COVID-19

 

Letters to Families 

Dear families, 

Please see this important joint message from York Region Public Health, YRDSB and YCDSB

York Region Public Health, along with York Region District School Board (YRDSB) and York Catholic District School Board (YCDSB) are strongly recommending all students, teachers, staff and visitors wear a mask in school when they return to school on Tuesday, April 19, 2022.

We wish you and your families a healthy, safe and happy long weekend. 

 

Dear families,

As you have likely read in recent news reports, Ontario is currently experiencing a spike in COVID-19 cases. While provincial and public health officials have not reinstituted additional protocols in response, our local public health unit continues to encourage all students and staff to wear masks at school and to complete the provincial screening tool prior to attending school. Anyone experiencing COVID-19 symptoms as identified in the screening tool should not attend school. 

At YRDSB, we continue to monitor student and staff member absence rates to plan for adequate classroom coverage and supervision. As case numbers continue to increase, we know that this will affect our ability to put in place qualified supervision in classrooms. Schools are doing everything they can to ensure substitute staff members or coverage are in place for your child each day. It is always our goal to keep schools and classrooms open. However, there may be some cases whereas a last resort, the school may be required to move a class or school to online learning due to lack of available substitute staff members. The Board continues to hire more substitutes and look for ways in which to continue to operate classrooms and schools, but we are also mindful of prioritizing student safety. 

In addition to COVID-19 pressures, we are anticipating a significant number of absences for April 22, 2022. We will be closely monitoring and will communicate with any schools/classrooms that may be affected. 

Where classes are moved to online, learning will continue virtually either asynchronously or synchronously. Families will receive notice through email and/or text. Your child’s teacher(s) will communicate with students regarding the learning arrangements for that day.Tips and resources are available on the Board website to support families in accessing online learning tools.

We recognize that this information may be concerning for families. Please know that these decisions are not taken lightly, and are made to ensure continuation of student learning and to support student safety and well-being. 

Thank you for your ongoing support and patience. For up-to-date information, please visit www.yrdsb.ca and the Board’s Twitter feed @yrdsb

Dear families, 

Beginning in November 2020, Inclement Weather Interim Procedures were developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Given that many COVID-19 restrictions were recently lifted by the provincial government, effective immediately, we will be returning to our previous practice for inclement weather. This means that when student transportation (buses and taxis) are cancelled due to inclement weather, schools will remain open to students. You can find information about winter inclement weather and school transportation cancellations on our website.

Please note that Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement for tomorrow, Wednesday, March 30. Please continue to monitor local media for up to date weather forecasts and take safety precautions advised by local authorities. 

There may still be rare occasions where unprecedented winter weather events occur and we need to close all schools and Board locations. Closures will be considered when facilities may not be safe for students and staff members to attend school for the full day. This may include events that significantly limit school operations such as a significant snowfall or ice storm that restricts access to the school site, causes widespread or prolonged power failures or downs power lines.

We will endeavor to keep our schools open as much as possible. However, it is important that families have alternate child care arrangements planned for the rare occasions when schools may be closed. Before and after care programs will also not operate if schools are closed. Please ensure that you take the time to make plans in the event of an emergency school closure.

As a reminder, please note that on Inclement Weather days, there will be no assessments and new material will not be introduced.  In-person learners who attend school will be provided with activities or tasks, which are supplementary. This could include practice, completion of work, an extension or reinforcement to the current learning.  

Remote learners and in-person learners who do not attend school on the day may access asynchronous learning activities online at tvoLearn.com. French Language resources are available at TFO. Note that some resources on the TFO site (e.g., IDÉLLO) require students/parents to create an account if they wish to access them. 

As always, families have the final say over whether or not their children should attend school when we’re experiencing challenging weather conditions. Students not attending school due to inclement weather will not be coded as absent or be penalized in any way, but we do ask families to let the school know if your child will not be attending or late. 

Announcements will be posted as early as possible and no later than 6:00 a.m. Please check the following for updates: 

  • Student Transportation Services website: schoolbuscity.com
  • Student Transportation Hotline: 1-877-330-3001
  • @YRDSB Twitter account
  • Board website (www.yrdsb.ca) and school websites
  • Radio and TV media outlets

Please continue to monitor local media for up-to-date weather forecasts and take safety precautions advised by local authorities. 

Our priority continues to be the safety of our students, staff members and families. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we navigate to our new normal and thank you for your continued support.

 

Dear families, 

We hope that you and your loved ones had an enjoyable March break. As we prepare to return to the classroom, we know that some families have questions about the lifting of public health and safety measures.

On March 9, 2022, the Government of Ontario announced their plan to lift many of the COVID-19 health and safety measures in public spaces and schools. Effective Monday, March 21, 2022, the following measures are in place:

Masks

Students, staff members and school visitors will no longer be required to wear masks in school. Individuals who feel more comfortable, are advised or required (e.g., recently returned from international travel)  to wear a mask can continue to wear a mask and will be supported in doing so.

Please see this important message from York Region Public Health and these video messages about masking:

As noted in the letter “York Region Public Health is strongly encouraging students/attendees, staff and visitors to continue wearing a mask for at least two weeks after March Break in areas with the 3 Cs: crowded settings, places where there is close contact or when spaces may be confined.”

Screening

Staff and students will not be required to complete the screening confirmation form each day. Students, staff members and visitors are to continue to review and adhere to the COVID-19 School and Child-Care Screening Tool (please click on Check for Symptoms Daily), prior to entering the school daily.  The screening tool has been updated to reflect new masking and isolation requirements. 

Additional information about what to do if you have tested positive or been exposed to a positive case can also be found at www.york.ca/safeatschool. Please note that close contacts of a COVID-19 case who are not required to isolate must self-monitor for 10 days (from last exposure) and wear a well-fitted mask in school and child care settings. This includes avoiding activities such as high-contact sports and playing wind instruments where masking and/or physical distancing cannot be maintained. 

Vaccination Attestations

Vaccination attestations are no longer required for school board staff, or for students participating in school athletics. 

York Region Public Health continues to recommend vaccines as safe, effective and the best way to protect yourself and those around you from serious illnesses.

Other Health and Safety Measures

Students will no longer be required to remain in cohorts or to practice physical distancing. Hand hygiene (including the use of hand sanitizer and hand washing) and cleaning protocols will remain in place. In addition, we will continue to follow our current ventilation practices. 

Travel

The Government of Canada has also announced new health and safety measures for those returning from international travel. Under the current federal travel requirements, staff, students and visitors returning from international travel (even if exempt from quarantine) must wear a well-fitted mask at all times when in public spaces (including schools) for a period of 14 days.

Additional Information

Please also be assured that we will continue to consult with public health to ensure we are taking all appropriate measures to protect the health and safety of our students, staff members and families. 

We look forward to welcoming students back after March Break. For more information, please visit www.yrdsb.ca or follow us on Twitter @YRDSB

Dear Families,

We know that families may have questions about what to expect during the next school year. Given the numerous benefits of in-person learning, we are planning for our students to attend school in person, while following all appropriate measures to protect the health and safety of students, staff and families. 

The Ministry of Education has directed school boards to provide a remote learning option for students for 2022-23. For next year, we will have an Elementary Virtual School and Secondary Virtual School.  The parameters of the virtual schools are currently being reviewed.  

Our planned response to the pandemic for next school year does not include a “hybrid” model of learning.

Please note the following information as you begin to contemplate your decisions for next year: 

  • In April 2022, students and families will be asked to select their learning model for the entire 2022-2023 school year. We will share information with you in the coming weeks about when and how to select your learning model and other information to help you make an informed decision. This will include start and end times, programs and offerings, etc. 
  • Families and students should expect to remain in the selected model for the full school year.
  • Secondary Virtual School will offer Gifted and Community Classes. An offering of core courses will be available to students, however, specialty programs will not be offered virtually (including French Immersion, the Arts, International Baccalaureate, Advanced Placement, Specialist High Skills Majors and High Performance Athlete). Specialty programs will continue to be offered through in-person learning. 
  • Elementary Virtual Schools will offer French Immersion, Community Classes and Gifted programming. 

We will continue to share updates with you as it becomes available to help you make an informed decision for the 2022-2023 school year. 

 

Mental health supports available regarding news of global conflicts

As events have unfolded in Ukraine over the past days and weeks, we are aware that many individuals in our YRDSB community, including students, families, and staff, have close ties to that country through heritage or family connections. Our thoughts are with those affected by this event and other instances of armed conflict throughout the world.  These events coupled with the effects of the global pandemic, may be affecting children in different ways. Resources are available to support you and your child in dealing with these issues. 

School Mental Health Ontario has prepared information for parents on this topic. In addition, our Board’s Psychology and Social Work teams have created tips for parents on how to navigate conversations after traumatic events are available on the Board’s website.
 

 Throughout the March break and beyond, community resources are available at:

  • 310-COPE: 905-310-COPE (2673) or 1-855-310-COPE (2673) - available 24/7
  • KidsHelpPhone: 1-800-668-6868, text 686868 - available 24/7
  • Mental Health Helpline: 1-866-531-2600 - available 24/7
  • York Hills Help Phone Line: 905-503-9561 Monday, Wednesday, Friday 9:30-4:00 p.m. for children and youth (0-18 years) and their parents, caregivers or adult supporters. Visit www.yorkhills.ca for more information

Some identity- specific resources include but are not limited to:

When returning from the March break, if you are concerned about your child’s emotional well-being, please contact your child’s school, who can assist in coordinating support. 

 

COVID19 Measures in Schools

Yesterday, the provincial government announced changes to the COVID19 protocols in schools. Please visit the Board’s website for more information, including a message shared with families yesterday. 

We thank all families for their continued support of public education.

As you may be aware, this morning, the Government of Ontario announced their plan to lift many of the COVID-19 health and safety measures in public spaces and schools. Effective Monday, March 21, 2022:

  • Students, staff members and school visitors will no longer be required to wear masks in school. Individuals who feel more comfortable or who are advised to wear a mask can continue to wear a mask and will be supported in doing so.

  • Staff and students will not be required to complete the screening confirmation form each day. Students, staff members and visitors should continue to review and adhere to the COVID-19 School and Child-Care Screening Tool (please click on Check for Symptoms Daily), prior to entering the school daily.  The screening tool has been updated to reflect new isolation requirements. 

  • Students will no longer be required to remain in cohorts or to practice physical distancing. 

In addition, effective March 14, requirements for staff members to complete vaccination attestations or mandatory testing will be removed. 

Hand washing and cleaning protocols will remain in place. In addition, we will continue to follow our current ventilation practices. 

Current measures remain in effect until March 21, 2022, including mask requirements for all students in Kindergarten to Grade 12, and the completion of the screening confirmation form. 

We appreciate that students and families may have mixed reactions to this announcement. Our educators will continue to support student well-being as these changes are implemented, and work to ensure all of our students feel safe, welcome and supported. Please also be assured that we will continue to consult with public health to ensure we are taking all appropriate measures to protect the health and safety of our students, staff members and families.

 

Reopening Update to Families

Dear families, 

As we prepare for schools to reopen for in-person learning, there are a few important updates we want to share with you. 

 

Potential class and school closures

As staff members and students are required to self-isolate with increased cases of COVID-19, schools may encounter operational challenges. Please be aware that there may be occasions when classrooms or schools are required to close to in-person learning and move to virtual learning for a period of time. Schools will notify families as soon as possible when this is the case. Families are asked to develop a routine of checking email regularly at the start and end of every day for important communication from the school and Board given our circumstances.

 

Information from York Region Public Health

Please read this update from York Region Public Health that includes important information about:

  • COVID-19 screening 
  • what to do if your child develops symptoms and/or tests positive for COVID-19
  • vaccines
  • public health measures

 

Daily Screening

As York Region Public Health is no longer actively managing cases and dismissing cohorts, daily screening for students and staff is more important than ever. Similar to the start of the year, students and families will be required to complete the confirmation of screening before coming to school each morning. 

 

Masks

As a reminder from our previous message, York Region Public Health has mandated that all students in JK-Grade 12 wear masks throughout the day. 

 

Reporting of Cases

We know families have many questions about the public reporting of school cases, following the Government of Ontario’s announcement that school cases will no longer be reported. In place of reporting COVID-19 cases, the Ministry of Education is requiring schools to monitor and report on the number of student and staff absences (personal information will not be shared). The Ministry will be sharing these numbers publicly beginning the week of January 24. We remain committed to being transparent with our families and will ensure this information is accessible on the COVID-19 reporting page on our Board website

In addition, as noted above, there may be occasions when classrooms or schools are required to close to in-person learning as a result of isolation requirements. We will also share data on classroom and school closures on the COVID-19 reporting page on our Board website

 

Transportation

Transportation schedules for students will be the same as the schedules followed September to December (before the school closures). Students who were attending school and transported during the closure period will revert to their schedule prior to school closure. For more information about your route, please visit: net.schoolbuscity.com. 

As bus drivers are also required to isolate with increased cases of COVID-19, bus routes may encounter challenges obtaining replacement driver coverage. Please be aware that there may be occasions when bus routes may be canceled and families will need to make alternate transportation arrangements or shift to virtual learning for a period of time. Schools will notify families as soon as possible when this is the case. Families of bused students are asked to check net.schoolbuscity.com every morning to verify bus runs and cancellations.

 

Inclement Weather

Please note that, currently, the forecast for Monday, January 17, includes the potential for significant snowfall. 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.  If an Inclement Weather day is declared, all students will be provided with asynchronous learning activities for the day. Please do not send your child to school when an inclement weather day is declared.  

 

Short-Term Learning Model Change Requests

We recognize students may need to move to virtual learning for isolation reasons for a short term.  Families should inform their school administration if online learning is needed for shorter term isolation reasons ( e.g., five days).

 

Long-Term Learning Model Change Requests

When schools reopen, requests may continue to be made to move between in-person learning and remote learning. Families should contact their school about the decision to change learning Models for a longer term.  We encourage families to commit to their learning model choice until Family Day, February 21, 2022  Please note that transportation provision for those eligible may take some time to coordinate.


Thank you for your cooperation and patience as we moved to remote learning for the past two weeks. We look forward to welcoming our students back to in-person school on Monday. For more information and resources, please visit www2.yrdsb.ca/school-reopening or follow us on Twitter @YRDSB. We will continue to share information with you as it becomes available. 

Dear families,

We have received notice from the Ontario Ministry of Education that all schools will reopen to in-person learning on January 17. Students should plan to follow their regular school timetables. 

 

What can I expect when schools reopen? 

  • All students in Kindergarten to Grade 12 will be required to wear masks. Public Health Agency of Canada recommends Canadians wear three-layer cloth masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

  • The Ministry of Education is requiring that students provide confirmation of COVID-19 screening. Similar to the start of the year, students and families will be required to complete the confirmation of screening before coming to school each morning. 

  • As staff members are required to isolate with increased cases of COVID-19, schools may encounter challenges obtaining replacement coverage. Please be aware that there may be occasions when classrooms or schools are required to close to in-person learning and move to virtual learning for a period of time. Schools will notify families as soon as possible when this is the case. 

  • Transportation schedules for students will be the same as the schedules followed September to December (before the school closures). Students who were attending school and transported during the closure period will revert to their schedule prior to school closure. For more information about your route, please visit: schoolbuscity.com

  • Earlier today, the provincial government announced additional initiatives, such as access to rapid antigen testing, beginning with elementary school students and staff members, and additional in-school vaccination clinics. We will provide information on these initiatives as it becomes available. 

 

Short-Term Learning Model Change Requests

We recognize students may need to move to virtual learning for isolation reasons for a short term.  Families should inform their school administration if online learning is needed for shorter term isolation reasons ( e.g., five days).

 

Long-Term Learning Model Change Requests

  • When schools reopen, requests may continue to be made to move between in-person learning and remote learning. Families should contact their school about the decision to change learning models for a longer term.  
  • Families are asked to limit frequent changes to their learning model choice to enable planning and stability for students.
  • Please note that transportation provision for those eligible may take some time to coordinate.

 

Resources for Families

You may be concerned about your child and family’s well-being. You can find mental health resources, community resources, programs, online learning resources and more on our website at www.yrdsb.ca/school-reopening.  

 

Thank you for your ongoing support and patience. We will continue to share updates and information with you as it becomes available.  You can also follow the Board’s Twitter feed: @YRDSB, or for information about YRDSB’s reopening plan, visit: www.yrdsb.ca/school-reopening.  

Sincerely, 

Louise Sirisko,
Director of Education

 

Dear families,

Earlier today, the Government of Ontario announced that, following the winter break, all Ontario schools will be closed to students for at least two weeks. This is a change from our previous message on December 31, 2022.   

Between January 3-14, 2022, schools will be closed to students. From January 5-14 students will participate in remote learning. This is in an effort to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. At this time, schools are expected to reopen to students for in-person learning on January 17, 2022.

Before and after care programs will not operate while schools are closed to students. For full day child care programs, please check in with your child care provider. 

 

What does the school closure mean for students?

Students will participate in remote learning from January 5-14 using their remote classrooms. Your child’s teachers will share more information. 

Please contact your child’s school if you require access to technology and/or internet services. Loaner technology will be made available for pick up from your child’s school or, depending on school-based inventory, prepped and delivered to families commencing Jan 5, 2022. All loaner technology must be returned to your child’s school on the first day that in person learning resumes. 

Special Education 

Most students with special education needs will be learning remotely during this period. In order to reduce the spread of COVID-19, in-person learning should be reserved for a small group of students that cannot be accommodated through remote learning. More information regarding Special Education will be available in the near future.

 

New Public Health Measures

In addition to current health and safety measures, when schools reopen to students, York Region Public Health is requiring the use of masks for all Kindergarten students attending York Region schools. All students in Kindergarten to Grade 12 will be required to wear masks. 

 

Resources for Families

Families looking for assistance in navigating online tools can find resources available on the Board website, including IT support for families. 

You may be concerned about your child and family’s well-being. You can find mental health resources, community resources, programs, online learning resources and more on our website at www.yrdsb.ca/school-reopening.  

Thank you for your ongoing support and patience. We will continue to share updates and information with you as it becomes available.  You can also follow the Board’s Twitter feed: @YRDSB, or for information about YRDSB’s reopening plan, visit: www.yrdsb.ca/school-reopening.  

Sincerely, 

Louise Sirisko,
Director of Education

 

Dear families,

I hope that this communication finds your family healthy and safe as we continue to be challenged with the pandemic. We have received notice from the Ontario Ministry of Education that following the winter break, all Ontario schools will be closed to students on January 3 and 4, 2022. 

During this period, students will not participate in face-to-face or online learning. Both face-to-face and remote learning will commence on January 5, 2022.

Child care centres will continue to operate.  

What can I expect when schools reopen? 

Schools are expected to reopen to students on Wednesday, January 5. 

  • When schools reopen to in-person learning, some families may wish to switch between remote/online learning and in-person learning. Requests may continue to be made to move between in-person learning and remote learning. Please contact the school to request a switch to remote learning. Please note that transportation provision for those eligible may take longer to coordinate. Additional information can be found in frequently asked questions on the Board website. 

  • As staff members are required to isolate with increased cases of COVID-19, schools may encounter challenges obtaining replacement coverage. Please be aware that there may be occasions when classrooms or schools are required to close to in-person learning and move to virtual learning for a period of time. Schools will notify families as soon as possible when this is the case. 

  • This afternoon, the Government of Ontario announced changes to public health measures, including:

    • Updating the COVID-19 school and child care screener ahead of the return to school on January 5 and asking students, parents and staff for rigorous screening and monitoring of symptoms.

    • Providing optional non-fit-tested N95 masks for staff in schools and licensed child care settings as an optional alternative to medical/surgical masks, and additional supply of high-quality three-ply cloth masks that are strongly encouraged and free for students and children in January.

    • Continuing take-home PCR testing eligibility for highly symptomatic elementary and secondary students, education staff and participating private and First Nation operated schools who have received a PCR self-collection kit through their school.

    • Starting in January, temporarily permitting only low-contact indoor sports and safe extra-curricular activities.

    • Updating COVID-19 reporting requirements for school boards and child care in January.

    • Informing people what to do if they believe they have been exposed to COVID-19 at www.ontario.ca/exposed

Resources for Families

You may be concerned about your child’s emotional well-being. You can find mental health supports and other resources available on the Board website at www.yrdsb.ca/school-reopening.   

Thank you for your ongoing support and patience. We will continue to share updates and information with you as it becomes available.  You can also follow the Board’s Twitter feed: @YRDSB, or for information about YRDSB’s reopening plan, visit: www.yrdsb.ca/school-reopening. The safety, well-being and education of our students will remain at the centre of all our decisions and planning.

Sincerely, 

Louise Sirisko,
Director of Education

Dear families, 

As we go into the winter break, we want to take this opportunity to thank you for your partnership over the first half of the school year. We know this year, our second year in a pandemic, has created challenges for families and we appreciate your collaboration to ensure the continuity of learning for our students. 

We also want to share some important reminders with families:

 

Rapid Antigen Tests

The Ministry of Education is providing one box of Rapid Antigen Tests to all students attending school in person. They are encouraging students to use these optional tests to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 upon the return to school on January 3, 2022.  Schools distributed tests to students along with information about when and how to take these tests. Please see the letter from York Region’s Medical Officer of Health with some advice for the tests. 

 

Public Health Guidelines

It is essential that we all continue to adhere to public health guidelines over the break, particularly with the recent rise in COVID-19 cases and information about the omicron variant. As always, we will continue to keep you updated as new information becomes available. 

 

Returning from Travel

We appreciate that many families have planned vacations over the break, and encourage you to continue to check travel advisories and requirements from the Government of Canada. It is important that families adhere to all testing and self-isolation requirements following travel, to help us protect the health and safety of our students and staff. 

 

Screening Requirements upon Return to School

The Ministry of Education is requiring that students provide confirmation of COVID-19 screening when families return from the winter break. Similar to the start of the year, students and families will be required to complete the confirmation of screening before coming to school each morning. The forms can be found on the Board website at www.yrdsb.ca/school-reopening

 

Message from the Minister of Education

In addition, please read this Message from the Minister of Education 

 

Messages from York Region Public Health

Please read the following messages and updates from York Region Public Health:

 

Return to School in January

We are working on the plan that schools will reopen in January, however we are prepared to move to virtual learning if that announcement is made. Should the provincial government make an announcement regarding the timing of the winter break, we will communicate it to families as we receive information. Please remind your children to bring home all personal belongings, including personally owned technology, they will need over the winter break. 

We wish you all a healthy, safe and restful winter break, and if you and your family are celebrating, we wish you a very happy holiday season. 

 

Dear 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.

Dear families, 

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:

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

Screening 

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.

Winter Break

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.

Dear families,

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.

Dear families,

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. 

Dear families, 

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.

Dear families, 

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. 

Additional information on health and safety measures, as well as additional information and resources on the 2021-22 school year can be found on the Board website at www.yrdsb.ca/school-reopening

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. 

Dear Families,

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. 

Screening

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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:

  1. 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
  2. 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.

 

Ventilation 

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. 

 

Vaccinations

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. 

 

Masking

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.

 

Additional Information

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:

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. 

Dear families,

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

 

Kindergarten

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

 

Secondary School

*Please note: 

  • 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:

 

WEEK ONE

Monday to Friday

WEEK TWO

Monday To Friday

Morning Learning Block

(150 minutes)

ENG1D1

(English)

SNC1D1

(Science)

Lunch Block

Lunch

Lunch

Afternoon Learning Block

(150 minutes)

AVI1O1

(Visual art)

FSF1D1

(French)

 

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.

 

Sincerely,

Louise Sirisko,
Director of Education

Dear Families,

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. 

Sincerely,

Louise Sirisko, Director of Education