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Letters to Families 

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

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