July 21, 2020

IMPT UPDATE from the Peel District School Board regarding school reopening plans for 2020-21

​Dear Peel District School Board Students and Families,​

We hope you are enjoying a restful summer despite the challenges presented to us during the COVID-19 pandemic. In preparation for the new school year, we are writing to share some information about what you can expect when schools reopen. We know it's a long message, and apologize, but we wanted to share as much information as we are able to at this time.

What will schools look like when they reopen?

As you know, in June, the Ministry of Education announced that Ontario schools will reopen for 2020-21. School boards have been directed to prepare reopening plans for three possible scenarios:

  1. a full-time return to in-person learning – In this model, students attend all day, every day
  2. a hybrid, adaptive model that combines in-person and distance learning — With this model, students in Special Education classes would attend every day. Other students would attend in person on alternate days/weeks and participate in distance learning when not physically attending. Students would be placed into a cohort of up to 15 students per class or course, per day.
  3. distance learning for all, if schools are closed​
We understand it is the government's preference to see all students back in class full-time, but this has not been finalized. The Ministry has indicated that student attendance for in-person learning will be voluntary and that students who do not attend in person will be engaged in distance learning.

By mid-August 2020, families will be asked to pre-register students, to indicate their intention of having their child(ren)'s return to school or participate in distance learning and their transportation (busing) intentions. This will help us plan bus routes and develop student cohorts—which groups of students will attend on which day if school boards are directed into a hybrid model.  It is very important that all parents/guardians respond to this survey so we can plan for a safe return for all. Please look for this survey, which will be emailed to parents/guardians.

How does this impact Balanced Calendar Schools that are scheduled to open on Aug. 4?

Since the Balanced Calendar School Year begins earlier than other schools, students at Ray Lawson, Roberta Bondar and Tony Pontes public schools will continue with distance learning for the start of their school year, from Aug. 4 to Sept. 4, 2020. Following that, Balanced Calendar schools will transition to reopening along with other Peel board schools, starting Sept. 8, 2020. 

When will the Peel District School Board share its reopening plans?

Staff, in consultation with employee groups and working with input from staff and family surveys, have been working over the past few weeks on the board's reopening plans—one for each scenario described above. It's expected that school boards will present their plans to the Ministry of Education beginning the week of July 27, 2020, and that the Ministry will provide final guidance on school board reopening plans by early August. This guidance will be based on updated and ongoing public health advice.

We understand that not knowing exactly what September will look like is causing concern for members of the Peel board community. We are working diligently to ensure that details about reopening will be provided to staff, students and families once the Peel board's plan receives Ministry approval. 

What will be included in the board's reopening plans?

Peel board staff are carefully working through all of the complex considerations to plan for everyone's safe return. Approved reopening plans will include information on:
  • enhanced health and safety measures, including screening and self-assessment, hand hygiene, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as masks, cohorting, physical distancing, sharing of classroom materials and room set-up
  • protocols for cleaning high-touch surfaces, student classrooms/portables, washrooms, alternative learning environments, equipment, etc., as well as cleaning between cohort use
  • mental health supports and resources
  • schedules/timetables
  • in-class and distance learning expectations, including subject-specific considerations
  • supports for students with special education needs and the impact on programming, including the use of sensory equipment, Plans of Care and working with community partners
  • assessment, evaluation and reporting
  • arrival/departure, entry/exit and Main Office protocols
  • lunch and nutrition breaks
  • extracurricular activities and field trips
  • mental health supports and resources
  • technology supports
  • transportation, including loading/unloading protocols, vehicle cleaning and route planning
  • full-time, before- and after-school child care
  • adult and continuing education, including, but not limited to, impacts on credit/pre-credit programs, Night School, International Languages, alternative programs, Co-Operative Education, Dual Credit and Specialist High Skills Major programs​

When can students/families expect to receive schedules/timetables?

Families can expect to receive details about their child(ren)'s elementary and secondary school schedule(s) by Aug. 28, 2020. Information will include cohort details and clearly outline the dates their children will attend. Secondary timetables will be available as of Sept. 4, 2020.

Given the ever-evolving nature of this pandemic, timelines for distributing this information may change.

Will students attend for a full day, if they return every day, or on alternating days as outlined in the hybrid model?

School days may need to be shortened to allow for distance learning for students whose families choose not to send them to school in person, and for Teachers to have some prep time, which school boards must provide. How much of the day will need to be shortened has not yet been finalized.

What will students' schedules/timetables look like in a HYBRID MODEL?

Elementary (NOT CONFIRMED)

  • Students in Special Education classes, excluding those listed in the chart below, will attend school every day. Details on what this might look like is included in the Special Education section below.
  • Other students would attend in person on alternate days/weeks and participate in distance learning when not physically attending. Students would be placed into a cohort of up to 15 students per class or course, per day.
  • For example, students in cohort A would attend school Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday one week, and Monday and Tuesday the following week, and then repeat this. Students in cohort B would attend school Thursday and Friday one week, and Wednesday, Thursday and Friday the following week, and then repeat this. FOR EXAMPLE – NOT CONFIRMED: Week 1: AAABB, Week 2: AABBB, repeat​

Secondary (NOT CONFIRMED)

  • Students in Special Education classes, excluding those listed in the chart below, will attend school every day. Details on what this might look like is included in the Special Education section below.
  • Other students would attend in person on alternate days/weeks and participate in distance learning when not physically attending. Students would be placed into a cohort of up to 15 students per class or course per day.
  • The Peel board is exploring a quadmester model in secondary if boards are directed to use the hybrid model. This would see the semester divided in half, with students attending school for two courses at a time. Students would be divided into Course 1 (Cohort A or B) and Course 2 (Cohort C or D). In the middle of the semester, they would be granted credits for two courses and then start the next two courses.
  • In this model, for example, students in Cohort A would have Course 1 on Mondays, and Course 2 on Tuesdays, and alternate courses on alternating Wednesdays. Students in Cohort B would have Course 1 on Thursdays and Course 2 on Fridays, and alternate courses on alternating Wednesdays. In this model, students will have Period 1 or 2 once every 4 weeks on Wednesday. FOR EXAMPLE – NOT CONFIRMED:
 ​ Mon Tues Wed Thurs Fri
Week 1

Cohort A

Period 1 Class

Cohort A

Period 2 Class

Cohort A

(alternate between period 1 & 2 classes)

Cohort B

Period 1 Class

Cohort B

Period 2 Class

Week 2

Cohort A

Period 1 Class

Cohort A

Period 2 Class

Cohort B

(alternate between period 1 & 2 classes) 

Cohort B

Period 1 Class

Cohort B

Period 2 Class

  • If we start the school year with a hybrid model that follows quadmesters, we would continue with quadmesters for the remainder of the semester even if we move to a full return.

What are the impacts on elementary students with Special Education needs in a HYBRID MODEL?

Elementary School

Special Education Placement

Attend school every day

(hours to be determined)

Attend school with either Cohort A or Cohort B
Autism Spectrum Disorder Class (ASD)YesNo
Primary Transition Program (PTP)YesNo
Autism Spectrum Disorder Resource Program (ASD/R)YesNo
Communication Classes (COM)YesNo
General Learning Disabilities Class (GLD)YesNo
Hard of Hearing Class (HOH)YesNo
Intensive Support Class (ISC)YesNo
Interval Class (INT)YesNo
Developmental Disabilities/Special Needs Class (DD-SN)YesNo
Developmental Disabilities Class (DD)YesNo
Autism Spectrum Disorder /Developmental Disabilities Class (DD-ASD)YesNo
Kindergarten Transition Language Class (KTLC)YesNo
Enhanced Learning Class (ELC)NoYes, to minimize exposure between cohorts, per public health advice.
Elementary students with Special Education needs (e.g., Learning Disability, Language Impairment, Developmental Disability, Multiple, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Mild Intellectual Disability, Behavioural) in mainstream classesNoYes, to minimize exposure between cohorts, per public health advice.


What are the impacts on secondary students with Special Education needs in a HYBRID MODEL?

Secondary School

Special Education Placement

Attend school every day

(hours to be determined)

Attend school with either Cohort A or Cohort B
Parkholme, Applewood Acres, TL Kennedy District Developmental Disabilities programsYesNo
District Developmental Disabilities programs (DDD)YesNo
Developmental Disabilities Transition programs (DDT)YesNo
Autism Spectrum Disorder – Secondary Programs (ASD-S)YesNo
Vocational (Voc) 1 ProgramsYesNo
Developmental Disabilities/Special Needs Class (DD-SN)YesNo
Developmental Disabilities/Resource (DDR)NoYes, to minimize exposure between cohorts, per public health advice.
Autism Spectrum Disorder/Resource (ASD-R)NoYes, to minimize exposure between cohorts, per public health advice.
Enhanced Learning Program (ELP)NoYes, to minimize exposure between cohorts, per public health advice.
Vocational (Voc) 2 ProgramsNoYes, to minimize exposure between cohorts, per public health advice.
Regional Communications (COM)NoYes, to minimize exposure between cohorts, per public health advice.
Secondary students with special education needs (e.g., Learning Disability, Language Impairment, Developmental Disability, Multiple, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Mild Intellectual Disability, Behavioural) who are in mainstream classesNoYes, to minimize exposure between cohorts, per public health advice.

 

When will we learn our child(ren)'s bus routes?

  • Student Transportation of Peel Region (STOPR) will assign students to cohorts for each school in order to plan school bus routes safely and efficiently.
  • Transportation cohort student lists will be shared with schools upon completion of route planning, and will then be shared with families.
  • Given the complexity of the cohort planning, families will not likely receive bus route information until the week before school starts.
  • Guidelines are also being developed for students with special education needs who ride the bus. Once finalized, these will be shared with staff and families.
  • Health and safety expectations and cleaning protocols for buses will be shared before schools reopen.
  • Parents who do not wish to send their child on the bus are requested to complete the Opt Out Form.​

Will school-based child care programs run?

Full-day child care programs will continue to operate per current practice. Wherever possible, designated space will be prioritized and identified for before- and after-school programs. Designated spaces may include the use of gymnasiums and surplus classrooms. Cohorts will remain consistent in accessing the space. More information will be available from before- and after-school child care providers.

Where can I find the 2020-21 School Year Calendar?

  • We are waiting for Ministry of Education approval of our Balanced Calendar School Year Calendar, but can confirm that students in these schools will start school on Aug. 4, 2020.
  • All other students will start school on Sept. 8, 2020. To view the board's School Year Calendar, visit our website.
  • Three Professional Learning Days will be held prior to Labour Day to focus on enhanced public health protocols as we prepare for school reopening and engage in professional learning related to the Ministry of Education's directives for the Peel board.​

Can we still register students for school?

  • At this time, registrations are being completed electronically. To learn more about how to register, visit the Peel board's website. Families can register online for Kindergarten through the online registration portal. 
  • Families who are transferring children between Peel schools or who are registering their child in a Peel school for the first time will be asked to contact the school via email or phone by Sept. 1, 2020, to process registrations in a timely manner.
  • If your family is new to Ontario, your child may need an assessment/orientation interview before starting school. Please contact our We Welcome the World Centres via email at [email protected].​

How will reopening plans be communicated?

Once the Ministry of Education has approved the Peel board's reopening plans, we will share them with you as soon as possible so that you can begin your planning.

Approved reopening plans will be posted to our intranet and staff will be alerted by email. Families will also receive an email with a link to information about our reopening plans that will be posted on our board's website. A high-level overview and Frequently Asked Questions FAQ resource will also be developed.

Thank you for your ongoing patience, understanding and grace as we carefully plan for as safe a reopening as possible, working within government and public health direction.

Jaspal Gill                                                   Bruce Rodrigues
Interim Director of Education                       Peel District School Board Supervisor

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