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Start of School Update (for Sept. 2020)

20 Aug

Dear Summit Heights Parents,

On behalf of the SHPS staff, we sincerely hope that you and your entire family are in good health, and are enjoying your summer so far.

We understand there has been a great deal of information about the start of school in the media and from the TDSB.  There are still many unanswered questions, though as we inch closer to the first day of school, we anticipate having the answers to those questions.

The staff and I have been communicating over the summer.  We have a staff planning committee that has already met over the summer, and will continue to meet and plan over the next few weeks.  While the TDSB made an important announcement (details below) today about the start of school, there will be more information, protocol and guidelines from the board – so we ask that you remain patient in awaiting these details.

Once all the details from the TDSB have been shared, our staff committee and I will fine-tune routines and aspects that are specific to our school.  We will email these details to you, and post them on our school web site.

The following information was released by the TDSB today, though there will likely be more changes and details sorted out, so please continue to be patient with the situation:

 

  • The board will be hiring an additional 366 teachers and redeploy 400 central teachers to lower class sizes across the board to help improve student and staff safety in our schools.
  • Toronto Public Health has identified communities as being at a higher risk for contracting COVID-19. Schools in these communities will have JK/SK classes would be capped at 15 students, while Grade 1 to 8 classes would be capped at 20.
  • In all other schools, JK/SK classes would be capped at 26, Grade 1 to 3 classes would be capped at 20, while Grade 4 to 8 classes would be capped at 27.
  • With regard to virtual school (or remote learning), students will be taking part in live online learning throughout the day and see class size caps of 29 in JK/SK, 20 in Grades 1 to 3 and 35 in Grades 4 to 8.
  • With regard to space requirements, the board continues to work with the City of Toronto and others to look for alternate space.
  • To achieve these class sizes, the TDSB has used money from TDSB Reserves ($29.5M), the Ministry ($6.3M), and the regular TDSB budget ($2.9M)
  • This approach balances the urgent need to spend additional funds to lower class sizes, but doesn’t get the board into financial trouble in the years ahead by using too much of those reserves, much of which are set aside for employee benefits.
  • With regard to the use of masks/face coverings, ALL students and staff wear masks/face coverings. This brings the board in line with the overall City of Toronto requirements which require anyone over the age of 2 to wear a mask/face covering in indoor public spaces — with exemptions for medical reasons. Particularly for younger students, we’ll ensure there are breaks outdoors so that they’re not wearing them for multiple hours straight.
  • Given the amount of time that will be needed to prepare for the return to school, the first day of school (for elementary, secondary and virtual school) will be Tuesday, September 15 at which point we will stagger the entry of grades over a few days.
  • The board would like parents/guardians to have the opportunity to make their intentions known based on the latest information. That is why, next week, the TDSB will be asking parents to register their child to attend school in September or keep them at home and attend remote learning in virtual school. It’s very important that parents state their intentions.

 

So to clarify, more information will be shared about when the first day of school is for your child (as it will depend on their grade).

Further, the TDSB will once again survey parents about their intention for their child(ren) on whether they will attend school in person, or learn remotely from home.  It is very important that you respond to the survey next week, even if you completed the first survey – please ensure you respond to the survey next week.

I will be in touch with you again with more information.  Thank you for your support and understanding while we continue to prepare for the school year.

Sincerely,

Mr. B. Mah,
Principal.

 
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