email response in one of the following ways to school staff:
- Show email on phone (showing the email or a photo of the email)
- Hard copy printout of the email
- If neither option is available, students can provide verbal response confirming completion.
Parents/guardians of elementary students (or the students themselves depending on their age) will have to provide confirmation of a successful screening as follows:
- Parents/Guardians of Elementary students are required to complete on-line self-assessment COVID-19 School and Child-Care Screening Tool (please click on Check for Symptoms Daily), prior to their child entering the school
- Upon completion of the self-assessment, Parents/Guardians will complete the response to the question: “Have you completed the self-screening tool?” in the Confirmation Form, using their child’s GAPPS account login information. Information on how to access your child’s GAPPS account is available on the Board’s website. If you do not have a student number/username, one will be provided by your child’s teacher.
Any students who are experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19 as identified in the screening tool (not related to a COVID-19 vaccine) or answer yes to any of the screening questions, must not enter any school and follow the guidance in the screening tool.
In collaboration with our funding partners, the Federal and Provincial governments, York Region District School Board has invested over $24 million on ventilation upgrades. Classrooms with a mechanical ventilation system have been fitted with MERV13 filters and where appropriate, HEPA filters have been installed. The Board has also increased fresh air rates to the maximum system can provide before discomfort and increased maximum outdoor air ventilation. We have created a Ventilation in Schools page on our website to demonstrate the ventilation systems in place at each school site.
The Ministry of Health and York Region Public Health encourage all those eligible to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as one of the best measures to mitigate the spread of this virus. Vaccine appointments and information is available on Public Health’s website.
In accordance with requirements from the Ministry of Education, York Region District School Board is implementing a mandatory vaccine disclosure protocol for staff members, including all school staff members. Disclosure by staff members will commence on September 7, the aggregate (Board total) depersonalized statistical percentage of vaccinations will be made public by September 15 and updated monthly. Staff members who are not vaccinated, and do not have a medical reason, are required to attend an education session on the benefits of the vaccine and will undergo minimum weekly testing for COVID-19. The Board’s Immunization Disclosure protocol is available on the Board’s website and will be subject to updates as more information becomes available.
Properly fitted masks are required for all students in Grades 1 to 12 and strongly recommended for students in Kindergarten.
Parents/guardians must provide their child with at least three personal masks (non-medical) to wear at school. Public Health Agency of Canada recommends Canadians wear three-layer masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19. For more information about how to use face coverings properly, visit www.york.ca/covid19. All school staff will wear a medical mask and other personal protective equipment as required.
Letter from the Minister of Education
The Minister of Education has asked school boards to share a letter to families.
We appreciate that families have many questions about what to expect when their children return to school. In an effort to answer your questions, we:
- continue to update frequently asked questions
- held a virtual town hall responding to family questions
- are recording a two-part podcast responding to common questions with York Region Public Health
Our health and safety measures are available on the Board website and we will continue to communicate with families as information is updated. Thank you for partnering with us to ensure these important guidelines are adhered to, as we work together to protect the health and safety of our students, staff and families.
Once again, we appreciate the efforts of all families, students and staff to ensure our schools are safe and welcoming environments to work and learn.
We hope you are enjoying the remaining weeks of summer. We are looking forward to welcoming our face-to-face and remote learning students back to school for the 2021-22 school year.
Over the summer, Board staff have been busy preparing for the safe return of students and staff. We wanted to give you an update on what students and families can expect for the start of school, including:
- First day of school
- Health and safety measures
- Virtual town hall
First Day of School
The first day of school is Thursday, September 9. There is a supported entry plan for Kindergarten Year 1 students, starting on September 9 or September 10. Your school will communicate with you directly about your child’s first day of school.
Elementary - Grades 1 - 8
The first day of school for all elementary school students is Thursday, September 9.
For most secondary schools, Thursday, September 9 is Grade 9 day. Grade 9 students only will attend. The first day of school for all students is Friday, September 10. Your school will send you information about the first day of school.
For Keswick H.S., Maple H.S., Markville H.S. and Sutton D.H.S, Grade 9 day is Monday, August 30. The first day of school for all students is Tuesday, August 31.
School calendars for all schools are available on the Board website.
Health and Safety Measures
Similar to last year, we continue to work closely with York Region Public health to ensure we are taking all appropriate measures. To protect the health and safety of our students, staff members and families and in collaboration with public health, we are taking a measured approach and putting in additional measures beyond the provincial guidelines at the start of the school year. We will continue to monitor and work closely with public health to evaluate these measures on an ongoing basis. These health and safety measures will include:
Properly fitted Masks (non-medical)are required for all students in Grades 1 to 12, including in hallways and during classes and on school transportation. Kindergarten students are strongly encouraged to wear a non-medical mask.
Parents/guardians must provide their child with at least three personal masks (non-medical) to wear at school. Public Health Agency of Canada recommends Canadians wear three-layer masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
For more information about how to use face coverings properly, visit www.york.ca/covid19.
All school staff will wear a medical mask and other personal protective equipment as required.
On a daily basis, staff members, parents/guardians of students under 18 and students over 18 are responsible to review and adhere to the COVID-19 School and Child-Care Screening Tool. Any student or staff member experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or answer yes to any of the screening questions is required to remain home.
Hand hygiene will be encouraged throughout the school day. A hand sanitizing station will be placed in the front lobby of the school and in classrooms.
Students are to wash hands using soap and water or use hand sanitizer immediately before: leaving home, leaving the classroom, eating, touching one’s face, and leaving school.
Where possible, students must maintain a physical distance at all times, as they enter, move through and exit the building. Signs will be placed throughout the school to minimize close contact between students.
Until further notice, visitor(s) are not to enter the school during hours of operation unless identified through a prearranged exception. Please ensure your child brings their lunch and snacks required for their day at school.
Classrooms will be decluttered and furniture removed where possible to minimize areas that are touchable and to maximize mobility.
Cleaning and disinfection of high-touch surfaces will be conducted as per Public Health guidelines.
For more information on health and safety measures, please visit www.yrdsb.ca/school-reopening and www.york.ca/safeatschool. During the first week of school, staff members will support students in learning the health and safety routines.
Virtual Town Hall
We expect families to have many questions about this year’s return to school. To help address your questions and concerns, we are planning a virtual town hall for families to take place on Thursday, September 2 from 2:00-4:00 p.m.
Family members may submit questions online by Tuesday, August 31, 12:00 p.m. Questions will be answered by a panel of experts.
Information about the 2021-2022 school year is available on the Board website, including frequently asked questions that are regularly updated. There are also resources available on the Board website to support students and families. We will continue to post and send updates as new information becomes available. Please check your inbox, YRDSB’s COVID-19 webpage and our social media channels regularly for updates.
On behalf of York Region District School Board staff, I would like to thank you for your patience and understanding as we work towards providing a safe and supportive start to the new school year.
All the best to you and your families in 2021-22.
Dear secondary students and families,
As follow-up to our message on June 17, we are providing you with information about the secondary school timetable structure for the 2021-2022 school year.
Secondary schools continue to timetable for the 2021-2022 school year, keeping in mind requirements from the Ministry of Education and Public Health protocols while focusing on student well-being. Pending confirmation from the Ministry of Education, we anticipate all secondary students will follow a Modified Four Course Semester Model in September 2021.
In accordance to direction from the Ministry of Education, all schools will follow a common timetable structure:
- four (4) courses scheduled per semester,
- two (2) periods running per day in alternating weeks and a common lunch.
- Students will attend face-to-face every day for a full day, and each class will run for 150 minutes equaling 300 minutes of instructional time per day.
- Remote learning will be available for students who request it.
It is reassuring that York Region residents ages 12 and above are receiving first and second vaccinations. Further, we’re seeing a continued decline in COVID-19 cases in York Region and across the province. We are looking forward to welcoming all our students in person come September 2021. Through a learning model form that will be open between July 28 - August 16, 2021, students and families will be able to choose face-to-face learning or remote learning. Depending on the number of students and their learning choices, there may be classes that are entirely face-to-face or hybrid (teachers are simultaneously teaching in-class and remote learners).
Recognizing that additional important details from the Ministry and Public Health will continue to emerge during July and August, we are committed to supporting the back to school transition of all learners, with particular attention to those communities that have experienced historic and present-day oppression and for whom the effects of this marginalization have been amplified by the pandemic. We will continue to engage best practices from virtual and in-person experiences that centre the needs of students and families, build on the effective instructional practices gained through synchronous and asynchronous learning environments and commit to reimagining possibilities for schooling as sites for transformation and as anti-oppressive communities of care and learning.
The Modified Four Course Semester Modelallows students to take a total of four courses over a semester by alternating two courses one week and the other two courses the following week. See sample Grade 9 student timetable below:
Monday to Friday
Monday To Friday
Morning Learning Block
Afternoon Learning Block
Families will receive information from their child’s school one week prior to the first day of classes, indicating how to access TeachAssist to view personalized student timetables for the 2021-2022 school year.
Thank you for your continued patience and understanding. We look forward to welcoming students, staff and families back to our schools in the Fall.
Director of Education
As the 2020-2021 school year draws to a close, we would like to take this opportunity to provide you with an update on end-of-year activities and some information regarding the 2021-2022 school year.
We know that students and staff members have worked extremely hard over the past school year and have continuously adjusted to the changing requirements presented by the COVID-19 global pandemic. On behalf of everyone at the York Region District School Board, we thank you for your ongoing support and efforts to mitigate and reduce the transmission of COVID-19 in our schools and communities.
Due to your efforts and an accelerated vaccination program, we remain cautiously optimistic to return to more in-person learning and experiences that enrich the educational journey of children and youth. York Region Public Health (YRPH) have issued a letter to families that outlines rationale for this optimism, and we’re grateful to them for their ongoing partnership.
2021-2022 Caring and Learning Plan - Selection of Learning Models
As previously announced, families will have the option to select in-person or virtual learning. To ensure families are making this decision with as much up-to-date information as possible, we anticipate that this process will take place July 28 -August 16. More information will be released at that time about how to make this selection.
The Caring and Learning Plan will focus on ensuring that the Board meets all protocols from public health authorities and focuses support on students’ well-being, including mental health. We know children and families have faced many challenges throughout the pandemic and we’ll work to provide as much care and education support as possible. As always, if you have any concerns for your child’s well-being, please speak to the school directly.
June 22 - School Preparation Day Elementary & Secondary
On June 22, all elementary and secondary students, including Community Class students who are currently attending in person, will be provided with asynchronous learning activities so that staff may prepare for the transition to in-person learning in September 2021. Students in community classes who are currently attending face-to-face will need to make alternate arrangements as schools will be closed to students and transportation will be cancelled. As mentioned previously, there is reason for optimism for returning to in-person learning in September and educators and school staff will be busy preparing classrooms and schools.
June 28 - Last Day of school for Secondary Students
For secondary students June 28 is dedicated to credit conferencing and recovery, and lessons will not be delivered on this day (this is in addition to June 18, which is also a credit recovery day). Class attendance will not be taken.
June 29 - Last Day of School for Elementary Students
Students will be dismissed early on June 29. This is considered a half day of learning. All Elementary students, including students in Community Classes who are currently attending in person, will participate in asynchronous learning activities the morning of June 29th as staff will be attending year end meetings.
June 25, 28, 29 - Student Personal Materials Retrieval and Return Days
On these dates, schools will plan to have students return to the school to retrieve any personal belongings that may have been left behind before the closure of schools in April. At this time, students will also return school materials/technology that they may have borrowed. Your child’s school will provide details and a schedule for you to participate as needed.
2021-2022 Secondary Model
Secondary schools are continuing to timetable for the 2021-2022 school year, keeping in mind requirements from the Ministry of Education and public health protocols. Beginning in September, pending confirmation from the Ministry of Education, we anticipate all secondary students to be attending school daily for the full school day. Our Board will continue to use the modified four course semester model (i.e., a rotation of two courses per day on a weekly basis). You will receive more information with schedules as timetables are finalized.
Please see this video regarding next school year’s learning model. We wish you and your loved ones a very safe, happy and enjoyable summer. There is so much to look forward to in the coming months and we can’t wait to welcome our students, staff and families back in person.
Louise Sirisko, Director of Education