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Latest update: Jan. 12, 2021

Kindergarten and Specialized Services updates (Jan. 8) is listed below.

Ontario Extends Teacher-Led Online Learning Until January 25 to Keep Students and Staff Safe in Southern Ontario

Previous updates: Jan. 7, 2021, Dec. 29, 2020, Dec. 21, 2020

Due to the provincial emergency to prevent COVID-19, HWDSB schools will continue in remote learning until Feb. 10, 2021. Provincial requirements and timelines are set by the Ministry of Education and may change.

The shift to remote learning does not change the school day or school schedules, but it does require connecting in different ways to continue learning. The Elementary Remote Learning Program, and students already learning remotely, are not impacted by these changes.

Effective remote learning is a blend of being on-screen and having students work independently or in groups to complete tasks or assignments, with the educator checking in, being available and  assessing student work.

Kindergarten Families 

At this time, students will be returning to in-person elementary school on Feb. 10, 2021.  Similar to last time, parents/guardians can expect their child’s educator team to connect with them. Kindergarten continues to not be included in our device deployment plan due to limited technology available. Educators will continue to email Kindergarten families without access to remote learning due to technological challenges.

For families without a device who wish to continue learning at home are welcome to pick up a new 10-day learning program package at our school starting Monday, January 11 after 10:00 a.m.

Specialized Services 

As you know, our elementary and secondary schools will learn remotely until Feb. 10, 2021. Provincial requirements and timelines are set by the Ministry of Education and may change. Student learning will continue with in-person instruction and transportation services for students with pervasive special education needs or those engaged in treatment programs, as per the Ministry of Education direction. 

Respecting public health advice, we are striving to minimize the number of people accessing schools to support self-contained special education classes until January 22. Principals are finalizing staffing, safety and supervision details for these classes.

We continue to make provisions to support a small number of students with pervasive needs in regular classrooms, as per Ministry direction. These students have severe physical, medical, communication, social/emotional, and cognitive challenges that require multiple professionals to help them learn. We will share more details on in-person programming for these students early next week.

Returning to in-person learning

When students return to school for in-person learning, they are expected to follow enhanced public health measures in place at HWDSB buildings. These strategies include daily screening for symptoms, physical distancing, hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette and wearing of non-medical masks. Staff will help students understand why these measures are in place, how they protect us and how to do them all properly.

Key documents:

Distribution of Technology

HWDSB staff have worked towards a solution to support equitable access to learning at home for all students. Many, but not all, students have a device and internet access at home.

Staff is preparing to distribute loaned devices to approximately 6,000 families on January 4, so that all students can participate in distance learning. We extend our heartfelt appreciation to all staff supporting this successful implementation. Devices loaned to students for remote learning must be returned when the student returns to school.

Outreach by HWDSB staff has identified families requiring a device, including specialized equipment for students receiving special education supports. These families can expect to receive communication about the device pick up during the week of December 28. To conserve resources, devices will only be loaned to grades 1 to 8 students who identified a need in the November 2020 Remote Readiness Survey.

Please note that all devices have been cleaned and inspected by staff.

Due to enhanced health measures, we ask that families ensure they are wearing a face mask and following proper physical distancing when they come to the school. You will need to wait outside the school doors, and someone from the school will get your name and give you your device.

Question: My child did not receive a device. How do I get one?

If a parent indicated they needed a device through the form shared in Parent Portal at the end of November and did not receive one, or if they need one and did not complete the form, they are to notify their child’s school (School Email Address Directory). The principal will notify our Remote Readiness Project Team through an internal process. There is a wait list as we have deployed all available devices. We continue to be active in gathering devices that are unused and wait for shipments of new devices that we have purchased.

Virtual Classroom Guidelines for Privacy and Security

The privacy of our staff and students is always a consideration in physical and virtual settings. As we engage in virtual learning and use various platforms such as the Hub and MS Teams, we have created a Virtual Classroom Guidelines for Privacy and Security Fact Sheet.

Students and their families are required to follow these guidelines when participating in learning that is being done in “live” real time with an educator as well as during times when the student can do the activity or access the material/resource on their own.

Educators will monitor classroom activities to ensure these align with our expectations for privacy and information security and address any concerns directly with students and their parent/guardian, as appropriate. A student’s failure to respect these guidelines may result in a suspension of online classroom privileges. Should you have questions, please contact your child’s school.

Assessment, Evaluation and Reporting

The Ministry of Education has provided direction for the assessment, evaluation and reporting of student learning during school closures. HWDSB shares the Ministry’s expectation that students will do their best to complete all work assigned as learning resumes. As always, students and families should connect with their teachers if they have questions about assessment and evaluation.

HWDSB’s commitment is to do what is in the best interest of each student as we attempt to balance the integrity of learning and marks for secondary credits, with the wellness of our students and staff. If you have any questions related to assessment, evaluation and reporting, please contact your child’s school.

For secondary students, the originally scheduled exam days (January 25 to 29) will be used as Student Success Days, during which students can complete work to demonstrate that they have met expectations to earn their course credit.

Students receiving special education support

Elementary and secondary students in self-contained special education classes or treatment programs may continue to attend school in-person, if they did so before winter break. Transportation will continue to be provided.

Support your child

  • Maintaining consistent communication with child’s educator(s)
  • Ensuring your child participates in some exercise throughout the day
  • Ensuring students have a quiet, safe space to work
  • Taking interest in what they are learning
  • Answering questions your child may have
  • Contacting your child’s educator if your child is having difficulty with the content
  • Contacting your child’s educator if you have concerns about your child
  • Asking the educator questions if you don’t understand what students are learning
  • Making sure students have a quiet, safe space to work
  • Taking interest in what they are learning
  • Answering any questions your child may have
  • Contacting your child’s educator if your child is having difficulty with the content
  • Contacting your child’s educator if you have concerns about your child
  • Asking the educator questions if you don’t understand what students are learning
  • Making sure students have a quiet, safe space to work
  • Taking an interest in what they are learning
  • Answering any questions your child may have
  • Contacting your child’s educator if your child is having difficulty with the content
  • Contacting your child’s educator if you have concerns about your child
  • Asking the educator questions if you don’t understand what students are learning

HWDSB’s Specialized Services team has prepared additional learning supports, named Learning4Success, which are tailored for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder or a Developmental Disability who are on an alternative program. These materials are for family use and may be used to supplement instruction provided by the classroom teacher. There are examples of learning tasks that can be done at home. Tasks can be adjusted to accommodate learners ages and interests, with the understanding that they may not be a perfect fit for each learner.

The Specialized Services team has developed a website for deaf and hard of hearing students. The website hosts information for students, families and educators. Topics include services available at HWDSB and in the community, sign language, hearing equipment and Auditory Processing Disorder. We have posted a parent guide for deaf and hard of hearing students. The guide answers some commonly asked questions and recommends resources to support your child’s auditory learning at home. If you have any questions, please connect with your child’s classroom teacher or school learning resource teacher.​

Another great resource is the TVO Learn website.

Tips for families:

 

Tips for students:

Updated on Wednesday, December 30, 2020.
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