COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

On this page:

  • Health and Safety
  • Learning Model Selection 
  • Teaching and Learning

 

Health and Safety

For more information on health and safety measures, visit our health and safety page. 

Last week, the Chief Medical Officer of Health announced the Government of Ontario’s plan to lift many of the COVID-19 health and safety measures in public spaces and schools. Effective 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 or required (e.g. after returning from international travel, in accordance with the screening tool) to wear a mask can continue to wear a mask and will be supported in doing so.

As noted in the letter from public health that was shared with families “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.”

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., after returning from international travel, in accordance with the screening tool)  to wear a mask can continue to wear a mask and will be supported in doing so.

Individuals may be required to wear a mask in accordance with the COVID-19 School and Child-Care Screening Tool and federal travel requirements.

Masks are required for staff performing an Aerosol Generating Medical Procedure or in the same room when it is being performed; and staff attending to symptomatic individuals. 

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, 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

The Government of Ontario has announced that school cases will no longer be reported. 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. Individuals who do not pass screening must not enter the school or child care and follow the guidance provided in the screening tool. If you have tested positive or been exposed to a positive case, please refer to the screening tool instructions or refer to ontario.ca/exposed for more information.

Effective March 21, 2022, staff and students will not be required to complete the screening confirmation form each day. 

Students, staff members and visitors are required 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 isolation requirements.

As outlined by York Region Public Health, based on symptoms, if the screening tool advises your child must isolate, assume your child has a COVID-19 infection. Please refer to the screening tool instructions or refer ontario.ca/exposed for more information.

 

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

As outlined by York Region Public Health, “there is no requirement for parent(s)/guardian(s) to report their child’s PCR/RAT results to the school or child care as part of absence reporting.” Based on symptoms, if the screening tool advises your child must isolate, assume your child has a COVID-19 infection.

The provincial government provided two rapid tests to staff and students upon the reopening of schools in January. Ontarians can also get a free rapid antigen test kit for at-home use.

No, at this point in time, students are not required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to attend school in-person. For more information about vaccines, please visit http://york.ca/COVID19Vaccine.  

 

The Board is working with York Region Public Health (YRPH) to coordinate potential in-school vaccination clinics. At this point in time, no determination has been made. More information will be communicated when available. Vaccination appointments are available through the provincial government or by visiting the YRPH website.

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

Students, including elementary students, may go home at lunch time.

 

In order to minimize congregation, students are asked to bring both snacks and lunches to school each day.

Food programs may resume as per past practices; schools are reminded to follow safe food storage and handling guidelines.

Classrooms with mechanical ventilation will be fitted with MERV13 filters, fresh air rates will be increased to maximum the system can provide before discomfort and a 2 hour purge will occur each morning before staff and students arrive and 2 hours after staff and students leave.

Classrooms without mechanical ventilation, isolation rooms and Kindergarten classes will be provided with Portable HEPA Air filter units. School specific details will be shared using a Ministry template dashboard.

 

Please see our health and safety page for additional information about health and safety measures in place.

School vehicles can operate at full capacity. For more information, visit the COVID-19 Student Transportation webpage.

As outlined by the Government of Ontario, beginning 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 or required to wear a mask can continue to wear a mask and will be supported in doing so.

Individuals may be required to wear a mask in accordance with the COVID-19 School and Child-Care Screening Tool and federal travel requirements.

Masks are also required for staff performing an Aerosol Generating Medical Procedure or in the same room when it is being performed; and staff attending to symptomatic individuals. 

 

 

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

As outlined by the Government of Ontario, beginning 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 or required  to wear a mask can continue to wear a mask and will be supported in doing so. 

 

 

 

Learning Model Selection

  • Absences due to COVID-19 related issues (e.g,.confirmed case, close contact) 
    • Parents/guardians inform the school’s main office why the student will be absent
    • Students are to be accommodated with remote learning as soon as possible. 
    • If the class is already hybrid, then students may access remote learning right away.
    • If the class is not hybrid, the class will move to hybrid as soon as possible. 
  • Absences due to short-term illness (unrelated to COVID-19)
    • Parents/guardians inform the school’s main office why the student is going to be absent
    • Students are marked absent with the appropriate reason code. 
    • If the class is already hybrid, the student may access the class’s digital platform, however the student is marked absent. 
    • If the class is not hybrid, the student can be supported through regular classroom/school practice.   
  • Absences due to long term illness (unrelated to COVID-19)
    • Families should communicate with the school principal to discuss long-term absences.
    • Appropriate medical documentation should be provided by a regulated health professional.
  • Absences due to vacation
    • Learning model changes are not intended for the purpose of vacation or any other reasons where the family has control of the schedule. 
    • Remote learning is not intended to provide temporary education while students are on vacation.

 

Families may continue to request 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.

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).

 

For the 2021-2022 school year, YRDSB implemented a hybrid model, which allows families to opt for in-person or remote learning, and placement for all students will be in their home school. This means that students attending face-to-face and students attending remotely will be taught simultaneously by the same educators. In this model, all assessment is done equitably, whether instruction is in-person or remote, throughout the school year as students may change models. 

We have shared that Culminating Activity Days will be used for culminating activities (e.g., presentations, performances, demonstrations, portfolios, conversations, credit salvaging and conferencing); and no formal exams will be scheduled for the 2021-2022 school year.   To support student success and learning, teachers will continue to use their professional judgment to exercise flexibility and understanding in their semester end planning.  Remote options for all culminating activities are to be available (if needed). 

 

Families should contact their child’s school to report their child’s absence and discuss access to remote learning.  

 

For questions related to international students, please contact international.education@yrdsb.ca.

Teaching and Learning

As staff members and students are required to self-isolate with increased cases of COVID-19, schools may encounter operational challenges. 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. There may also 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 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. Families of bused students are asked to check net.schoolbuscity.com every morning to verify bus runs and cancellations.

 

The learning model will be hybrid. Families will have the ability to opt for in-person or remote learning connected to their home school. Both in-school learners and remote learners will be a part of their home school, be in the same class and taught simultaneously by the same educator.  Remote learners will participate in the same curriculum experiences as in-school learners according to the same schedule. The same school hours will be followed by all students, regardless of whether they are engaging in learning at school or remotely.

The ministry has directed boards to provide options for families to learn through either a face-to-face mode (in-person) or a virtual model within the funding envelope received from the province. The hybrid model allows for flexibility and for students and families to choose their model for learning. This means that students attending face-to-face and students attending remotely will be taught simultaneously by the same educators. We will continue to follow public health guidelines in all our decision-making as the safety of our students is always our top priority as we work to engage students in learning during these challenging times.

 

Virtual schools are very costly to run. Unlike this year, the Ministry has indicated that there will be no additional funding provided to operate separate virtual schools. Virtual schools also disconnect students and their families and staff from their home schools, and we’ve heard from families that maintaining a connection to their school is a priority.

 

Each school will determine the composition of classes based on the number of students who choose in-person and remote learning. Schools will work to limit the number of classes that will be hybrid.  At times, a class can be completely face-to-face or remote, however, any class can become a hybrid class based on the changing needs of students and families.

 

The hybrid model has numerous benefits including keeping remote learners connected to their home school with their friends and offering continuity of learning through a seamless transition from in-class learning to remote learning or vice-versa. All students receive the same classroom instruction from their teachers. Students will belong to a class in their school regardless of their chosen learning format. Students will be able to re-establish connections with their school and peers which we believe will promote positive mental health.

 

Students will learn the same curriculum and complete the same assignments, assessments and evaluations. Teachers will continue to differentiate instruction, assessment and evaluation to meet the needs of all students. Teachers have always planned learning experiences to incorporate whole group or smaller group teaching and whole class, small group and individual student support as follow-up. This will continue in the hybrid model. Our staff have taught online in the past and will continue to have opportunities for professional learning to support them.

 

The daily synchronous learning requirements from last year will remain in place for the small number of students who will be learning remotely this year.

Elementary

  • Kindergarten - 180 minutes
  • Grades 1 to 8 - 225 minutes
  • Grades 4 to 8 - 225 minutes

Secondary

  • 80 per cent of a class

Students learning remotely will access learning from the teacher's digital classroom and will engage in both synchronous and asynchronous learning throughout the day. Where possible and appropriate, at different points in the day, students may be working independently, with a partner, in a small group or as a full class depending on the nature of the learning task or lesson, as well as student needs.

 

As YRDSB moves closer to post-pandemic teaching, caring and learning, we acknowledge that students and staff will be returning in the fall having had very different pandemic experiences. Student and staff mental health, emotional connections and well-being are held at the centre of our return to learning. With this in mind, we have created a Caring and Learning Plan that supports educators and students with strategies and supports for teaching and learning in a hybrid model.

During the September PA day, educators will be able to access elementary and secondary classroom-based resources to support them with teaching students face-to-face and remotely. Topics for the learning include:

  • Digital Tools and Technology;
  • Assessment Strategies;
  • Developing Inclusive Relationships and Learning Communities;
  • Getting to Know Learners; and
  • Planning (Elementary/Secondary)

Additional optional learning will also be available prior to the school year. Planning, instruction and assessment resources and supports will continue throughout the school year.

 

Educators will use instructional practices that protect privacy, security and student dignity. The board has developed information about Privacy Considerations for Hybrid Learning for 2021-2022.

 

We are providing a return to school transition program for students with significant special education needs. It is taking place the week before school starts. There will also be an intentional focus on mental health and well-being as we return to school. Resources and professional learning will be provided to staff prior to the first day of school.

 

Student placements, including placements in an SSC, will be maintained and supported regardless of whether the student is learning in person or remotely.

 

Teachers will teach students who are learning face-to-face as well as students who selected remote learning, therefore this will not impact whether a course will be offered.

 

In an effort to create one learning community, educators may bring face-to-face and remote students together on screen to engage in instructional activities that allow student interaction, engagement and inclusion. Such activities support instruction and students’ well-being.

 

Teachers are expected to teach all students the expectations outlined in the Ontario Curriculum. Similar to last year, students will attend school five days per week, with 300 minutes of instruction.

 

We anticipate that we will be able to offer experiential learning courses for both remote and face-to-face learners. Resources have been developed for educators to support in planning for the different curriculum areas. This includes templates to support in the development of experiential learning activities in the hybrid classroom.

 

Both in-school learners and remote learners will be a part of their home school, be in the same class and taught simultaneously by the same educator. Remote learners will participate in the same curriculum experiences as in-school learners according to the same schedule. The same school hours will be followed by all students, regardless of whether they are engaging in learning at school or remotely.

 

Students will learn the same curriculum and teachers will continue to differentiate instruction, assessment and evaluation to meet the needs of students learning face-to-face and remotely to address the expectations outlined in the Drama and Physical Education curriculum. Educators will plan teaching and learning opportunities that students are able to participate actively in, interacting together as one learning community. Resources will continue to be developed for educators to engage students in opportunities for meaningful learning and purposeful practice. Our staff have taught online in the past and will continue to have opportunities for professional learning to support them.

 

Teachers will follow the school schedule. Students learning remotely will be provided an opportunity to play and eat lunch during these scheduled breaks.

 

Yes, students learning remotely will engage in assessments at the same time as their peers.

Remote learners will participate in the same curriculum experiences as in-school learners according to the same schedule. Students in the IB program who choose to learn remotely will learn in a hybrid learning environment with face-to-face students who are in the same course.

 

Similar to last year, educators will use Google Classroom or Brightspace to engage students who will be learning remotely. This year, educators will be equipped with headsets and a web-camera for the purpose of supporting remote learners to see and hear lessons. The web-camera will generally point toward the teacher and the whiteboard/chalkboard and at times, may capture the voices/images of students learning remotely or face-to-face for learning purposes. Cameras will not be permanently mounted to broadcast the full classroom.

Educators will use instructional practices that protect privacy, security and student dignity. The board has developed information about Privacy Considerations for Hybrid Learning for 2021-2022.