Letter from the Director of Education, return to school delayed
January 8, 2021
Dear Students, Parents/Guardians, Families and Staff:
Late yesterday afternoon, the provincial government announced that the return to school for elementary students will be deferred until January 25, 2021. This announcement was made in consultation with Dr. David Williams, the Chief Medical Officer of Health for Ontario.
According to the provincial announcement, These time-limited measures are being taken to help ensure that all Ontarians stay at home as much as possible to minimize transmission of the virus and prevent hospitals from becoming overwhelmed.
For students of Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board who normally attend in-person school, the delay in returning to in-person school means that remote/at-home learning will continue for the next two weeks.
This announcement does not affect students who are enrolled at the virtual schools.
Please be assured that your child’s teacher will continue to communicate with you and your child about the remote learning schedule.
Access to technology for remote/at-home learning
While the HPEDSB has distributed close to 5,000 devices to students this year, we know that some students may still require a device for this remote learning period. Families in need of supplemental technology are encouraged to contact their child’s school 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
Plans are in place to support students with special education needs with at-home learning through school-based staff and school board professionals. Schools staff will contact families directly.
Mental health supports for students
During the remote/in-person learning period, various school-based and community supports and resources are 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. In addition, 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 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 their website at smho-smso.ca.
Child care centres
Schools will continue to provide access to their on-site child care centres.
I want to assure you that we continue to be focused on supporting students and families during these unusual times. Even though the spread of COVID-19 may still present challenges ahead, our school and central office teams are doing all they can to ensure students are engaged in learning, and are keeping in contact with their teachers and classmates.
We will continue to communicate over the next couple of weeks as we know more. In the meantime, I encourage you to connect with your child’s teacher for any questions about remote/at-home learning.
Thank you for your patience and ongoing support.
Director of Education