June 15, 2021 Update: Letter to Families on End of Year Remote Learning
When planning for graduation events, HWDSB has carefully considered rules pertaining to organized public events and social gatherings. As outlined in the Guide to Reopening Ontario’s Schools, schools and school boards are expected to promote physical distancing, cohorting, and avoiding activities that may result in close contacts with others (e.g., school gatherings/school assemblies).
The current provincewide emergency brake was implemented on April 3, 2021 in response to the third wave of the pandemic. All public health and workplace safety measures under the emergency brake will remain in place until Ontario enters Step One of the Roadmap to Reopen, at which point restrictions will ease with an initial focus on outdoor settings.
Based on current trends in key health indicators, including the provincial vaccination rate, officials expect Ontario to enter step one of the roadmap the week of June 14, 2021. The province will confirm closer to the expected start of this first step. Step 1 will allow more outdoor activities to resume with smaller, well-managed crowds where risk of transmission is minimized. This includes outdoor gatherings up to 10 people.
In its June 2 news release regarding the continuation of remote learning, Ontario shared the following:
- The government will allow school boards to invite graduating students in elementary schools (by class) and secondary schools (by homeroom/quadmestered class) to return to school in June for a short, outdoor celebration, where physical distancing is possible.
HWDSB will continue to meet with Hamilton Public Health Services to discuss how we can safely plan elementary (Grade 8) and secondary (Grade 12) graduation events. We will also await further direction from Ontario Government and the Ministry of Education to determine how these events or year end class celebrations can be operationalized safely. The events will be dependent on the status of the provincewide emergency brake, the entering of Step One of the Roadmap to Reopen, and other public health measures.
We will update students, staff, and families as information becomes available and plans become confirmed. Any new information specific to elementary and secondary graduation events will be added to this webpage.
Staff are looking forward to celebrating Grade 8 and Grade 12 milestones. Collaborative planning has taken place with Hamilton Public Health Services to outline the safety expectations and graduation parameters for walk and/or drive-through celebrations for all elementary and secondary schools.
- Students and their household units will be scheduled by appointment.
- Elementary Remote Learning Program students will be included in these celebrations.
- Staff volunteers will support safety measures and management.
- Staff, students and household units are required to complete screening, wear masks, and maintain a distance of at least 2 metres.
Students will work through stations that will be separated by a 4-metre physical distance from other stations. For example, they will pick up their certificate at one station and move to a photo station. There will be a station to pick up their graduation sign and a potential station for school spirit items or awards. All stations will be contactless.
HWDSB has purchased school signs that our grads can display at their homes to celebrate and recognize their achievement. These signs will include the name of the school and school logo. Stay tuned for updates regarding the distribution of these signs.
All other grades will be focusing on a virtual year-end celebration. This has been a challenging year for everyone, and even though we wish that it never happened, it will be a year remembered for generations. We wish all our students and staff well as we close this year and look forward to a post-pandemic future.