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Return to School Models

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Note: We strive to keep all information current, but please also watch our Family Updates and Board Reports for updates.

Elementary schools (Kindergarten to Grade 8) will reopen provincewide, with in-class instruction five days a week. Secondary schools will start the school year in an adapted model of part-time attendance with class cohorts of up to 15 students alternating between attending in-person and online. All students will be required to wear masks.

  • All HWDSB elementary schools will start the school year in conventional model.
  • Class sizes will be based on current class size caps for grades 1 to 3 and reduced class size averages for kindergarten and grades 4 to 8 following the approved motion by trustees on August 24.
  • This will include the enhanced public health measures (including masks).
  • Regular hand-hygiene breaks will be implemented throughout the day and all students will receive age-appropriate instruction and reminders about:
    • proper hand-hygiene
    • respiratory etiquette
    • mental health and wellness checks
    • telling an adult if they are not feeling well
    • physical distancing, including staying to the right when travelling inside the school
    • masking
  • In an effort to achieve minimal disruptions to regular school routines, school start and end times will remain the same.
  • There may be a need to adjust student and teacher timetables/assignments early in the school year.
  • This adjustment in the HWDSB plan will require a re-organization of classes prior to the start of the school year and again in late September.
  • These will be undertaken within the funding and space allocation parameters set at the time.
  • In addition, school-based adjustments will be required for transitions throughout the day to minimize the gathering of large groups, such as:
    • entry and exit doors;
    • nutrition and recess breaks; as well as
    • the use of specialized spaces such as the gymnasium and outdoor areas.
  • Students will remain in their assigned classrooms for the entire school day, including nutrition breaks unless they are utilizing a specialized space.
  • Teachers will meet with students in the student assigned classroom whenever possible to reduce the need for student movement throughout the school.
  • Students will attend school every day.

Kindergarten

  • Supporting our youngest learners in first year kindergarten to have the best possible initial experience with school is important.
  • Given the nature of the start of this school year entry for first year kindergarten students will be staggered over the week of September 8-11, 2020.
  • Families will receive additional information about the kindergarten process from their school in the coming weeks.

Staggered Start

On August 28, the Ministry of Education confirmed support to amend the HWDSB staggered start for students, previously reported on August 24, in order to address readiness across the system. The staggered start will focus on smaller groups of students, commencing with those requiring special education supports and/or additional support with transitions and mental health, becoming familiar with the routines and the enhanced public health measures. In addition, staff re-assigned to the newly established Remote Learning Day School will have an opportunity to connect with students and families as well as participate in training specific to teaching and learning remotely. The chart below illustrates the revised staggered approach for students attending elementary schools (including the Remote Leaning Day School).

For a small number of students that require significant special education supports and/or support with transitions, including newcomers, as well as support with mental health, individual visits will be scheduled on September 8 and 9. In advance of an individual visit, resources will be posted on the HWDSB Learning4Success site the week of August 31 for parents/guardians/caregivers to rehearse with their child where relevant. These resources include a number of social stories such as Wearing My Mask, What is Physical Distancing? and Using My Own Materials. Also, task strips on topics such asHow to Wash My Hands and How to Put on My Mask will also be added to the Learning4Success site. These resources will support students to learn the enhanced public health measures.

The HWDSB Parent Portal was launched on August 17 allowing parents and guardians of students in elementary school (kindergarten to grade 8) to indicate if they were choosing the remote learning school option(pre-registration). Existing HWDSB students that do not choose the remote learning school will continue to be enrolled for in-person attendance at their current school. As indicated in the previous report, students seeking to register with a different school or from another board after August 25 will be registered with the remote learning school until one of the noted transition times (October 13, January 4, March 22).

The Remote Learning Day School will open with approximately 6,300 elementary students (see chart below). The school will operate on a schedule or ‘bell time’ from 9:00 am to 3:20 pm. This will include 300 minutes of learning activities and two, 40-minute nutrition breaks. The school will offer both English-language and French Immersion streams, Mohawk Language and, where possible, other specialized programs. Regular attendance is expected and will be taken daily.

Grade English Language French Immersion
Kindergarten 1,229 N/A
1 574 71
2 562 86
3 618 76
4 549 60
5 555 57
6 554 65
7 599 43
8 538 42
TOTAL 5,778 500
  • As outlined in Policy/Program Memorandum 164, students enrolled in remote learning will receive direct instruction each day based on the Ontario Curriculum/Kindergarten Program for varying lengths of time.
  • The learning, similar to a regular classroom setting, may occur with the support of whole class, small group or individual instruction as well as time for independent learning.
  • For the most part, students and staff will use the HWDSB standardized digital learning platforms (The HUB and MS Teams) as their learning and communication environments.
  • Non-digital resources will also be utilized, where appropriate and available.
  • The Remote Learning Day School will provide supports to students requiring Special Education services as well those that are English Language Learners.
  • While every effort is being made to provide the wide variety of programming at schools, including the Remote Learning Day School, in keeping with the HWDSB Program Strategy, some specialized programs may not become operationally viable should enrolments change significantly at the designated transition points throughout the year. This is due to a combination of class size and qualified staff availability.
  • Students will only be able to transition from Remote learning to physical classroom attendance at defined dates in the school year. Remote learning will have a dedicated Principal and teaching staff assigned to coordinate instruction for students in this model.

Schedule

The Allocation of Instructional Time

  • The allocation of instructional time for different subject areas should follow the guidelines of the Elementary Guidelines Regarding the Allocation of Instructional Time – EGAIT (HWDSB).
  • For Remote learning, a 5-day timetable will be developed. It will maintain the required allocation of subject instructional time and balance teacher instructional and planning time.
  • As per the Ministry direction, daily synchronous learning will be scheduled.
  • Instructional minutes will be a combination of synchronous and asynchronous learning.

Sample FDK Remote Learning Plan – Designed to minimize student log on/off frequency. Based on a 340 minute school day.

Remote Learning Model for Instructional Minutes in Grades 1-8

Sample Grades 1-8 Timetable

Sample Grades 4-8 Timetable

  • Secondary schools will open in adaptive mode (Scenario B).
  • Students will follow a rotational model of a half-day in-person class (alternate days within a cohort of approximately 15 students) followed by three shorter periods of teacher-directed remote learning classes (every day with all students).
  • Alternatively, students may choose a full eLearning timetable.
  • School start and end times will remain the same and attendance will be taken.
  • Students requiring high levels of special education supports and services will be provided an opportunity to attend daily.
  • The rotational model has several benefits as well as some challenges.
  • As described in previous updates, other models for the adaptive delivery mode (Scenario B) were explored.
  • In comparison to other models reviewed, the rotational model best achieves the elements of the guiding principles.
    • The model restricts the direct and indirect contacts students have to one cohort of approximately 15 students.
    • This is well below the limits set by the provincial guidelines and follows the advice provided by Hamilton Public Health.
    • Should delivery shift to a conventional mode (Scenario A), the rotational model would continue to limit the direct and indirect contacts students have to a single cohort, expanded to approximately 30 students.
    • A key difference between the rotational model and other models explored is the strict adherence to the public health advice of limiting student exposure to one cohort.
    • In addition to the enhanced health and safety benefits, the rotational model allows students to experience in-person teaching and learning as well as direct remote instruction across all four courses within the same time frame of a regular school year semester routine.
    • Undertaking up to 4 courses over an entire semester also mitigates against potential disruptions such as illness or school closures.
    • The model upholds the terms of the collective agreement for teachers and maintains students’ course selections and timetables.
  • The rotational model does however come with some potential challenges including a period of time for each course where in-person instruction is not provided and a stronger reliance on scheduled remote learning.
  • The HWDSB 21st Century Learning Strategy, including the provisioning of 1:1 devices for all secondary school students and ongoing professional learning to support teachers with the use of the standardized digital learning environment, The Hub and MS Teams and remote learning approaches, will assist with these challenges.

Study Hall

On days that students are scheduled to be at school in-person with their cohort they will have the option of remaining at school to complete their remote learning courses. A process is being finalized that will allow parents/guardians (and students 18 years and older), to indicate if the student will be remaining at school following the in-person portion of the day. Students that remain at school will be assigned a space in a designated ‘study hall’ area of the school (e.g., gymnasium, learning commons, cafeteria) and will be expected to remain in this space for the duration of the remote learning blocks. Every effort will be made to keep cohorts within the same area to minimize the number of direct and indirect contacts students have with other students. Study Halls will be supervised, however, support with course work will continue to be provided through remote instruction. Plans for the set-up of study halls is currently being discussed with Hamilton Public Health.

Staggered Start and Cohorts

On August 28, the Ministry of Education confirmed support to amend the HWDSB staggered start for students, previously reported on August 24, in order to address readiness across the system. The staggered start will focus on smaller groups of students, commencing with those requiring special education supports and/or additional support with transitions and mental health, becoming familiar with the routines and the enhanced public health measures. The addition of a remote/online orientation allows schools to introduce new safety measures and school routines (e.g. entry/exit, transitions, lunch) to students prior to school entry. The chart below illustrates the revised staggered approach for students attending secondary schools.

For most students who require special education support, the secondary orientation for students in Gr. 9 and Gr. 10 noted above will provide a good transition back to school. For a small number of students in grade 9 and beyond that require significant special education supports and services, individual visits will be scheduled on September 8 and 9. In advance of an individual visit, resources will be posted on the HWDSB Learning4Success site the week of August 31 for parents/guardians/caregivers to rehearse with their child where relevant. These resources include a number of social stories such asWearing My Mask, What is Physical Distancing? and Using My Own Materials. Also, task strips on topics such asHow to Wash My Hands andHow to Put on My Mask will also be added to the Learning4Success site. These resources will support students to learn the enhanced public health requirements.

4 Period Adaptive Model

Weekly Schedule:

Each class will be divided into 2 cohorts – Cohort A and Cohort B. As indicated in the Ministry’s Guide to Reopening Schools, each secondary cohort should be approximately 15 students.

Students in each cohort will attend school, in-person, on alternating days using the schedule outlined below.

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Week 1 Friday Week 2
Cohort A Cohort B Cohort A Cohort B Cohort A Cohort B

NOTE:  Students that do not wish to attend classes in-person will have a choice to either continue with the rotational model with the understanding that during the in-person rotation portion they will be expected to undertake independent study or students may choose to explore enrolling in full eLearning courses.

Rotation Schedule – Instructional Days

HWDSB’s adaptive learning model is based on a rotation schedule where one cohort will attend school daily, in-person, while the other cohort has independent study to complete the previous day’s assingments. All students will engage in daily remote learning during their scheduled afternoon learning blocks.

The chart below outlines the rotation dates and the corresponding courses, based on a student’s timetable, that will be delivered in-person and remotely.

(1) In-Person Course: Students will attend for approximately 150 minutes on alternate days based on their cohort. Students will engage in independent study on the days their cohort is not scheduled to attend in-person.

(2) Remote Learning Courses: Students will participate in 150 minutes of remote learning each day. They will receive 40 minutes of direct instruction for each of their three courses each day with their entire class. Students will also be expected to engage in 10 minutes of independent study per course on each day. Students may participate in remote learning at home or at school (see section – Study Hall, below).

Exam Days (5): January 25 to 29, 2021

Professional Activity Days (5): September 1, 2, and 3, 2020; November 27, 2020; and February 1, 2021

4-Period Daily Bell Schedule:

The adaptive model will allow each school to maintain their respective start and end (bell) times. In the adaptive model, each school day is 365 minutes, including instructional, travel, and transition times.

In the adaptive model, all 4-period schools must have the following instructional and transition blocks:

  • Block 1 = 150 minutes of face-to-face instruction
  • Dismissal / Travel Block = 80 minutes
  • Block 2 = 50 minutes of remote instruction
  • Block 3 = 50 minutes of remote instruction
  • Block 4 = 50 minutes of remote instruction

An example bell schedule is provided below. Schools may adjust transition times between learning blocks to maintain their respective bell times.

Monday
Cohort A
Tuesday
Cohort B
Wednesday
Cohort A
Thursday
Cohort B
Friday Week 1
Cohort A
Friday Week 2
Cohort B
Block 1
In-Person Instruction
(Approximately 150 minutes)
Period 1 Period 1 Period 1 Period 1 Period 1 Period 1
Lunch / Transition Time
(80 minutes) 
Block 2
Remote Instruction
(40 minutes + 10 minutes independent study)
Period 2
(All Students)
Period 2
(All Students)
Period 2
(All Students)
Period 2
(All Students)
Period 2
(All Students)
Period 2
(All Students)
Block 3
Remote Instruction
(40 minutes + 10 minutes independent study)
Period 3
(All Students)
Period 3
(All Students)
Period 3
(All Students)
Period 3
(All Students)
Period 3
(All Students)
Period 3
(All Students)
Block 4
Remote Instruction
(40 minutes + 10 minutes independent study)
Period 4
(All Students)
Period 4
(All Students)
Period 4
(All Students)
Period 4
(All Students)
Period 4
(All Students)
Period 4
(All Students)

5 Period Adaptive Model

As a result of considerable feedback about the secondary school rotational model outlined in School Re-Opening (COVID-19 Pandemic) Update #3 some adjustments have been made.

All schools, including those that are regularly scheduled as 5 period days, will now operate on four (4) rotations of approximately twenty-two (22) days for the first semester. This will be accomplished by establishing a common lunch time instead of the period 3 and 4 assigned lunch periods. Some student and staff timetables may require some minor adjustments and some additional classroom space may be required at one or two secondary schools. Staff continue to work with principals to support this implementation. The chart below illustrates a typical schedule for a 5 period school for the first rotation (September 8 to October 7).

Rotation Schedule – Instructional Days

HWDSB’s adaptive learning model is based on a rotation schedule where one cohort will attend school daily, in-person, while the other cohort has independent study to complete the previous day’s assingments. All students will engage in daily remote learning during their scheduled afternoon learning blocks.

The chart below outlines the rotation dates and the corresponding courses, based on a student’s timetable, that will be delivered in-person and remotely.

Weekly Schedule:

Each class will be divided into 2 cohorts – Cohort A and Cohort B. As indicated in the Ministry’s Guide to Reopening Schools, each secondary cohort should be approximately 15 students.

Students in each cohort will attend school on alternating days using the schedule outlined below.

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Week 1 Friday Week 2
Cohort A Cohort B Cohort A Cohort B Cohort A Cohort B

NOTE: Students that do not wish to attend classes in-person will have a choice to either continue with the rotational model with the understanding that during the in-person rotation portion they will be expected to undertake independent study or students may choose to explore enrolling in full eLearning courses.

5-Period Daily Bell Schedule:

The adaptive model will allow each school to maintain their respective start and end (bell) times. In the adaptive model, each school day is 365 minutes, including instructional, travel, and transition times.

In the adaptive model, all 5-period schools will have the following instructional blocks:

  • Block 1 = 150 minutes of face-to-face instruction + 5 min Break
  • Dismissal / Travel Block = 80 minutes
  • Block 2 = 50 minutes of remote instruction
  • Block 3/4 = 50 minutes of remote instruction**
  • Block 5 = 50 minutes of remote instruction

**NOTE: Student lunch periods (period 3 or 4) have been eliminated. A common lunch for all students is now scheduled.

As the rotational model provides daily scheduled teacher-directed remote classes for three courses while supporting a blended approach of in-person and online for a student’s fourth course during each rotation, there are choices for students that do not prefer to attend class in-person.

If a student has decided that in-person attendance is not something that they will be choosing for the first semester, they will have the option of being placed into full eLearning courses.

Students must contact their school starting August 31 and a new course selection/timetable process will occur. It is worth noting that a student’s course selection and/or timetable for either semester may change as a result.

Once a student chooses eLearning courses they must remain with that option for the duration of the semester.

Alternatively, students may choose to continue with their existing timetable and participate remotely (including independent study) on the days that they choose not to attend in-person.

In accordance with the board’s attendance procedure, students making this choice will be noted as having an excused absence.

  • In order to mitigate the effects of school closure, the Ministry of Education has provided funding to expand summer learning program offerings for students who access Special Education programs and services.
  • To bridge the transition back into school, programs have been developed to support a variety of learner profiles.
  • Some of the summer learning opportunities are being provided in a virtual manner by teachers, psycho-educational consultants and principals/vice-principals.
  • Other learning opportunities will be offered in person for students requiring more intensive supports.
  • These summer learning programs will provide students with a re-introduction to structures and routines associated with the classroom and physical school setting.
  • In-person camps will be supported by an interdisciplinary team consisting of Principals or Vice-Principals, Classroom Teachers, Educational Assistants, Child and Youth Care Practitioners, Speech and Language Pathologists and Board Certified Behaviour Analysts.
  • HWDSB received funding from the Ministry of Education to provide summer employment opportunities for students of the board.
  • These student employees will act as role models for their younger peers as well as creating materials and resources for the learning camps.
  • A key component of the plan to support students requiring special education supports and services will be a focus on transitions.
  • Transition Planning will include:
    • Scheduling in-person school visits for students requiring moderate to significant levels of special education support will be scheduled prior to the first day of classes where possible.
    • Adapting signage and process charts to ensure accessibility for learners who do not yet access print while remaining age appropriate.
    • Creating social stories that can be rehearsed with the student prior to school entry.
    • Developing protocols with service providers (e.g. LHIN) that will be required access to schools to support students.
  • In keeping with the practice of minimizing student movement and maintaining student cohorts, there will be a shift in some program delivery.
  • Off-site programs such as the Innovation Centre, Centre for Success, EXSL Centres and the Elementary Social Communications Program, will be delivered through an itinerant approach where Specialized Services staff will meet students in their assigned schools/classrooms.
  • There will also be a shift towards curriculum-based programming for students in self-contained special education classes as educational excursions outside of the school grounds will be restricted until further notice.
  • Supports to assist staff with these shifts will be provided and will include, as required, system-based staff deployed to specific schools/classrooms.
  • In general, every effort will be made to support students in their assigned classrooms.
  • Staff working with students requiring hand-over-hand support will also be provided with the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • High-intensity support programs such as Empower Reading at the elementary and secondary school levels and AIM at the elementary school level will continue.
  • Delivery of services by itinerant staff will also continue to be provided in school settings.
  • Secondary school students placed in self-contained special education classes will attend school for full days.
  • Students that have regular class placements would attend school daily.
  • Students in regular class placements that require school bus transportation to travel to and from school or have a diagnosis or disability that requires direct support to access the Remote Learning portion of the school day, will be provided with the option to remain at school for the full day.
  • Learning Resource and other staff would provide needed supports to students for the balance of the school day.

Transitions

Due to the extended period of school closure, it is critically important for students who require special education programs or services to understand the learning context they will be returning to when they enter school buildings. A staggered start will provide students with opportunities to practice new routines and enhanced health protocols with a smaller number of peers. The following chart outlines the staggered start for students requiring special education supports or services (by class placement):

Elementary Schools

Regular and Self-contained Class Placements:

Secondary Schools

Regular Class Placements:

Self-Contained Class Placements

For a small number of students with significant/pervasive needs, in-person transition visits will be hosted by elementary and secondary schools on September 10 and 11. Schools will contact parents/guardians/caregivers during the week of August 31 to schedule these visits.

Remote Learning

  • For elementary and secondary school students that have chosen voluntary remote learning, daily instruction will occur however it will be with an educator other than the in-person assigned teacher.
  • Specialized Services Division has prepared a series of resources to support staff, students and families with remote learning.

Summer Learning Opportunities for Students

REMOTE LEARNING

Program Dates Number of Students Details
GLE Course July 6 – July 29 75 Students The GLE 10/20/30/40 Course was accessed by students with an Individual Education Plan. During the robust course staff worked daily with students on:

  • learning strategies essential to success in all subjects such as time management, work completion and organization.
  • developing awareness about their individual learning profile
  • understanding the purpose of their Individual Education Plan
  • providing transitional supports as they from the elementary to secondary panel and between grades in secondary school.
EMPOWER Reading Camp July 27 – Aug. 10 61 Students The Empower Reading Camp welcomed learners from grades one to eight. During learning with students focused on:

  • developing age appropriate reading skills, decoding, word identification and spelling skills
  • providing students with an opportunity to become self-confident in their reading abilities
  • staying connected with peers and teachers during the summer months
  • developing new friendships with peers from other schools
  • developed greater independence in reading skills
Centre For Success Camp July 27 – Aug. 10 35 Students The Centre For Success Camp had campers who use technology as an essential, accommodation to access the Ontario Curriculum. Daily learning with students focused on:

  • developing proficiency with specific technology including the built-in accessibility features of the device
  • using the accessibility features in the board platforms such as the immersive reader
  • developing proficiency with designated apps to ameliorate the impact of disability and demonstrate learning in non-conventional ways
  • using the device to support literacy and numeracy skills such as reading comprehension, generating ideas for writing, demonstrating various genres of writing and modelling and comparing fractions.
  • Focusing on self-advocacy skills
  • Developing greater understanding about learning disabilities
  • Explaining and reinforcing executive functioning skills throughout all lessons and learning tasks
  • learning how and why assistive technology supports their individual learning needs
  • Providing parent training sessions on technology
  • Meetings parents and student to individual team meetings to share strengths, needs and strategies for that student by Psychological Services staff.
Virtual Story Time Camp July 27 – Aug. 31 15 Students The Virtual Story Time Camp welcomed Deaf and Hard of Hearing learners. Daily activities by staff with students included:

  • Using Read Alouds of mentor texts to engage in conversations with the campers about the story
  • Focusing on self-advocacy
  • Completing of the “All About Me” booklet
  • Learning about conversation skills
  • Seeing and engaging with other students with hearing aids

IN PERSON LEARNING

Program Dates Number of Students Details
6 classes
Social-Communication Learning Camp: Autism Spectrum Disorder4 Classes
Social-Communication Camp: Developmental Disability
Aug. 17 – Aug. 28 36 Students

 

24 Students

The Social Communication Learning Camp will help support students with the transition from home to in person learning. Daily activities with students will use engaging activities to focus on:

  • in-school transitions
  • social communication skill developments

Staff will use evidenced-based practices for planning individual and group activities. The programs will be delivered by an interdisciplinary team consisting of Principals/Vice-Principals, Classroom Teachers, Educational Assistants, Child and Youth Care Practitioners, Speech-Language Pathologists, Communicative Disorders Assistants and Board Certified Behaviour Analysts.

2 classes –
AIM Program Camp: CYCP Caseload
Aug. 17 –Aug. 28
9:00-11:30
32 Students The Social Learning Camps will welcome students participating in the AIM programs and ExSL settings with the transition from home to in person learning. Daily use of evidence- based practices (including behaviour analytics) and intervention strategies will focus on:

  • using engaging activities in outdoor school environments where weather permits
  • promoting social communication
  • developing self-regulation. Individual learning programs will be carefully planned
  • using reinforcement to promote pro-social skills

The program will be delivered by an interdisciplinary team consisting of Principals/Vice-Principals, Classroom Teachers, Educational Assistants, Child and Youth Care Practitioners, Speech-Language Pathologists, Communicative Disorders Assistants and Board Certified Behaviour Analysts.

2 classes-
AIM Program Camp: EXSL
Aug. 11 – Aug. 28
9:00-11:30
18 Students The Social Learning Camps will welcome students participating in the AIM programs and ExSL settings with the transition from home to in person learning. Daily use of evidence- based practices (including behaviour analytics) and intervention strategies will focus on:

  • using engaging activities in outdoor school environments where weather permits
  • promoting social communication
  • developing self-regulation. Individual learning programs will be carefully planned
  • using reinforcement to promote pro-social skills

The program will be delivered by an interdisciplinary team consisting of Principals/Vice-Principals, Classroom Teachers, Educational Assistants, Child and Youth Care Practitioners, Speech-Language Pathologists, Communicative Disorders Assistants and Board Certified Behaviour Analysts.

Updated on Monday, September 21, 2020.
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