Dear Students and Parents,
Thank you to more than 550 of you who responded to our recent survey regarding summer programming, distance learning and what we might expect for the fall. This letter is intended to provide you with an update on what we know at this time regarding year-end activities and the preparations that will need to take place for September in the hope that schools can re-open.
Students and parents are reminded to book appointments through your school to collect any remaining personal belongings. Schools will not be accessible after June 26 so that further deep cleaning can take place uninterrupted. Unclaimed items will be stored until students return when schools are re-opened.
Graduating students and students leaving a school are asked to watch for information from your school about how to return textbooks and other school and board property such as musical instruments prior to June 26. Students returning to the same school in the fall are asked to store any school or board materials in a safe place and bring it back when schools re-open unless otherwise requested by your school.
Please expect your child’s report card in the coming weeks. Watch for communication from your school to see when these are being mailed out. You can anticipate that report cards will reflect the unique circumstances that have arisen from the school closure period and the rapid need to engage in distance learning.
Planning for Eventual Re-Opening of Schools – Not Business as Usual
Our board has started planning for the eventual re-opening of schools when we receive clearance to do so. We hope that our schools can re-open in September. The latest we have seen is a June 17 SickKids paper with recommendations for school reopening. You can read it here.
When we do re-open, we want to emphasize that safety precautions related to COVID-19 will be an immediate priority and it will not be business as usual. Current physical distancing requirements of 2 metres, for example, will mean that class sizes will be restricted. This means that we may have scenarios where some students attend some days and others on other days, supported by distance learning. In the coming weeks, we will be releasing a discussion paper that will ask for your feedback on a variety of scenarios and the measures we will be taking to maximize student and staff safety. We recognize the challenges and struggles of distance learning and the levels of engagement our students were able to achieve during the school closure period. We acknowledge there is probably some worry about re-engaging in learning in the physical school setting in the fall. Please be assured that RCCDSB staff will be excited to welcome students back to the physical classroom whenever that transition is possible. We look forward to animating the theme from Our Vision that speaks to loving unconditionally!
School Year Calendar
School year calendars have not been approved by the Ministry of Education. We will update you as soon as we know more.
Getting to School – Implications for Bussing
We also want to emphasize that the Renfrew County Joint Transportation Consortium (RCJTC) and our bussing providers have challenges in front of them preparing for the possibility, for example, that busses will have to operate at well-reduced capacity in order to maintain physical distancing. In our rural county, this poses a significant challenge. Watch for an upcoming survey from the RCJTC.
Rest, Relaxation and Rejuvenation
While all of us in our work and family circumstances continue to navigate COVID-19 and physical and social distancing, it is our sincere hope that our students and their families can find time during the gift that is a Canadian summer to relax and rejuvenate. We will be doing our best to keep you informed of our plans and at the same time take a pause from the busy-ness, questions, concerns and stresses that have arisen during this pandemic. Please take time to rest and, indeed, re-engage with our parish communities as these slowly open up, even if there are restrictions in place. Please continue to watch for updates as we learn more.