April 14, 2021
Dear Students, Parents/Guardians, Families and Staff:
On April 12, 2021, the provincial government announced that the return to in-person learning for Ontario students after the April break will be delayed. This announcement was made in consultation with Dr. David Williams, the Chief Medical Officer of Health for Ontario, and was based on what provincial public health officials feel is in the best interests of our students, staff and their families.
According to the provincial announcement, “This move has been made in response to the rapid increase in COVID-19 cases, the increasing risks posed to the public by COVID-19 variants, and the massive spike in hospital admissions.”
For students of Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board (HPEDSB) who normally attend in-person school, the delay in returning to school means that teacher-led remote learning will be in effect starting the week of April 19, 2021.
Early next week, your child’s teacher will communicate with you and your child about the remote learning schedule for synchronous and asynchronous learning.
Access to technology for remote learning
Some students may require technology to use at home during the remote learning period. If your child requires technology, please contact your child’s school on April 19, 2021 to make arrangements to obtain it. Please note that devices will be provided based on availability and may take time to distribute.
Support for students with special needs
Safety is our top priority to minimize the possibility of COVID-19 transmission among our most vulnerable learners. With that in mind, all students with Special Education needs will remain home and are invited to engage in remote learning beginning Monday, April 19. School teams will ensure that specific plans are in place to support all students with Special Education needs through remote learning. HPEDSB education workers and professional support staff will work together, along with students and families, for continuity of learning, as much as possible.
Every effort will be made to develop individualized learning opportunities to engage students and keep them learning. Specific schedules of learning activities will be shared by individual classroom educators and support staff, and students will be invited to engage, as appropriate, with their specific plan.
School teams will contact families beginning April 19 to gather information to help inform how we can best meet student needs, while keeping safety as the top priority. More information about a return to face-to-face learning will be provided as it becomes available.
Mental health supports for students
During the remote learning period, various school-based and community supports and resources will be available for students, including the following:
- Students will continue to have remote access to services, through school-based social workers, child and youth workers, and community partners.
- Mental health resources are available, including Kids Help Phone, which offers 24/7 counselling and referral services across the province. To use this free resource, children and youth can call 1-800-668-6868, or text CONNECT to 686868.
- School Mental Health Ontario also has a number of worthwhile resources for students and families on its website at smho-smso.ca.
Child care centres
As per the provincial announcement, child care for non-school age children will remain open. Before and after school programs will be closed. Free emergency child care for the school-age children of eligible health care and frontline workers will be provided.
If you have questions about emergency child care, please contact one of the following:
- Hastings County Children’s Services, 613-966-1311, ext. 1, or email [email protected]
- Prince Edward-Lennox and Addington Social Services (PELASS), 613-354-0957, ext. 2402, or email [email protected]
I want to assure you that we continue to be focused on supporting students and families. Even though the spread of COVID-19 continues to present challenges, our school and central office teams are doing all they can to ensure students are engaged in learning and staying in contact with their teachers and classmates.
I understand how important predictability is at this time. We are doing our best to communicate the facts as soon as we know them and this will continue as new information is released. In the meantime, I encourage you to connect with your child’s teacher next week for any questions about remote learning.
Thank you for your patience and ongoing support.
Director of Education