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Letter to Parents – Remote Distance Learning

Dear Parents/Guardians:

Thank you for your continued understanding and support as we keep schools safe during another unprecedented school year.

On Monday, January 3, 2022, the Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, announced that effective 12:01 a.m., January 5, 2022, Ontario is temporarily moving into Step 2 of the Roadmap to Reopen with modifications that consider the province’s successful vaccination efforts. The return to modified Step 2 restrictions and guidance is in response to the alarming rise in COVID-19 cases across the province. According to the Ontario government, the rapid rise of Omicron cases may soon number in the hundreds of thousands and could result in the province’s hospital capacity becoming overwhelmed if further action isn’t taken to curb transmission. The targeted, time-limited measures will help blunt transmission and prevent hospitals from becoming overwhelmed as the province continues to accelerate its vaccine/booster dose rollout.

Among the measures that will be in effect starting January 5th is a temporary return to online learning for all students, until at least January 17th, subject to public health trends and operational considerations. Some CDSBEO schools may be required to offer targeted in-person special education programming for high needs students.

Students who qualify for in-person high needs special education programming will be contacted by their school.

Remote Learning

Teachers and support staff will be available online during regular school hours this week to support student learning through the Microsoft TEAMS or D2L/Brightspace platform. Remote learning will be provided for all students in alignment with Policy/Program Memorandum (PPM) No.164: Requirements for Remote Learning beginning Monday, January 10, 2022 to allow students to access technology. This PPM outlines specific expectations for instruction of synchronous and asynchronous learning so that parents and students know what to expect. It also ensures there is a consistent provincial approach to ensure students are fully engaged in their learning.

For students in Kindergarten, 60% of the instructional day must be synchronous learning, Grades 1-8, 75% of the instructional day must be synchronous learning, while in Grades 9-12, 80% of the course is delivered synchronously. Classroom teachers will follow their regular daily schedule that was in place prior to the Christmas break, respecting lunch, beginning and end of day bell times. Synchronous learning is part of the 300-minute instructional day during where teachers remain available to students through chat, audio or video features within the online classroom platform.

Learning Resources

In order to further support teachers and students, the Ministry of Education’s TVO Learn and TFO IDÉLLO, apprendre à la maison portals, will continue to provide supports for students learning remotely by accessing additional educational resources developed by Ontario certified teachers. In addition, the Curriculum department has curated resources to further support ongoing learning for students during the remote learning period. These resources can be accessed through the board website at https://cdsbeo-new.azurewebsites.net/students-parents/novel-coronavirus/distance-learning/.

In addition, secondary students can continue to access TVO’s Independent Learning Centre (ILC) Open House and Portes ouvertes pour les cours TVO ILC in French-language, which provide access to 144 Grade 9 to 12 courses. These ILC resources are designed to provide flexible learning opportunities to help students keep up with their learning or deepen their understanding of a specific subject in addition to their regular course timetable.

TVO Mathify provides free, one-on-one online support by Ontario Certified Teachers, to help students improve their math skills. Eurêka is a service available to French-language students and families that provides resources and supports for all subjects, Grades 1-12.

Technology for Remote Learning

Please contact your school principal for internet connectivity issues or password resets. For all other technology related issues contact ICT_Support@cdsbeo.on.ca or call 613-258-7757 or 1-800-443-4562 and press 1 for ICT Support.

Student Supports

Most students with special education needs will be learning remotely during this period. In-person learning will be reserved for students with high needs who are in specialized programs and whose needs cannot be accommodated through remote learning. Any student with high needs who cannot be accommodated through remote learning will be reviewed by the School Principal to determine if an accommodation for in-person learning is required. CDSBEO will continue to work diligently to ensure that plans are in place to support students with special education needs with support from education workers and board professionals (e.g. behavioural experts, speech language pathologists, and other professionals) to support remote learning.

Please be reminded that students who access services at the school and in the community will continue to be connected to those services. Students will have remote access to services, through the school, community child and youth mental health or local healthcare partners. In addition, mental health resources remain available to students and families, including Kids Help Phone, which offers 24/7 counselling and referral services across the province. To use this free resource, children can call 1-800-668-6868, or text CONNECT to 686868.

School Mental Health Ontario also has a number of great resources for students, parents and families on their website at www.smho-smso.ca. In addition, child and youth mental health agencies across the province continue to provide services.

Student Transportation

While elementary and secondary students are learning remotely, student transportation services will only be provided for special education high needs students who cannot be accommodated through remote learning based on their needs. All transportation services will resume once in-person instruction returns.

Child Care Centres in Schools

Schools offering licensed infant, toddler and preschool programs will continue to provide access to their on-site childcare centres. Schools that offer before and after school programs will be closed effective January 3, 2022, until such time as in-person learning is permitted to operate.

Emergency Child Care (ECC) programs for school-aged children for school board staff who are supporting in-person learning, health care and other frontline workers, free of charge to families, may be available at some CDSBEO schools. Please reach out to your school childcare provider for more information.

Promoting Vaccination

Vaccination continues to represent our most effective strategy to prevent COVID-19 transmission. The Ministry of Education will be working with the Ministry of Health and public health units to maximize the opportunities for childcare and education staff, and students, to be vaccinated in the coming weeks.

CDSBEO will continue to take direction from the government, the Ministry of Education and public health experts. We recognize that this is a challenging time for staff, students and families. Our priority is always staff and student safety and well-being. Access to resources which support the mental health of families is available on the CDSBEO website – Mental Health Resources.

Thank you for your continued support of Catholic education despite our current challenging circumstances.

Stay safe and healthy.
God Bless

For more on the government announcement visit https://news.ontario.ca/en/release/1001394/ontario-temporarily-moving-to-modified-step-two-of-the-roadmap-to-reopen

For the latest updates on COVID-19 from the CDSBEO visit our COVID-19 Information page at https://cdsbeo-new.azurewebsites.net/students-parents/novel-coronavirus/