As the efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19 continue all around us, I hope you and your families are doing well under what continues to be very challenging circumstances. I know the stress of social distancing, lack of routine and trying to balance everything as best you can is continuing to mount for many of us. During this unprecedented time, you likely have a number of questions about your child(ren)’s education and while I am not able to answer all of them at this point, I want to provide an update in hopes of addressing as many as possible.
First, as you may know, Premier Doug Ford has announced that schools will not be returning on April 6, 2020 as initially scheduled. We have not yet received any additional information on this, however we will update parents/guardians as soon as we do. In the meantime, we ask that you continue using the Learn at Home resources provided by the Ministry of Education and the Student Learning Resources provided by the TDSB.
The Ministry of Education has asked school boards to use the next two weeks to develop plans to establish the delivery of curriculum for an extended closure. Working with the Ministry, we are developing a plan that would connect teachers to their students and/or their parents/guardians on a system-wide basis and would restore teacher-led learning to the greatest extent possible. In developing this plan, we are considering a number of different factors:
- Exploring ways to provide students with access to devices and the internet.
- Accommodations needed by different types of learners, students with special needs, and English-language learners.
- Programming for Adult and Continuing Education students.
- Our support for student mental health and well-being including providing online resources and outreach to students and families.
As you can imagine, developing a plan for 247,000 students while schools are closed and on an extremely tight timeline, is challenging to say the least. At the same time, our goal is to create teaching and learning conditions that will, as best as possible given the circumstances, lead to the successful completion of the school year for all students and to support students in advancing to the next school year and to graduate. We will share this important plan with parents/guardians as soon as possible.
Finally, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health has announced the closure of a number of city amenities including all city-owned playgrounds, sports fields, and basketball and tennis courts to limit public congregation and reduce the spread of COVID-19. All Toronto schools have been called on to do the same. For that reason, the TDSB will be closing all playgrounds and other amenities, including our sports fields and basketball and tennis courts, until further notice. As always, I would encourage you to continue to monitor developments from public health and government officials. For the latest advice on how you and your family can stay safe and healthy, Toronto Public Health has a number of important resources that are continually being updated.
While there are challenges that lie ahead, I remain confident that we can find a way forward together. In the meantime, I want to thank you for your continued patience and understanding. I will be in touch again soon with additional information.
Director of Education