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Local Government Week, October 19-23, 2020

Board of Trustees at a planning retreat
(L to R back row): Mike Brant, Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte; Krista McConnell, Belleville/Thurlow; Alison Kelly, South Prince Edward County; Lisa Anne Chatten, Belleville/Thurlow; Spencer Hutchison, Trenton and CFB Trenton; Lucille Kyle, Chair of the Board, North Hastings; Sean Monteith, Director of Education; Bonnie Danes, Centre Hastings. (L to R front row): Kristen Parks, Sidney and Frankford; Shannon Binder, Vice-chair of the Board, Southeast Hastings; Jennifer Cobb, North Prince Edward County.

October 20, 2020—This week, the Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board, along with partners at the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association (OPSBA), is working to raise civic awareness by observing Local Government Week.

School board trustees are the oldest form of elected representation in Ontario. Since 1807, generations of community-minded citizens have made decisions on behalf of local publicly funded schools, building the foundation of the education system of today.

The Board of Trustees sets the HPEDSB vision and mission, develops policies, allocates resources, and sets the goals that lay the foundation for driving programs and operations. Collectively, they create our strategic plan, and recruit and monitor the performance of the director of education to ensure progress in meeting goals.

student trustees
Student trustees L to R: Kayla Zachariah, Prince Edward Collegiate Institute; Grace Whyte, Bayside Secondary School; and Moira Gaddes, Eastside Secondary School represent the student voice at the Board table from August 2020 to July 2021.

At HPEDSB, three student trustees participate in public school board meetings, represent student opinions at the Board level and participate actively on committees. Through student involvement at the Board level, Board members become aware of student issues and student opinions.

Director’s letter about staff and classroom reorganization

October 2, 2020

Re: HPEDSB Schools, COVID 19 and Reorganization of Staff and Classrooms (Pdf version)

Dear Students, Parents/Guardians, Families and Staff:

I am sending you for the second time this week a formal letter from myself as the Director of Education to all of you. I feel that despite it being a Friday afternoon, and not admittedly the most optimal time for a system message, the circumstances and reality of our challenges require us to do so. Like all of you I continue to watch the impact of COVID-19 incident rates of virus spread around the country and Ontario. We continue to be very fortunate to not have an outbreak or a single case at this time in any one of our schools.

However, we know that many parents are concerned about the future; as a Father myself I am concerned about the future. And so the decisions we make and the implications of every difficult action we are required to take are thoughtful and analyzed over and over, and as many times as necessary until we come to the best conclusion we can.

The first five weeks of school have been remarkably successful given the challenges and realities we face. We have also created and operated a virtual school serving approximately 1750 students (kindergarten to grade 12), and hired and put in place teachers, administrators, support staff and technical support to best meet the needs of these students. This week we learned from our Families that an additional approximately 750 students will join the virtual school cohort, bringing the total enrolment to approximately 2500 students. This makes the HPEDSB Virtual School our largest school in the district.

Unfortunately, this also means that 2500 students we were expecting to be in our conventional physical schools are no longer there. This has implications for every classroom in every school across the entire school board. We know that we are required to staff more teachers and support for the additional students in the virtual school, and we know that we have a significantly less number of students in our physical schools than we were planning for before the pandemic. Therefore, we will be required to reorganize our schools by reducing the number of staff in our physical schools because of the enrolment decline, and adding more staff to the virtual school environment to support all of the students there.

Reorganization of schools and classrooms at any time is disruptive, can cause confusion, and in my experience is upsetting for students and staff alike. Having to complete a reorganization into a school year such as this, and as a direct result of a pandemic is even more challenging. Over the next few days administration in schools and staff will be informed of what this reorganization looks like, and what the impact will be for everyone.

It is important for me to share with all of you as Families, that making such decisions have not been done indiscriminately, callously and without careful thought. We have approached this unprecedented challenge with absolute empathy and compassion for our Families, staff and children. While my Senior Team and I have worked diligently in preparing for this, now knowing the wishes of our families, this responsibility ultimately rests with me. In over 25 years in education in Ontario, I can share with sincerity I have never had to face such difficult decisions as these, knowing that these decisions impact lives: the lives of children and staff.

We will not be doing another reorganization and review of our classrooms until January when the end of the secondary school semester would normally occur, and the end of the elementary term would annually arrive.

To our Families and parents/guardians, I ask for your understanding and your ongoing support for our teachers and staff.

To our Staff, I ask for your patience and belief that we have made the best decisions possible under incredibly trying circumstances.

And to our Students, I ask you to remain hopeful knowing that we always consider the impact on you as children and learners first.

I wish you all well, and ask to you collectively remain positive, kind and resilient.

Sean Monteith
Director of Education

Board Meeting Update #183: September 28, 2020

September 28, 2020—This update provides a summary of the online public meeting of the Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board held September 28, 2020, livestreamed (the recorded version will be available within 24 hours). It is an unofficial summary of the meeting; official minutes will be approved at the next meeting in October 2020.

Sean Monteith, Director of Education, acknowledged the First Peoples of the territory. This evening we acknowledge that the land on which we are gathered is part of the traditional territory of the Mohawk, Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe peoples. We conduct tonight’s business recognizing that we are all Treaty people and give respect to this territory and all its young people. 

Character Moment of Reflection

Each Board meeting opens with a Character Moment of Reflection. At Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board, Growing with Character is our intentional focus on creating safe, caring, respectful and inclusive learning environments where students develop the foundation for good character. Growing with Character is the foundation of the school board strategic plan. Through Growing with Character, we model, teach and expect demonstrations of our eight character traits which are: Caring, Cooperation, Honesty, Humour, Integrity, Respect, Responsibility and Trustworthiness.

This evening Shannon Binder, Vice-chair and trustee for Southeast Hastings, asked all to reflect on Cooperation: We work as a team for a common good. We value the opinions of others and show a willingness to work together towards a common goal.

Presentation

Myles Ramsay
Introducing Myles Ramsay, a Grade 11 student at Eastside Secondary School. Myles is the founder and owner of Buzz Box Fun Kits for Kids, a company he started in May 2020.

Buzz Box Fun Kits for Kids

Introducing Myles Ramsay, a Grade 11 student at  Eastside Secondary School. Myles is the founder and owner of Buzz Box Fun Kits for Kids, a company he started in May 2020. Knowing that entertainment options are limited for kids due to COVID-19, Myles has a solution: provide a safe, home delivery service of activity kits full of fun, creativity and active play for kids ages 4-10.

Kits are themed, with new ones being added. The current offerings include the following:

  • Be Your Own Superhero (top seller)
  • Space Explorers
  • Trash Can Treasures
  • Mindful Moments
  • Magic Mania
  • Robots Rock
  • Unicorn Wishes
  • Top Secret Spy
  • Backyard Bug Safari
  • Campfire Kids
  • Mermaid Magic (sold out)

Coming soon are Brain Gym and Finance 4 Fun. Find out more at the Buzz Box Fun Kits for Kids website.

Find out more starting on page 2 of the September 28, 2020 agenda (Pdf).

Recommendation

Borrowing resolution amendment #2 to a credit agreement

Ensuring effective management of all resources is a strategic priority for Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board. Part of the effective management of all resources includes establishing various credit facilities to meet the operating and capital expenditures until funds are received from the Ministry of Education.

Board members approved an amendment to the credit agreement with Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce that authorizes the following borrowing in order to meet short-term borrowing requirements for capital projects:

  • borrowing of a sum of up to $21,144,213 for various school improvements under the School Condition Improvement Program;
  • borrowing of a sum of up to $7,890,000 for additions and renovations at Eastside Secondary School;
  • borrowing of a sum of up to $5,557,725 for the construction of an addition and renovations to the existing Centre Hastings Secondary School; and
  • borrowing of a sum of up to $11,488,900 for the construction of Easthill Elementary School at the Queen Elizabeth School site.

Information

2020 Elementary Summer Learning Program update

The Ministry of Education (EDU) provided funding to school boards to deliver summer learning programming to students in grades K-8. The purpose was to mitigate learning loss during the summer, in support of increasing student achievement, and close learning gaps in literacy and numeracy. Considering the COVID19 pandemic and student staff and family safety, the EDU stipulated that the 2020 summer learning program must include a minimum of 45 hours of learning, with 30 hours being delivered in a direct, synchronous manner. HPEDSB received $60,000 to offer four summer learning classes over a 3-week period from July 6-24, 2020.

Due to the level of interest in and need for a summer learning program and its gap closing priority, HPEDSB offered 16 classes for students from grades K-8. Four were funded through EDU and 11 through HPEDSB.

Find out more on page 38 of the September 28, 2020 agenda (Pdf).

K-12 Virtual School update

A survey of families conducted from August 10 – 14, 2020 revealed that 84% of the students in the Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board were planning to return to regular classes on September 3, 2020. An analysis of the data survey indicated that more than 1,600 students would learn from home. On August 13, 2020, the Ministry of Education issued Policy/Program Memorandum No. 164 with the requirements for remote learning during times of pandemic. The memorandum provides direction to school boards about remote learning requirements, including implementation and reporting.

Based upon the survey results and the requirements established by PPM 164, on August 17, 2020 a decision was made by the senior team to begin to make and to implement plans to create the K-12 Virtual School for students who planned to learn online. This school began serving students on September 14, 2020. It started with approximately 1,800 students and, as of this evening, enrolment will increase to approximately 2,400+ students by the end of next week when Block B/Octomester 2 begins.

Find out more on page 39 of the September 28, 2020 agenda (Pdf).

Ontario Scholars

This report listed the number of student who achieved Ontario Scholar status at each HPEDSB secondary school from 2015 to 2020, inclusive.

Find out more on page 45 of the September 28, 2020 agenda (Pdf).

Report from student trustees

Highlights from this report include the following:

  • Discussed variations of the expanding the student senate, including adding junior senate for elementary students and another one for Grade 9 and 10 students
  • Increasing social worker access to high school students; social workers will visit classrooms to introduce themselves; access through Google classroom

Report from the Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC)

Highlights from this report include the following:

  • Student Services personnel updates
  • Education and Community Partnership Program (ECPP) updates
  • Reviewed a letter sent to the Ministry of Education from the Halton District School Board
  • Hearing about staff on the frontlines being empowered
  • Looking for a student trustee to participate on SEAC, meetings are Thursday evenings, once a month

Report from the Audit Committee

Highlights from this report include the following:

  • Presentation by the external auditors of their audit plan and schedules for this school year
  • Met with the Regional Internal Audit Team for this school year

Ontario Public School Boards’ Association (OPSBA) Information Exchange

Highlights from this report include the following:

  • The OPSBA Annual General Meeting was held this past weekend online; a recorded livestream is available on the OPSBA website
  • Shared the results of elections for the roles of president, first and second vice-presidents, representative for the Indigenous Trustees’ Council, and chair for the Eastern Region
  • The next regional meeting is November 7, 2020

Questions or reports from trustees

Highlights from this report include the following:

  • The Board of Trustees will meet on October 5, 2020 at 3:30 PM for strategic planning, rather than the previously-scheduled November 7, 2020 date; support can be provided to trustees who need child care in order to participate
  • Participation on the Mental Health Committee; the committee saw a draft of the new mental health strategy
  • HPEDSB child and youth workers, and social workers prepared 1,000 calming kits for students

Correspondence

Letters received from the following school boards:

  • Upper Grand District School Board
  • Lakehead Public Schools
  • Simcoe County District School Board
  • Waterloo Region District School Board
  • York Region District School Board
  • Halton District School Board

Find out more on page 46 of the September 28, 2020 agenda (Pdf).

The next public Board meeting is Monday, October 26, 2020, online through a livestream event at 7:00 PM.

For more information, please contact Kerry Donnell, Communications & Public Relations Manager, extension 62354, [email protected]

Director’s letter about COVID-19 related updates and important transition dates

September 28, 2020

Subject: COVID-19 related updates and important transition dates (Pdf version)

To All Students, Families and Staff:

As we near the end of September, I want to provide you with some important updates.

Overall, the return to school has been a positive experience and very successful for students, staff and families of Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board. Our schools opened on time beginning September 3, 2020 for in-person instruction and September 14, 2020 for our new  K-12 Virtual School. Daily routines are now established and learning is happening.

As you may have heard, the HPEDSB is experiencing some challenges that have impacted other school boards across Ontario. While the spread and transmission of the COVID-19 virus has been extremely low in our area and is in none of our schools at this point, we still face challenges around staffing shortages in most employee groups. Thank you for your vigilance and adherence to the public health protocols in getting tested for the virus, when required.

We continue to be able to open our schools without spread or transmission; however, this has also resulted in staff absences which are concerning, and require daily monitoring by school administrators and senior staff. Please watch for updates from your child’s school and HPEDSB communications for any potential impact to your child’s school or individual programs in our schools.

We will continue to do our best to communicate accurately and very quickly so that families are able to stay on top of a very challenging and evolving situation.

Important transition dates

We are coming to the end of Block A/Octomester 1 on October 6, 2020. Block B/Octomester 2 begins October 8, 2020. Overall, this new approach has been successful in our secondary schools. All students and staff have adjusted to this new mode of teaching and learning.

We are noticing families changing their preference regarding conventional schooling and their children attending the virtual school (elementary and secondary) in numbers that we had not anticipated. Trying to meet everyone’s needs during these ever-changing circumstances is proving to be very difficult.

Reorganizing our schools by moving staff around to accommodate students moving in and out of the virtual school creates confusion and further uncertainty. As a result, parents/guardians will have to make the decision as to whether their children will attend the virtual school or remain at in-person school for the remainder of Semester 1 ending January 28, 2021 by this Wednesday, September 30, 2020 at 3:00 PM. Our original plan was to allow natural transition points in the semester; however, the high number of changes has tremendous and potentially very disruptive implications for staff in all schools, including the virtual school.

I ask all parents/guardians of elementary and secondary students to consider this decision very carefully as the next transition date for movement to and from the K-12 Virtual School is the start of Semester 2 which is January 29, 2021. The cut-off date for changes is Wednesday, January 20, 2021. I recognize the difficulty and strain this places on families; however, attempting to manage and continue the functional operation of the entire HPEDSB requires a level of planning and responsiveness that is influenced by family decisions.

It is important to let you know that in the event of school closures due an outbreak, all students will have access to virtual learning (synchronous and asynchronous) through their home school.

Earlier this week Hastings Prince Edward Public Health released updated COVID-19 screening tool protocols in response to a new screening tool from the province.

Key updates include the following:

  • More detailed symptom screening (see printable screening tool for complete list)
  • Permission for asymptomatic housemates or siblings of symptomatic students/staff to continue to attend school while monitoring for symptoms—as long as the symptomatic individual is seeking testing/waiting for test results
  • Permission for students/staff who have received a negative COVID-19 test result to return to school 24 hours after symptoms have started to improve
  • Requirements for 14 days of isolation for students/staff who choose not to be tested, as well as siblings/housemates, unless all of the following apply:
    • a health-care provider has diagnosed the student/staff with another illness, AND
    • the student/staff does not have a fever (without using medication), AND
    • it has been at least 24 hours since symptoms started (48 hours if symptoms included vomiting and diarrhea)

Here is a link to the updated screening tool that was released by the province: https://covid-19.ontario.ca/school-screening. Paper copies can be requested from your child’s school.

In closing, I want to acknowledge the incredible and heroic work of all of you. The HPEDSB has had one of the most successful start-ups of any school board in Ontario; it has been well-earned and for good reason. Like all of you, and as parent myself, I am watching events across the province, concerned but also hopeful for the future.

As the Director of Education, it continues to be my responsibility to ensure that all required actions and efforts needed to keep our schools open will be taken until the potential time that it is simply no longer feasible. Communication is critical and we will continue to do our absolute best to ensure we are communicating with you as quickly as possible.

Take care and stay positive,

Sean Monteith
Director of Education

Follow Tri-Board Transportation for Bus Delays & Cancellations

Tri-Board Student Transportation Services anticipates more delays and route cancellations than normal this year due to the pandemic. Tri-Board is Tri-Board delays and cancellationsasking all families to ensure they have subscribed to their notification system and are aware of other ways to track bus delays and cancellations.

Board Meeting Update #182: September 14, 2020

September 14, 2020—This update provides a summary of the public special meeting of the Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board held September 14, 2020 in-person and  livestreamed (the recorded version will be available within 24 hours). It is an unofficial summary of the meeting; official minutes will be approved at the next meeting in September  2020.

Recommendation

HPEDSB/ETFO Local Collective Agreement

Board members ratified the terms of the local collective agreement between the Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board, and the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario Hastings-Prince Edward Teacher Local, for the period of September 1, 2019 to August 31, 2022.

The agreement covers approximately 640 elementary teachers.

The next public Board meeting is Monday, September 28, 2020, online through a livestream event at 7:00 p.m.

For more information, please contact Kerry Donnell, Communications & Public Relations Manager, extension 62354, [email protected]

 

Return to school updates

We are happy to welcome students back to school for the 2020-2021 school year.  In addition to our Return to School Plan, we have some important updates to share with families to keep everyone healthy and safe. Schools will also share site-specific updates with you over the coming days and weeks as we all adjust and adapt to our new normal.

COVID-19 family responsibilities

COVID-19 family responsibilities

COVID-19 daily active screening

All families are required to screen their child(ren) for COVID-19 symptoms before each school day. The Ministry of Health has provided an online screening tool (updated October 1, 2020) to support decision making by families about children going to school each day. When assessing symptoms, focus on evaluating if they are new, worsening, or different from your child’s baseline health status or usual state.

COVID-19 information and assessment

Ensuring our schools can remain open will take all of us doing our part. This means that all students, staff, bus drivers, bus monitors and school visitors must perform the daily self-assessment of COVID-19 symptoms. An information page is available on the Hastings Prince Edward Public Health website, and includes this self-assessment tool to help protect yourself, your family and your school community.

The information page includes the following:

Face coverings in schools

All students in Grades 4 to 12 are required to wear non-medical or cloth masks while indoors at school (including classrooms and common areas, such as hallways) and on the school bus unless there is a necessary exemption (medical conditions or special needs) that would prevent them from wearing a mask. Families are expected to provide non-medical or cloth masks for their child(ren). A supply of non-medical masks will be available at schools for students who forget to bring one.

How to safely wear a mask (Pdf)

Use of face coverings in school (Pdf)

How to safely wear a mask

Confirmed COVID-19 cases

Confirmed COVID-19 cases

Confirmed COVID-19 casesIn accordance with guidance from the Ministry of Education, this page will be updated on an ongoing basis with information regarding confirmed cases of COVID-19 involving an individual(s) in a school setting or office site within the HPEDSB. This information  will be shared upon notification of confirmed cases by Hastings Prince Edward Public Health.

In the interest of maintaining privacy, information provided here will not identify the individual(s) who has received a positive COVID-19 test.

Important: A positive case at a school does not mean the individual was exposed to COVID-19 at the school. They may have been exposed somewhere else in the community.

In the event that Hastings Prince Edward Public Health advises HPEDSB that a class or school should be closed for a period of time, parents/guardians, students and staff will be notified.

If no information is provided below, there are no confirmed cases.

Current status: The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases within HPEDSB is 0.

Confirmed COVID-19 Cases
Date School/Office site Classroom

Mental health and well-being resources

FAQs

FAQs

Back to school planning FAQs from Hastings Prince Edward Public Health FAQs (scroll to bottom of the page)

Health and safety protocols

Who decided that schools will reopen In September 2020?

The Ministry of Education released its Guide to Reopening Ontario’s Schools on July 30, 2020. The document provides directions to school boards and was approved by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health for Ontario, and was developed in consultation with the COVID-19 Command Table and pediatric experts. The current plan has also been endorsed by our partners at Hastings Prince Edward Public Health (HPEPH).

What safety measures are in place to protect students and staff?

As always, our plans are based on the advice, guidance and directives of provincial and local public health officials. It is important to note that a safe school reopening is contingent on limiting community spread of COVID-19. If circumstances change and we experience an increase in regional cases in Hastings County and Prince Edward County, we may need to adjust the school model. We encourage everyone to follow public health guidelines and remain vigilant in helping to keep our communities safe.

The Ministry of Education document provides guidance on safety and cleaning measures to help keep students and staff safe at school. These measures include the use of masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE), additional school custodians, enhanced cleaning supplies and protocols, and additional health and safety training for school-based staff. In addition, the government is providing funding for additional public health nurses to assist schools in local health protocols.

Some of the protocols are detailed in other questions on this page.

Are students and staff screened upon arriving at school?

All students and staff must self-screen every day before attending school and arriving at school.  If a student or staff member is experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19, they must stay home from school, should seek testing and appropriate medical attention. Staff and students feeling sick should remain at home while waiting for test results. If a symptomatic individual tests positive for COVID-19, they should continue to remain in isolation at home and follow the directions of Hastings Prince Edward Public Health.

Are temperatures taken at school?

No. Public health officials have indicated that temperatures are not a reliable source for screening of COVID-19.

Are students and staff being tested?

No. Public health officials have indicated that tests are only accurate for one day. The use of active screening and contact tracing is more reliable.

What happens if a student feels sick? Will they be sent home? Will they have to isolate for 14 days?

All students and staff must self-screen every day before attending school using a checklist before arriving at school. If a student or staff member is experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19, they must stay home from school and should seek testing and appropriate medical attention. If a student or staff member feels sick, or develops symptoms while at school, schools will follow the following protocol:

  • Students or staff who develop COVID-19 symptoms will immediately be separated from others and the family will be contacted to arrange pick-up.
  • Staff and families will be directed to consult their health care provider and should be provided with information about COVID-19 testing locations.
  • Staff and/or students who test positive may not return to school until they are cleared by Hastings Prince Edward Public Health.
  • Staff and/or students who test negative can return to school once they are symptom-free for 24 hours.
  • HPEDSB schools will immediately report any suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 to Hastings Prince Edward Public Health.
  • HPEDSB schools will participate in contact tracing through keeping records of classes, transported students and school visitors.

Further information will be provided once the provincial school outbreak protocol is released.

What is contact tracing?

Contact tracing is a way for schools and public health to keep track of positive or suspected cases of COVID-19. Schools will keep daily records of attendance of all persons within the school. These will be made available to Hastings Prince Edward Public Health to facilitate contact tracing in the event of a confirmed COVID-19 case or outbreak.

What if a student or staff member tests positive? Does the whole class need to be tested or self-isolate?

If a COVID-19 positive case is identified in a school, Hastings Prince Edward Public Health will provide further instructions on who else in the school may need testing and/or monitoring/isolation at that time. Staff/children who are being managed by public health (e.g. confirmed cases of COVID-19, household contacts of cases, etc.) must follow their instructions on when they can return to school. Further information will be provided once the provincial school outbreak protocol is released.

Do all students have to wear masks? What if they can’t wear a mask due to medication conditions?

All students in Grades 4 to 12 are required to wear non-medical or cloth masks while indoors at school (including classrooms and common areas. such as hallways) and on the school bus unless there is a necessary exemption (medical conditions or special needs) that would prevent them from wearing a mask.

Families are expected to provide non-medical or cloth masks for their child(ren). A supply of non-medical masks will be available at schools for students who require one. For students who choose to wear a cloth mask, families will be responsible to ensure it is appropriately cleaned.

Staff are also required to wear masks while indoors unless there is a necessary exemption that would prevent them from wearing a mask.

Public health nurses will be assisting students and staff on how to properly wear, take off and store masks.

Learn more about face coverings in schools from Hastings Prince Edward Public Health.

Are masks provided to students?

Families should provide their students with non-medical or cloth masks. Schools have a supply of non-medical masks for students who forget or damage theirs.

Can students wear face shields?

Non-medical or cloth masks are mandatory for students in Grades 4 to 12 unless they have a necessary exemption. Student can also wear a face shield if families choose but it does not replace mandatory masks for Grades 4 to 12.

Learn more about face coverings in schools from Hastings Prince Edward Public Health.

How do students store their masks for lunch breaks and recess?

When not in use, masks should be stored in a labelled paper bag or reusable container that does not allow moisture build-up.

Learn more about face coverings in schools from Hastings Prince Edward Public Health.

Can students use lanyards or chains to hold their masks so they don’t lose them?

No. That is not good mask protocol. Masks should be stored in a paper bag or container that does not allow moisture build-up. Also, lanyards are a potential choking and safety hazard.

Learn more about face coverings in schools from Hastings Prince Edward Public Health.

Are there adequate hand cleaning stations? How often do students clean their hands?

All classrooms have hand sanitizer available, some have hand washing stations. Regular hand cleaning will be incorporated into students’ daily routines (upon entering school, before lunch and recess breaks, after using the washroom, returning from outside play/recess and after sneezing or coughing). Students will be taught proper handwashing hygiene.

How can you ensure proper adequate physical distancing?

The Ministry of Education has indicated that standard physical distancing of 2 metres is not possible in most schools. Schools will provide 2-metre spacing as much as possible and try to reduce face-to-face interactions. Because physical distancing is not possible in most schools, masks are mandatory for staff and students in Grades 4 to 12, and are encouraged for students in Kindergarten to Grade 3. Where possible, staff will be encouraged to take students outdoors or into larger spaces to further reduce risks.

How are schools and classrooms cleaned?

Schools will implement a more frequent cleaning and disinfecting routine according to Ministry of Education and Hastings Prince Edward Public Health recommendations. Frequently touched surfaces will be cleaned and disinfected at least twice a day throughout schools. Schools will undergo extra cleaning and disinfecting at the end of each school day. Soft surfaces that cannot be easily cleaned will be removed from classrooms (e.g. plush/absorbent items, upholstered furnishings).

How are washrooms cleaned?

High-touch surfaces in washrooms will be cleaned throughout the day. The use of washrooms will be staggered where possible to support cohorting (grouping) of students. Signs will be posted to indicate the maximum number of people using washrooms at any given time. Depending on the size of the school and the location of washrooms, schools may assign students to specific washrooms.

How are you supporting student mental health and well-being?

Child and youth workers are in elementary schools and social workers are in secondary schools. Both are available to provide in-person or virtual support. There are also supporting organizations that offer mental health and well-being services and resources.

School day/operations

What does return to school look like at the HPEDSB?

Elementary: The Ministry of Education has directed that elementary students in K-Grade 8 will attend school in-person, five days per week, with one cohort (the same group of students) for the full day, including recess and lunch. Enhanced health and safety protocols will be in place and schools will provide the full range of elementary curriculum.

Secondary: The Ministry of Education has provided two models for secondary schools, depending on whether a school board is considered to have a high or low risk profile. HPEDSB has been identified as a low risk school board which means secondary school students in Grades 9 to 12 will attend school in-person, five days a week with an emphasis on cohorting (grouping) students and limiting student contacts as much as possible. This may mean a change to the current schedule and the number of periods attended by students each day.

Opting out of returning to in-person school: HPEDSB has created a K-12 Virtual School to accommodate students who have chosen remote learning for the start of the 2020-2021 school year. The HPEDSB K-12 Virtual School will use the same content and expectations in The Ontario Curriculum, as regular in-person learning.

Do students have to return to school?

No. Families have the option to choose whether their child(ren) return to school in person or at the K-12 Virtual School. The current plan has been deemed safe by provincial and local public health officials who underscore the need for students to return to school for their overall well-being.

How is the school day affected by health and safety protocols?

Adjustments to school routines/movement: HPEDSB has developed strategies to support general physical distancing throughout the school day. Students, for example, will notice visual cues, such as directional arrows in hallways and stairwells, and signs on walls to guide appropriate distances in lines and at other times. Classrooms will be organized in such a way to reduce face-to-face interaction between students.

Drop off/pick up: Student entry into the school may be staggered according to their classroom to provide physical distancing and less congestion in hallways and corridors. School parking lots and drop off areas will be closed off with pylons to all non-bus traffic during the arrival and departure of buses. It is strongly recommended that non-bused students walk to/from school. If there is a need to drive students, vehicles should be parked off site in a safe location and the student should be walked to school. Students will be dropped off and picked up outside of the school to limit visitors into the school building.

Use of outdoor spaces: Weather permitting, some activities (classes, lunch breaks) may be held outside.

Large gatherings/assemblies: These will be postponed for the immediate future.

Lunch breaks: Elementary students will eat in their classroom and staff/students will need to bring their own lunch/snacks from home. Secondary school cafeterias will not operate until further notice. Secondary students can eat within their classrooms as a class cohort or other designated areas where they can physically distance. Secondary students will also be encouraged to eat outdoors where possible.

Water fountains: Water fountains will be closed but water refilling stations will be available.

Are visitors permitted inside the school?

Non-essential visitors to the school are limited, including family members. Visits to ensure school safety (by health and safety authorities) will continue under current health and safety protocols. All visitors must make an appointment with the principal prior to entering the school or school board offices. Visitors will be required to self-screen, wear a non-medical or cloth mask while indoors, sign in (and out) at the main office (for contract tracing purposes), and wait for further direction. In the exceptional case where families must enter the school (in an emergency and as approved by the principal), they will be required to follow the same protocols as noted above. Parents/guardians will not be permitted to attend classrooms or other common areas of the school. At entry and dismissal times, parents/guardians must remain outside the school in designated and identified areas, and adhere to physical distancing protocols.

What if I need to drop something off to my child, or pick them up for an appointment?

Non-essential visitors to the school are limited, including family members. Visits to ensure school safety (by health and safety authorities) will continue under current health and safety protocols. All visitors must make an appointment with the principal prior to entering the school or school board offices. Parents/guardians may be asked to wait outside until a staff member can attend to them. In the case where parents/guardians or community partners must enter the school (as approved by the school principal), they will be required to self-screen, wear a non-medical or cloth mask while indoors, sign in (and out) at the main office (for contract tracing purposes), and wait for further direction. Unscheduled parents/guardians and visitors are not be permitted to enter the school.

What do lunch breaks look like?

Schools have developed site-specific plans which may vary due to school size, location and physical space. Class dismissal times may need to be staggered to ensure hallways are not congested.

Elementary: Students eat lunch in their classrooms with their cohort (group). Intermediate students who otherwise have parent/guardian permission to leave the school property at lunch are encouraged to remain at school and in their cohort.

Secondary: School cafeterias are not operational until further notice. Secondary students can eat within their classrooms as a class cohort or other designated areas where they can physically distance. Students will also be encouraged to eat outdoors where possible.

How are lunch supervisors or staff doing lunch supervision protected as students are not wearing masks during this time?

Lunch supervisors are encouraged to maintain physical distancing and wear appropriate PPE (masks are mandatory) including face shield, gown and gloves, if desired.

How are student supplies and shared learning material cleaned?

Staff are to limit the sharing of supplies, equipment, textbooks and toys. Adequate supplies for instructional purposes will be provided to each student. Where it is not practical to give each student their own resources, classroom resources that are used regularly will be cleaned daily, and students will clean their hands before and after use. Staff will review specific safety precautions required for classes that traditionally involve the sharing of resources between students (e.g. construction, auto shops, hospitality, science, arts, physical education etc.). Plans will be established for specialized protective equipment that cannot be cleaned between use (e.g. welding gloves, chaps, coat, coveralls, aprons, oven mitts, lab coats).

Are students able to use lockers or cubbies?

No. At this time, student lockers and cubbies are not available. Students are to keep their belongings with them at their desk and are encouraged to only bring the materials they will need that day for learning. If lockers are made available, access will be restricted to particular times of the day. This will be revisited as the weather changes.

Since lockers are not be used at this time, how are students belongings being secured during gym class?

Students should minimize the amount of personal items brought to school. School and class specific plans will be developed to support the safety of student belongings.

Are field trips allowed?

The Ministry of Education has indicated that schools should not plan field trips and activities requiring group transportation at this time. This may be revised as public health data suggests otherwise.

Are playgrounds open?

Elementary schools have developed school/site specific plans for cohorts (groups) and yard space depending on school population and yard size. Equipment will not be cleaned. Students will be required to clean their hands before and after outdoor play. Recess and lunch breaks may need to be staggered to avoid congestion and allow yard play.

Are there clubs and extra-curricular activities?

No. Extra-curricular clubs and sports are not be permitted at this time. Interschool sports in elementary and secondary schools will not operate for the fall season. A decision on the winter season will be made at a later date. School clubs that can maintain physical distancing, or run virtually, may proceed after the first few weeks of school as approved by each school principal. If physical distancing or virtual meetings are not possible, clubs will not be permitted at this time.

Are bike racks available for use?

Yes. Students should clean their hands after use.

Are child centres open

All child care centres and before/after school programs hosted within our schools are operated by third party operators. Students attending these programs are considered to be part of two separate cohorts (groups), one being the child care/before/after school program and the other being the child’s classroom). Student attendance lists and contact information will be maintained and available to public health for contact tracing purposes in accordance with all applicable legislation, including the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. Please submit any inquiries about child care directly to the operator.

Have community use of schools (rentals) resumed?

No. Our priority is to provide a safe environment for students and staff. For that reason, we are issuing any permits for community use of schools so that we can focus on enhanced cleaning in schools and offices daily.

Will there be class photos?

The decision to arrange student/class photographs is school-based. Please contact your child’s school if you have any questions.

Learning models

What does the elementary school model look like?

In each of our learning models, students will receive grade-level content from The Ontario Curriculum. Quality instruction will require teachers to: 1) understand student readiness; and 2) design learning tasks to best meet the individualized needs of their students.

Students in K-Grade 8 will have 300 minutes of instruction per day, five days a week while remaining in one cohort (group) of students for the full day, including recess and lunch. Enhanced health and safety protocols will be in place.

Cohorted classes will stay together with one teacher in their classroom where possible. Rotary and specialized staff will travel to classrooms to provide programming for students.

Staggered timing of recesses, lunches, and washroom breaks to support cohorting should be expected.

What does the secondary school model look like?

School boards are to adopt secondary timetabling methods that emphasize cohorting (grouping) of students as much as possible, to limit the number of student-to-student contacts. To reduce risk of transmission and to support contact tracing, school timetables limit the indirect and direct student contacts to approximately 100 students in the school.

At HPEDSB, the secondary learning model was revised on August 26, 2020. Secondary schools are using a blocked timetable with one class occurring at a time. This model further reduces the number of direct and indirect student contacts and enhances existing safety protocols. Through the blocked timetable, students complete one class (period) at a time for five weeks. Each block includes 300 instructional minutes per day for 23 days (22 instructional days plus one day for culminating activities/exams). Students have access to obtaining four credits between September 2020 and January 2021, as they would under a normal semester system in the order. Breaks and lunches will be staggered throughout the day, based on school timetables.

What does the blocked timetable look like?

Through the blocked timetable, students complete one class (period) at a time. Each block includes 300 instructional minutes per day for 23 days (22 instructional days plus one day for culminating activities/exams). This is similar to how Summer School operates.

Students remain in one classroom at the same desk for the period of time, without travelling to another classroom (similar to elementary model). This allows for less direct and indirect student contact over the course of the day.

School hours remain the same. Two breaks and lunches will be staggered throughout the day, based on school timetables.

Students have access to obtaining four credits between September 2020 and January 2021 as they would under a normal semester system in the order.

What does lunch break look like under the secondary blocked timetable model?

School cafeterias are not operating at this time. Secondary students can eat within their classrooms as a class cohort or other designated areas where they can physically distance. Students will also be encouraged to eat outdoors where possible.

Do remote learners also follow the blocked timetable?

Yes. All secondary students follow the blocked timetable whether they are learning in-person at school or remotely via the K-12 Virtual School. This is the only way to allow students to opt in or out if space and availability exists.

How can students catch up if they miss a day of blocked timetable learning?

Teachers always work with students to make up lost time whether that is due to illness or other circumstances that see them absent for school for an extended period of time. Schools also have Student Success teams that work with teachers and students to ensure students are supported. In extreme cases, options such as credit rescue and credit recovery, where a student works with a Student Success teacher to earn their credit.

Is health and physical education (gym) permitted?

Physical Education classes will take place outside, weather permitting. Gyms should only be used where physical distancing measures can be followed. All activities should support physical distancing while limiting use of shared equipment. Shared equipment should be cleaned regularly, and students should practice proper hand hygiene before and after participating in physical activity and equipment use.

What about expanded opportunities programs, such as co-operative education, specialist high school majors, apprenticeships, dual credits, and technological educational programs? Are these offered?

Co-operative Education:  In-person community placements can be arranged and co-op placements may be offered virtually, where feasible. Students will be provided with PPE for co-op placements as needed, and pre-placement must include a safety component related to COVID-19 precautions.

Technology/Foods classes: Technology shops should only be used where physical distancing measures can be followed. Activities should support physical distancing while limiting use of shared equipment . Shared equipment should be cleaned regularly, and students should practice proper hand hygiene before and after participating in equipment use. Students should have individual safety equipment where possible, and if shared, must be cleaned between use.

Can a student do in-person school and take a course through e-learning (not remote learning)?

Students can choose to take a supplementary e-learning course arranged through their school Guidance department the way it would traditionally be arranged. In this case, you would not “opt out” of in-person school.

What if a student begins in-person learning but becomes ill, or is required to self-isolate? Will they be provided remote learning?

No. The absence will be treated the same as any other absence due to illness. The teacher(s) would work with the student and parent/guardian to determine a catch-up plan.

If children are registered for French Immersion and decide to opt for remote learning, can they do so in English?

French Immersion programming is not provided at the K-12 Virtual School. Contact your child’s school if you have questions about this.

How are you addressing learning gaps that have worsened by the pandemic and extended school closures?

We know that the pandemic has affected our students in different ways. We are working together to assess the ongoing needs of all students. Several mental health and well-being resources are available online with links to community partners (click the tab “Mental health and well-being resources”)

How do I talk to my child’s teacher?

Wherever possible, families will communicate with their child’s teacher or school via telephone, email or a pre-scheduled virtual meeting.

What is the status of international students?

At this point, if international students are permitted to enter Canada, they will be subject to 14 days of quarantine along with COVID-19 testing. Federal and provincial regulations govern entry of international students into Canada.

What is the status of alternative education sites and adult education?

Alternative education sites and adult education are operating as normal and are following the required health and safety protocols.

Remote learning

Transportation

Are students still be bused to school?

The Ministry of Education provides guidance for busing. Our bus provider, Tri-Board Student Transportation Services, is working with Hastings Prince Edward Public Health to optimize the health and safety of student riders and bus drivers. Increased disinfecting protocols are in place for frequently touched surfaces (e.g., handrails, seatbacks) at least twice daily. Riders in Grades 4 to 12 are required to wear non-medical or cloth masks, as they are in school. Students in Kindergarten to Grade 3 are encouraged to wear masks on student transportation. Exceptions will be made for students with medical conditions or special needs that prevent masking. Bus drivers and other adults riding the bus are also required to wear masks. Students will be assigned seats and a record of the seating plan will be kept to assist with contact tracing in the case of a student or driver contracting COVID-19. Students who live in the same household or are in the same classroom cohort (group) will be seated together, as much as possible. Families always have the choice to use school bus transportation or active forms of travel (e.g. walking and cycling). Private transportation by parents/guardians and caregivers is encouraged where possible to ease pressure on the transportation demand.

How are buses cleaned?

Tri-Board Student Transportation Services will work with Hastings Prince Edward Public Health to ensure increased disinfecting protocols for frequently touched surfaces (e.g. handrails, seatbacks) to at least twice daily.

Busing doesn’t allow for the maintenance of cohorts (groups) of students. Why is this allowed?

Public health officials have indicated that with proper cleaning protocols and the use of universal masking (with noted exceptions), operating buses at regular capacity is safe. Buses will use assigned seating (and siblings will be seated together where possible) to assist with contact tracing. It should be noted that municipal, public transportation is allowed to currently operate at full capacity with masking.

How is seating handled on buses?

Tri-Board Student Transportation Services will assign seating plans to buses to assist with contact tracing. To assist with this process, if your child has opted for remote learning or they will not be taking the school bus, please advise Tri-Board by filling out its Opt Out of Transportation form.

Can students go on a friend’s bus?

No. Students will not be permitted on buses other than their own due to assigned seating and contact tracing protocols.

Will buses be cancelled if a driver test positive for COVID-19, or has to isolate due to COVID-19 symptoms?

Tri-Board Student Transportation Services has indicated there will likely be more bus delays and cancellations this year due to circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Families should have a backup plan to transport their child(ren) to school, and to arrange child care where required, if their bus is cancelled for any reason and they cannot transport their student to school. Families should ensure they are signed up to receive direct notifications, either by email, or Tri-Board’s app. Delays and cancellations are also posted to Tri-Board’s Twitter account.

How will my child get to school if their bus is cancelled due to a driver shortage?

Transportation to and from school is not guaranteed. Families should have a backup plan to transport their child(ren) to school, and to arrange child care where required, if their bus is cancelled for any reason and they cannot transport their student to school.

If buses are running in the morning, will they still run in the afternoon?

Not necessarily. It is possible that a bus would not be available for the afternoon runs if a driver must be pulled out of service due to COVID-19 screening. Families should have a backup plan to pick up their child(ren) from school if their bus is cancelled for the afternoon run.

How do students make up the day/continue to learn if they are unable to find an alternate route to school if their bus is cancelled?

Teachers will work with affected students and families to ensure students are kept engaged in learning if they are unable to attend in-person school due to bus cancellations. Families should contact their child’s teacher directly to determine a plan for making up missed school work.

Please be patient as we work through these unusual times, and as we receive new information and guidelines from the Ministry of Education and Hastings Prince Edward Public Health. Visit the HPEDSB COVID-19 page to find letters to families, information about school closures, resources and FAQs that were shared during the pandemic.

Return to School Plan for HPEDSB

The Return to School Plan for HPEDSB is available below. Please be aware that the plan is subject to change at any time based on guidance from the Ministry of Education, provincial and/or local public health officials.

Related: Read the Ministry of Education Operational guidance: COVID-19 management in schools

Reference information

Introduction

This plan is to provide students, families and staff the ways in which we are planning to reopen schools on September 3, 2020. The return to school is voluntary and based on parent choice as outlined by the Ministry of Education in the Approach to Reopening Schools for the 2020-21 School Year. As the Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board is considered a non-designated school board and the region is low-risk, we are looking forward to welcoming all students back full time.

This document is organized into some key areas as we prepare to welcome staff and students. The current delivery models are based on the latest direction from the Ministry of Education, provincial and local public health; however we recognize this direction may change in the coming weeks. We will continue to be flexible and plan for contingencies, as needed. As well, we recognize parent/guardian decisions are made for their families and that those decisions may change. Accordingly, we will be as flexible as possible in this regard.

Guiding principles

  • Prioritize health and safety of students and staff
  • Maximize student learning time
  • Support student and staff well-being
  • Ensure equity of access to learning, supports and technology

All plans and actions are based on the advice, guidance and directives of provincial and local public health officials.

Commitment to safe learning environments

Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board is committed to the ongoing health, safety, and well-being of staff. Schools have been closed since March 13, 2020 and we have developed this protocol to facilitate the protection of students, staff and employees, as we gradually transition back to school and work, against the hazards presented by COVID-19 in the workplace.

HPEDSB has a responsibility to ensure everyone involved in the process feels safe and that measures are in place to protect all involved. With these recommendations and proper precautions, our employees and students will be able to safely enter our facilities.

The proposed plan is flexible and evolving given this unprecedented time, and will require innovative decision making and adaptive processes, all of which will be guided by the Ministry of Education, provincial Chief Medical Officer of Health and Hastings Prince Edward Public Health.

Return to School Plan for HPEDSB, updated September 21, 2020

A-Z format

The information in this plan is organized in alphabetical format for ease of reference.

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Access to main office

Access to the main office will be limited. Where practical, a sheet of portable Plexi-glass or similar material or has been placed in areas where limited/scheduled public contact may take place such as at the front reception area of the main office. Tables may be used in certain locations as well to create distancing.

Bell times

At this time, bell times (to start and end the school day) will remain unchanged under the proposed elementary and secondary schedules.

Bus line up at school

Schools will communicate with students and families a plan for disembarking and embarking on regular bus routes.

Child care, before and after school programs

We continue to work with our ministry and community partners to establish protocols and processes for the reopening of these programs. More information will be provided in the coming week.

Classroom setup

Students will remain in the same consistent seat in the class as much as possible. This area becomes their personal bubble and will be 1 metre from the nearest student.

  • Where possible, the same students will remain with the same teacher with minimized rotation
  • Classroom design will vary from teacher to teacher but the same goal remains to keep everyone 1 metre apart
  • Physical barriers, such as unused desks, or visual markings, can be used to assist with the separation
  • All student belongings will be kept in their personal area; no no use of shared spaces, such as coat racks or cubbies
  • Desks and tables will not be removed from the classroom where possible; however the same desk/table should be used by the same student each day
  • Classroom educators will rearrange classrooms so that 1 metre can be maintained between students where possible
  • Students will not be permitted to share resources
  • The teacher will maintain a table of items to be cleaned and these will be wiped off the following morning when returning to class (using provided disinfectant wipes)
  • Teachers will not bring furniture or other items from their home into the classroom
  • Classrooms will be de-cluttered to facilitate effective and efficient cleaning
  • Desktops and counter surfaces must be kept clear to facilitate disinfection throughout the day and allow for nightly cleaning and disinfection by custodians

Cleaning

HPEDSB will continue to use asthma-safe, hospital-grade green based cleaning products where available. Cleaning involves the removal of dirt and disinfectants, destroy germs and prevent them from spreading.

  • Cleaning will take place in high touch areas throughout the school
  • Cleaning will take place at the end of each day with high touch surfaces disinfected throughout the day
  • Classroom garbage will be collected and disposed of daily as part of normal custodian duties
  • Classroom cleaning will focus on frequently touched surfaces, such as door handles and light switches
  • Cleaning and disinfecting routines will continue to be based on the advice from Hastings Prince Edward Public Health and direction from the Ministry of Education in consultation with the Ontario Medical Officer of Health

Cohorting

Cohorting refers to the practice of keeping students together in a small group throughout their school day, with limited exposure to multiple teachers or a wide variety of classmates. This approach limits the number of other students that a single student is in contact with and will also facilitate contact tracing should that be necessary.

Community use of schools

For the safety of students and staff, community use of schools is not permitted at this time. This is in place to limit non-essential visitors to schools.

  • School permits which use any part of the school after hours by school staff, will not be allowed for the month of September; this will be reevaluated at the end of September. Note that this may impact individual sports in September

Doors

Where possible, all but the main entry doors must remain locked. A balance must be struck between following fire code regulations to keep doors closed vs open doors to minimize the potential spread by contact from a potentially infected individual.

Eating and drinking at school

  • Staff and students will perform proper hand hygiene before and after eating
  • As Food for Learning programs may not be running at previous capacity, students should bring a packed lunch and snacks each day
  • Each student will be required to bring their own drink bottle that is labeled, kept with them during the day and not shared
  • Water bottles will be required to be filled rather than students and staff drinking directly from water fountains; fountains will be inaccessible, however fillable watering stations or sinks will be available
  • Schools will remove all self-serving food items (vending machines) and microwave use will not be permitted
  • Multi-use utensils will be cleaned after each use
  • Non-instructional activities that involve students preparing or serving food will not be permitted
  • Third party food services, including breakfast and nutrition programs, will be delivered in a way that any student who wishes to participate can do so. Grab and Go format is preferred
  • All surfaces, bins and containers for food will be disinfected prior to and after each use
  • During breaks and lunch, student will be directed to remain in areas allocated to their cohort
  • If students are leaving the building where permitted in Grades 7-12, they will be directed to remain with their social circle of trusted people, must remain masked when not eating, must physically distance and wash their hands before/after lunch
  • Outside food from restaurants or chains may not be delivered into schools since visitors are not permitted in the school

ELEMENTARY: Students will eat their lunch in their classroom with their cohort to decrease the contact. Students will be asked to wash their hands before eating. No food sharing is permitted.

SECONDARY: Students will be allowed to eat their lunch in designated places with their cohort to decrease the contact or may exit the school to eat outside or to go elsewhere for lunch.  Students will be asked to wash their hands before eating. No food sharing is permitted.

Elementary school model and timetable

  • Elementary school students in JK-Grade 8 attend school five days a week, with 300 minutes of instruction per day, remaining in one cohort for the full day, including recess and lunches
  • Schools will provide the full range of curriculum
  • Student achievement will be assessed regularly and evaluated accordingly
  • Students will be able to leave their classrooms to receive additional supports: direct and indirect contact for students should be limited to approximately 50

Sample elementary timetable, in-school instruction model

This is a sample schedule that may look different for individual classrooms/schools based on the uniqueness of schools/classrooms.

Sample timetable

table of elementary remote learning

Learning management system and platforms

Elementary students will be part of a Google classroom or use the Brightspace Learning Management System for remote learning.

Elementary teachers will provide information for students and families at the start of the school year on how to access learning and the use of the chosen platform (more information to come).

EQAO

Students in Grades 3 and 6 will not participate in EQAO assessments in the 2020-2021 school year.

Emergency and security drills (shelter in place, hold and secure, lockdown)

Practice emergency measure drills (shelter in place, hold and secure, lockdown) will not take place during COVID-19. Instead, a modified practice will take place to review what has to happen in the event of a real emergency. The modified practice drill must adhere to physical distance requirements.

Fire drills

Practice drills will continue. Classes may move throughout the building while maintaining 2 metres between students in the classroom, hallway and at all exits. Principals will review with staff and students where to go in case there is a real emergency and the school needs to be evacuated. Locations on the school playground or field will be identified that would allow for a 1 metre distance between students to be maintained.

Handwashing and sanitizing

Public health-approved hand sanitizer will be provided in predetermined locations in each school. Disinfectant wipes may be provided for specific circumstances. Sanitizer will be provided for classrooms without running water; in those classrooms with running water soap and paper towel will be provided.

Isolation room/area

Each school will designate an isolation room/area. This room/area will be used for temporary placement of any student that becomes ill during the day.

  • An isolation kit containing staff/student PPE for illnesses, will be provided to each school containing items such as: nitrile, vinyl, or synthetic gloves; face mask for staff member; face shield or safety goggles; box of tissues; hand sanitizer; disposable gowns/lab coat; approved disinfectant.

Kindergarten classrooms

While 1 metre distancing may not be as practical for 4- and 5-year-olds, the rule of no physical touching will be taught and reinforced.

  • Activities will be designed for small groups, and furniture and playing areas will be used to help maintain physical separation
  • Plush toys will be temporarily stored during the pandemic
  • Use of toys and manipulatives will be reduced, where possible, while still providing for students a wide variety of play-based learning
  • Additional guidelines based on the success of childcare operations will be reviewed for Kindergarten classes
  • Parents/guardians who register their child for Kindergarten may choose to register their child for partial days or partial hours that best meet their personal circumstances

Learning Commons

The Learning Commons may still be open to students; however, a procedure will be put in place at each school for the handling and return of books.

  • For an added precaution, it is recommended that all books that are returned are placed in an area for 72 hours before being returned to display areas
  • Students may access the Learning Commons to borrow books
  • Schedules must be created that will allow for social distancing by all students in the Learning Commons at the same time

Mask wearing

Students in Grades 4 to 12 will be required to wear non-medical or cloth masks indoors in school, including in hallways, during classes and on buses.

  • Students in Grade 3 of a Grade 3/4 class will be expected to wear a mask at school
  • Outdoor times, such as recess, can be used as opportunities to provide students with breaks from wearing masks within their cohorts
  • Students in Kindergarten to Grade 3 will be encouraged but not required to wear masks in indoor spaces and on buses

Materials and resources

  • Schools will minimize the sharing of items
  • Shared items will be cleaned between uses
  • Students are encouraged to limit the number of personal items that they bring to school to essential items
  • Students should bring snacks/lunch, a labelled water bottle and appropriate clothing for all weather
  • Classroom learning materials will be provided by the school

Mental health and well-being for students and staff

Our primary focus is on the mental health, well-being and human rights of all members of the HPEDSB school community. Considerations for the well-being of all stakeholders are a lens for planning, implementing, communicating and supporting in face-to-face, blended and virtual/remote learning. We recognize that students and staff will be approaching the transition back to school from a diverse range of perspectives, needs and experiences.

In order to support a mentally healthy return to school, educators will have opportunities to focus on mental health literacy where they will learn about mental health and to teach in ways that encourage belonging and support student mental health. Educators will also be given resources that support the implementation of everyday strategies to foster strong positive and inclusive classroom practises that in turn lead to a mentally healthy classroom.

A helpful framework to consider when planning for a mentally healthy return to school is to “Think in Tiers”. Using a tiered approach to achieve a mentally healthy return to school ensures planning occurs for students, families and staff across a continuum of needs.

  • Tier 1 Good for ALL: Universal supports will be available for all students and staff as there will be need to debrief, to build relationships, to feel a sense of belonging, and to re-engage with school life. General school guidelines to support transitions back to school for all will be developed for all students.
  • Tier 2 Good for SOME: Additional supports for students more impacted by COVID-19. Some students, families and staff will need an extra chance to settle in and to re-establish school relationships and routines. These students and staff may need access to additional mental health support through the Student Services team (psychological services, social work) and EFAP, respectively.
  • Tier 3 Good for FEW: Specialized supports for students with significant needs and who have been the most vulnerable or affected by COVID-19. Services pathways will need to be available for those requiring more intensive mental health support during the transition back to school.
    • For more information on the pathways available for students, consultation can occur with social workers or the mental health lead
    • For more information on the pathways available for staff, contact with Human Resources and/or the EAP provider will be required.

On-site sanitation and hygiene

Proper handwashing is key. Proper hand washing techniques must be followed. When hand washing is not possible, use hand sanitizer frequently.

  • Avoid sharing tools, writing utensils and equipment of all types. If they must be shared, ensure they are wiped clean and disinfected prior to use
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Cover any cough or sneeze with a tissue or into your arm, not into your hands

Outdoor space for recess

Recess may be staggered based on the size of the outdoor space and the availability of supervisors.

  • Where possible, areas will be designated outdoors for each class to minimize contact with other students from outside the instructional cohort
  • Principals will develop a schedule and routine that allows for students to maintain appropriate physical distancing while still having an opportunity for fresh air and physical activity (e.g. consideration is to build recess into the instructional period and have each teacher scheduled to take their class outdoors at specific times)

Parent/guardian drop off and pick up

Parent/guardian presence on the school yard will be limited at this time. Schools will advise families of a designated area and protocol for drop off and pick up. Social and physical distancing are required.

Personal belongings and lockers

  • Student personal belongings brought to school will go home at the end of the day; students will not be assigned lockers at this time
  • The assignment of lockers will be reassessed at the end of October
  • Students may not share items or bring items that are non-essential (e.g. play/sport equipment)
  • Students will bring to school essential daily items only (e.g. backpack, clothing, sun protection, water bottles, food)
  • For parents needing to drop off essential items, schools will communicate a drop off location and process; parents are not to enter the building

Physical distancing

  • Everyone will be directed to stay only within the area(s) of the school they need to access and refrain from lingering or touching unnecessary surfaces
  • Where possible, use of stairs will be encouraged, limited to one person at a time
  • Where required, elevator usage will be limited to one person, if possible
  • If a student displays COVID-19 symptoms during the school day, they will be separated from the classroom and placed in a designated isolation room, awaiting prompt pick-up
  • Prevent the spread by following preventative measures outside of school (e.g. physical distancing, hand hygiene, respiratory hygiene)

Physical distancing breaches

It is acknowledged that maintaining social distancing at all times will be challenging. Adults and students will sometimes forget this important safety measure or will unintentionally enter someone else’s bubble.

  • It is important to recognize that the goal is best efforts, not perfection
  • We encourage friendly reminders when someone fails to keep the required distance apart, however schools will impose disciplinary measures as per normal protocols on students refusing to comply

Physical Education, Science, Arts, and Technology classrooms

These courses may continue with the educator putting in place curriculum modifications to ensure that physical distancing is maintained.

  • Equipment sharing will typically not be permitted
  • When equipment is needed for different classes, the equipment must be sanitized before use
  • Grade-level physical education activities that can be introduced while maintaining 1 metre distancing are available in the PHE Canada Return to School Physical Education and Health Guidelines (Pdf)

Playgrounds

Schools may choose to use pylons or other unique markings to assist students in maintaining 1 metre distance from one another in the yard. If approval is provided for play structures to be used, it will only be used by one cohort at a time.

Program nights, welcome and orientation student/parent events

Schools will plan and communicate welcome and information opportunities, given the restrictions for large group events.

Reporting illness

The following practices must be considered in order to ensure the health and safety of students and staff in HPEDSB facilities.

 

Actions for Students with COVID-19 Symptoms
At home At school or on bus (upon arrival)

Parents/guardians of students with COVID-19 symptoms (updated October 1, 2020) should:

Parents/guardians of students with COVID-19 symptoms (updated October 1, 2020) will be contacted for immediate pick-up. Students will wait in an isolation room, which is an enclosed space separate from other people equipped with hand sanitizer, tissues and a lined garbage bin. It will be cleaned and disinfected after use.

If a student is waiting for test results, household members (family and roommates who live with the ill person) should monitor for symptoms and be tested if symptoms develop. They are not required to isolate at this time. updated September 18, 2020

School council and council elections

  • Given the restrictions in meeting in person, schools will continue to engage school councils through online meetings (e.g. Google Meet, Microsoft Teams)
  • The election of members of school councils shall be held in the first 30 days of the school year
  • Principals will communicate to parents/guardians the process for election

School entry and exit

  • Everyone must enter and exit through designated doors
  • Principals will work with custodians to arrange for sanitizer and sign in/out sheets
  • Schools, the Education Centre and the W.R. Kirk building will be closed to visitors, including parents and guardians; they may enter the building only by an appointment approved by the principal (for schools) or person they are visiting (for the Education Centre/W.R. Kirk building)
  • Everyone must clean their hands with hand sanitizer upon entering the building and fill
    out the sign in sheet
  • Schools will provide further guidance on student entry/exit in their welcome messaging
    (e.g. designated entrance for your child)
  • Sanitizer will be provided at the main entrance and entrances to common spaces (library, gym, cafeteria, etc.)
  • To the extent possible, meetings with school staff and others should occur over the phone or online
  • Screening will be required and masks must be worn for face-to-face meetings (by appointment)

School hallways and stairways

Depending on school design, the option of designating traffic flow one way, or allowing for spacing will be considered as a separation technique using applicable signage.

School signage and markings

Wherever lines may be expected to occur throughout the school, (red) tape or floor/wall markings will be placed to assist students in keeping 2 metres apart.

This affects areas such as:

  • entrances to classrooms
  • school entrances and exits
  • large spaces (Learning Commons, main office, principal or vice-principal offices, elevators, resource rooms)
  • Where practical, separation markers will be placed to signal one-way direction within the school
  • Where possible, this will assist in maintaining 1 metre distances for everyone in the school

Secondary school model and timetable

From the Ministry Guide to Re-opening Schools:

A school board should provide no less than a 5-hour instructional day through
in-person or synchronous remote learning. Students should be supported in transitioning to their next grade or course, acknowledging prolonged absence from the classroom.

Academic support should include assessments to identify key strengths and gaps in learning at key instructional times throughout the course to ensure students have not missed key concepts from last year. Adaptations may be needed for some subjects/courses to ensure safety protocols are in place.

5-week octomesters

  • Allows for face-to-face instruction for all four periods
  • Students will study 4 courses from September to January, as usual
  • Students, both at home and at school, will be engaged in a blended learning model
  • This approach most closely resembles a typical school day with students in school all day for 300 minutes of instruction, as usual
  • This approach minimizes transitions and cohorts
2020-2021 Octomesters 
Block A
Sept 3-Oct 6
Exam day: Oct 7
Block B
Oct 8-Nov 10
Exam day: Nov 11
Block C
Nov 12-Dec 9
Exam day: Dec 10
Block D
Dec 11-Jan 25
Exam day: Jan 27
Period 1 Period 2 Period 3 Period 4
Break
Period 1 Period 2 Period 3 Period 4
Lunch
Period 1
Period 2 Period 3 Period 4
Break
Period 1
Period 2 Period 3 Period 4
Dismissal
Other significant dates

  • January 28, 2021: Exam inclement weather day
  • January 29, 2021: PA Day and first day of the new semester/octomester (format TBD)

Specific course information

  • Music: curriculum expectations will be met without the use of instruments
  • Instrumental Music: strings, percussion can be used, instruments that require “blowing” are higher risk and will not be used at this time
  • Vocal Music: will be modified as cannot occur even with masks
  • Foods Programs: students will not be allowed to prepare and serve food in non-instructional circumstances
  • Guitar: students should have their own instrument and music and maintain physical distancing.
  • Health and Phys Ed and Weight Room:
    • classes will be outside whenever possible
    • gyms should only be used where physical distancing measures can be followed
    • activities will support physical distancing while limiting use of shared equipment
    • shared equipment will be disinfected regularly, and students should practice proper hand hygiene before and after participating in physical activity and equipment use
  • Change rooms: access and capacity will be limited
  • Science:
    • labs/experiments will only be completed when physical distancing can be maintained, and equipment does not need to be shared by students
    • shared equipment will be disinfected regularly and students should practice proper hand hygiene before and after participating in physical activity and equipment use.
  • Co-op:
    • person community placements may be arranged, and co-op placements may also be offered virtually, where feasible.
    • students will be provided with masks/PPE for co-op placements as needed, and pre-placement must include a safety component related to COVID-19
  • Technology classes:
    • technology shops will only be used where physical distancing measures can be followed
    • activities will support physical distancing while limiting use of shared equipment
    • shared equipment will be disinfected regularly, and students will practice proper hand hygiene before and after participating in equipment use
  • Field trips: No field trips will be planned until further notice.
  • Assemblies/grade meetings: At this time, school assemblies and large gatherings will not be permitted

EQAO: The Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT) and Grade 9 Assessment of Mathematics

  • The OSSLT, a requirement for graduation, is scheduled for Thursday, April 8, 2021
  • Students graduating before February 2021 who have not yet met the literacy graduation requirement, should be enrolled in the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Course (OSSLC) or an adjudication process. Contact your secondary school for more information
  • Students in Grade 9 Applied or Academic Math courses will participate in the Assessment of Mathematics in January or June, depending on their course schedule

Volunteer hours requirement for graduation

Graduating students will need to meet the 40-hour community involvement graduation requirement and can do so virtually. Please speak with your school counselor or administrator for further information.

Self-assessments

A self-assessment must be completed by everyone prior to accessing any HPEDSB facility at any time.

Parents/guardians must assess their child daily for symptoms of common cold, influenza, COVID19 or other infectious respiratory disease before sending them to school.

No employee/student is permitted to enter a school/building if they have:

  • Travelled outside of Canada within the last 14 days
  • Cared for or had known contact with an individual with confirmed COVID-19, or has any of the following signs or symptoms of COVID-19 within the last 14 days:
    • Fever or chills
    • New or worsening cough
    • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
    • Loss of sense of smell/taste
    • Other symptoms of an acute respiratory infection (e.g. fatigue, headache, sore throat, runny nose)
    • Stomach pain
    • Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea

Refer to the online COVID-19 screening tool from the Ministry of Health. When assessing symptoms, focus on evaluating if they are new, worsening, or different from your baseline health status or usual state. An information page is available on the Hastings Prince Edward Public Health website, and includes this self-assessment tool to help protect yourself, your family and your school community.

Special Education

Specialized class types that meet the needs of students with specific learning profiles have:

  • clearly defined outcomes of student success. Special Education Self – Contained Classes
    (Designated Class placements operated by the school district, such as: Resource/Regional (LSP/CIP); Education and Community Partnership Program (ECPP) (previously named Care and/or Treatment, Custody and Corrections Facilities – CCTC or “Section 23”) will continue to operate each day
  • daily timetabling (five days per week) will be offered to students accessing programs with foundations in modified curriculum and/or alternative curriculum, within special education classes
  • program type specific documents, that will remain fluid and co-constructed with program include, but are not limited to, care of specialized SEA equipment, food purchase and life skills programming and supports for student self-care
  • families of students accessing programming through one of the HPEDSB specialized class types will receive information regarding how programming is being adapted for current health and safety protocols

Special Education self-contained classes (Designated Class placements operated by the school district, such as: Resource/Regional (LSP/CIP); Education and Community Partnership Program (ECPP) (previously named Care and/or Treatment, Custody and Corrections Facilities – CCTC or “Section 23”) will continue to take place each day. Physical distancing might not be possible for some students, in these cases, staff will be provided with appropriate PPE.

Special Equipment Amount (SEA) and safety plans

In working with students with challenging behaviors, there is a necessity to consider Ontario Human Rights Code-related needs and accommodations and maintain key safety plan guidelines as they are structured to ensure both staff and student safety. Practices will be supplemented by use of PPEs, as directed by health and safety according to the level of student need for proximity (e.g., face shields, masks, gloves, standard PPE), etc.

  • Planning at the school level, will focus on tiers of response and staff responsibilities
  • Employees regularly assigned (e.g. permanent and long-term occasional teachers) to the school should be engaged in the Safety Plan Program Implementation/Support to students presenting with risk of injury behaviours and supply staff assigned to other students
  • Provision of face shields will be made for staff who support students in the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community, as well as those students who receive speech and language support

Alternative learning environments

Many students access alternative learning environments, such as sensory and calming rooms. Ongoing communication between educators and Facility Services will be essential in the access and cleaning of these spaces.

  • When these designated spaces are within a special education class setting, they are considered part of the program space and can be accessed by any student within the cohort with class-based cleaning protocols implemented (e.g, student specific materials brought in/out with individual students)
  • When these designated spaces are accessed from a hallway, deeper cleaning between student/staff access is required as students/staff will be from a variety of cohorts within the school
  • Factors and possible strategies to consider for calming rooms with multiple students accessing the same space:
    • Schedule times within a cohort of students
    • Each student could have an individual bin of items for sole use
    • Cleaning protocol of surfaces between students’ use of sensory equipment as many of these items go into a child’s mouth
    • Students will need sole access to the preferred items
    • Items should be disinfected. Educational assistants and educators should clean sensory tools as per existing procedure/protocol

Sports: Intramurals and interscholastic activities

Individual sports may continue with proper hygiene and physical distance in place. Team sports continue to be on hold until public health indicates it is safe for team sports to resume.

Staggered entry

In order to support a best start to the school year, the first day of school is staggered for all students, including those with special needs, as indicated below:

Thursday, September 3, 2020

  • First day of school for all JK*-Grade 4 students who have indicated they will return to school in person
    •  These students will only attend school this day; their second day of school will be
      Tuesday, September 8
    • For students in a 4/5 split class: the Grade 4 students attend on September 3 and the
      Grade 5 students attend on September 4
  • First day of school for all Grade 9 students who have indicated they will return to school in person

Friday, September 4, 2020

  • First day of school for all Grade 5-8 students who have indicated they will return to school in person
    • Their second day of school will be Tuesday, September 8, 2020
  • First day of school for Grade 10 students who have indicated they will return to school in person
  • Second day of school for Grade 9 students

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

  • First day of school for all Grade 11-12 students who have indicated they will return to school in person
  • Full return to school for all students

Monday, September 14, 2020

  • First day of school for all students attending the K-12 Virtual School

*Some elementary schools are taking a differentiated approach that may vary from the above staggered entry for Kindergarten students and they are making individual calls to families.

Student late attendance and appointments

  • If a student must leave school before dismissal, the parent is to contact the school to register the appointment
  • For late arrivals, parents should notify the school
  • Parents will not be able to enter the school; staff will greet late students/bring students to a “safe zone” or other identified area outside the school for any appointment

Student Services team in schools, clinical supports and community partnerships

  • Student Services (SS) team members greatly value how our services are embedded within the overall support to students, staff and families
  • Central professional staff who come to schools to support students will be adjusting their schedules to spend time in blocks at schools, to reduce the number of exposures and transitions to and from different schools
  • To ensure adherence to health protocols and clinical professional standards, adaptations to our service model are being made to ensure safety for all with partners including: Quinte Children’s Treatment Centre, community partners in Nursing, Mental Health and Addictions Nurses, Public Health Nurses, Youthab Addictions Worker, KGH Heads Up Early Psychosis Nurse, CMHS Intensive Services Workers and many others
  • These protocols will be communicated directly to impacted schools and the families of children receiving these services

Psychological services and mental health teams

(includes psychological services, speech and language, social work, audiology)
Priorities will be general considerations for all students, and transition support for students with specific developmental and mental health needs.

  • Consideration will be given to students who can be supported through virtual services rather than in-person
  • With respect to the health and safety there will be a need to consider such precautions when Student Services (SS) staff are on site:
    • SS staff are included in the count of staff/student on site
    • SS staff are organized in terms of schedule of visits and access to school spaces
    • Clinical spaces will be set up according to guidelines set out by health and safety, along with Facility Services
    • These spaces are designated for prioritization of clinical purposes for 1) SS team members; and school based rehabilitative services. Team members will be responsible for the coordination of access. School level responsibility is to ensure that spaces are not repurposed.
    • Clinicians will be following protocols, such as those developed for assessment materials, to support the health of students and team members

Note: special considerations will need to be given for travel between schools and minimizing exposure and contact.

Supporting students with special needs

The Student Services team is working to review all aspects of COVID-19 that may impact the safety of staff and students. Our aim is to develop system and school-based processes that identify and plan for the students with identified special education needs in consideration of school loading restrictions. We will prioritize where possible the face-to-face school attendance of students with identified special education needs and ensure effective instructional programs are available to all students whether learning face-to-face, or through a remote model.

Student Services teams will work with administrators and Facilities Services to identify locations where confidential mental health and/or assessment supports can be provided to students (e.g. for use by clinical services/professional services staff). A plexiglass barrier or use of a face shield and mask may be required if physical distancing is not possible. Touch point cleaning and disinfection within this space will need to occur in between uses.

Regular class placements

The regular class is considered the most inclusive of placements.

  • The majority of students with special education needs, access programming in a regular class program
  • Individualized programming accommodations that meet the student’s needs and maximize dignity, integration and full participation will be supported within the three scenarios for school programming.

Technology

Classroom technology plays an important role in students’ day-to-day learning. Our goal is to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission while allowing students to share technology when appropriate.
The following are some best practices for schools:

  • Students are encouraged to bring their own devices
  • Students will be directed to wash their hands before and after using shared technology, including interactive whiteboards or SMARTboards
  • Where possible, schools will dedicate a small set of devices for each classroom and avoid moving devices between classrooms
  • Within a classroom, a particular shared device may be dedicated or assigned to a small group of students. For example, a Chromebook can be assigned to three or four students and they always use the same Chromebook
  • Where possible, students will use the same device while they are at school
  • Self-cleaning wipes will be available for technology in the school main office; staff will use it to perform extra cleaning, as necessary

Transportation

The Ministry is encouraging active transportation (see points below) and for parents/guardians to drive their child to school.

Students in Grades 4-8 are required to wear masks on school buses. Students in JK-3 are encouraged to wear a mask on the bus.

  • Assigned seating will be in place
  • To ease pressure on transportation demands, active forms of travel, for example, walking and riding bikes are encouraged
  • Private transportation provided by parents and care-givers is also encouraged
  • Schools will communicate school-based plans to manage traffic flow of pick-up and drop-off safety

Transportation inquiries are to be made through https://triboard.ca

Ventilation

Cleaning and disinfecting will take place away from students wherever possible. Where possible, bringing fresh outdoor air into the school will be encouraged.

Volunteer programs

Volunteer programs in all schools are suspended at this time and will be reviewed at a future date.

We will continue to do our best to communicate and inform of any changes.

For more information, please contact:
Kerry Donnell, Communications Manager, 613.966.1170 or 1.800.267.4350, extension 62354, [email protected]

HPEDSB is in full compliance with masking requirements and public health directives

September 3, 2020—Today marks the first day of school for thousands of students in the Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board. This day is even more important with the recognition that school buildings have been closed since March 13, 2020. We are excited, prepared and confident that every one of our 40 schools and classrooms are ready to welcome students and staff, safely.

The HPEDSB is in the regrettable position of having to respond to the recent media statement by the local Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation District 29 president. In that public statement, HPEDSB is accused of being in non-compliance with Ministry of Education directives, creating a “negligent policy” that, in fact, doesn’t exist, and not putting in place the “necessary protections” for all students and staff. These claims are baseless and without factual merit.

Over the past several months, school board administration has worked collaboratively with Hastings Prince Edward Public Health, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Labour to prepare for a safe re-entry to all schools, in accordance with many requirements and guidelines.

The Board considers its responsibility to its students, staff and their families its highest priority. The care and attention to detail to meet all necessary requirements to ensure safe and healthy learning and working environments has been unprecedented this year in anticipation of this first day of school for students.

Yesterday, September 2, 2020, the Ministry of Labour was part of an investigative conversation with school board officials and the complainant OSSTF District 29 leadership. Ministry of Labour officials determined that HPEDSB is in full compliance with public health and Ministry of Education directives, and that the complaint did not require further investigation.

The HPEDSB regrets the confusion and added anxiety that the OSSTF District 29 leadership unnecessarily created for families and students, as well as its own members, with its misleading and factually inaccurate statements. The HPEDSB will continue to focus on students, their families and staff, through a smooth, calm and measured reentry to schools. The priority of ensuring a “kids first” approach remains the key focus.

For more information, please contact:

  • Parent/guardian questions: Please contact your child’s school 
  • Media: Kerry Donnell, Communications Manager, 613.966.1170 or 1.800.267.4350, extension 62354, [email protected]

Letter to parents from Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education

August 27, 2020—The Minister of Education, Stephen Lecce, released a letter to parents (Pdf) about return to school plans for September 2020.

Read the Ministry of Education Operational guidance: COVID-19 management in schools. This reference web page includes the following sections:

  1. Introduction
  2. Management of COVID-19 in schools
  3. Management of ill individuals during school hours
  4. Management of individuals exposed to COVID-19 outside of the school
  5. Management of a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 in the school community
  6. Special education
  7. Return to school
  8. Records management
  9. Resources and templates

HPEDSB launches new K-12 Virtual School

Updated August 25, 2020

August 24, 2020—Today the Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board announced the opening of the new K-12 Virtual School.

This new virtual school for online learning is in direct response to the results from the recent questionnaire asking parents/guardians to indicate whether their children would attend school in person or remotely for the 2020-2021 school year starting in September.

Of the 15,000 students at HPEDSB, data was received for approximately 10,000, representing about 66% of the student population. Of those, the data indicated that 84% of children would return to school in person and 16% would stay at home for remote learning. Given those numbers, HPEDSB must provide virtual learning for that 16%.

“Staff have been working non-stop for the past week to create this virtual school. We have never done anything like this before, let alone have it ready within a week. I am so proud of the team who took this from an idea to what will be a fully-functional K-12 virtual school. Families who choose for their children to learn in this virtual environment can be assured of effective learning using the same content and expectations in The Ontario Curriculum as regular in person learning. Families who choose to send their children to school in person can equally be assured that we are doing all we can to provide safe learning environments,” said Sean Monteith, Director of Education.

K-12 Virtual School will be staffed with a principal, two vice-principals and teachers. We are pleased to announce that Louise Gunning will be the principal, and the vice-principals will be Kerri Denyes and Brent Jewell. Gunning was formerly the principal at Madoc Township Public School; Denyes and Jewell were curriculum coordinators at the Education Centre. Educators will be hired in the coming days.

Starting today, schools will begin making direct contact with families which indicated an interest in virtual learning.

K-12 Virtual School learning environment

  • The first day of school will be Monday, September 14, 2020 (note this is different from in person school)
  • The school day will be from 9:00 AM – 3:20 PM, with breaks and a lunch period
  • Students will be grouped from many different schools to form classes
  • Daily classes will consist of a combination of scheduled synchronous* and asynchronous* instruction that is delivered by a teacher in an online classroom
  • Students will be expected to participate in daily virtual meetings with their peers, as well as to complete assigned independent tasks
  • Students will require technology, such as a Chromebook or laptop with Internet access. Schools will work collaboratively with parents/guardians to look at technology options, if needed
  • Students with special education needs will be provided with accommodations, modified expectations and alternative programming as outlined in their Individual Education Plans
  • Meetings with parents/guardians will be conducted through electronic tools, such as Google Meet or telephone
  • Students may transfer back to their home school for in person learning only on specific transfer dates which will be announced at a later date

Families who wish to register their children for K-12 Virtual School, should contact their child’s current school (Pdf) by telephone.

*Synchronous learning: Learning that happens in real time, online. Synchronous online learning involves using text, video, or voice communication in a way that enables educators to instruct and connect with students in real time. Synchronous learning is interactive and engaging. It helps teachers provide immediate feedback to students and enables students to interact with one another.

*Asynchronous learning: Learning that is not delivered in real time. Asynchronous learning may involve students watching pre-recorded video lessons, completing assigned tasks, or contributing to online discussion boards.

­­

For more information, please contact:

  • Parent/guardian/student questions about K-12 Virtual School: [email protected]  
  • Media: Kerry Donnell, Communications Manager, 613.966.1170 or 1.800.267.4350, extension 62354, [email protected]

Letter to families about the return to school

August 14, 2020 (updated August 17, 2020)

Pdf version

To All Students, Families and Staff:

Like all of you, I share your concerns and hopes for the safest, measured and student-centered reentry into our schools in September 2020. I acknowledge right from the outset that the level of concern and uncertainty that remains in our community, and for our children and families as we prepare our schools for start-up has created challenges not before faced.

Today, we are as an organization are sharing our planning as best we can provide at this moment for elementary schools, secondary schools, special education, children’s mental health supports and public health protocols. I reiterate at this moment, and with the most recent provincial government direction, we continue to plan and ready the entire HPEDSB for school start-up for all students and staff, now two weeks away. It is also very important to share with families, that direction from the Ministry of Education and guidance from public health may change at any time, causing us to reorganize our plans, as well.

To assist in school re-entry and to support consistency in messaging for all schools in our communities—and in conjunction with the Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School Board and the Limestone District School Board—students will return to school on a staggered entry. By adopting a staggered entry, we will be able to identify potential classroom and school challenges we may not have considered nor planned for. It also allows for a gentle and measured return to school, with an emphasis on supporting our youngest learners and Grade 9 students who might already have a heightened level of anxiety after being out of school for approximately the last five months.

STAGGERED ENTRY TO THE START OF SCHOOL

Thursday, September 3, 2020

  • First day of school for all JK-Grade 4 students who have indicated they will return to school in person
    • These students will only attend school this day; their second day of school will be Tuesday, September 8
    • For students in a 4/5 split class: the Grade 4 students attend on September 3 and the Grade 5 students attend on September 4
  • First day of school for all Grade 9 students who have indicated they will return to school in person
    • They will attend classes through a quadmester timetable

Friday, September 4, 2020

  • First day of school for all Grade 5-8 students who have indicated they will return to school in person
    • Their second day of school will be Tuesday, September 8, 2020
  • First day of school for Grade 10 students who have indicated they will return to school in person
    • They will attend classes through a quadmester timetable
  • Second day of school for Grade 9 students

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

  • First day of school for all Grade 11-12 students who have indicated they will return to school in person
    • They will attend classes through a quadmester timetable
  • Full return to school for all students

Please take the time to review the Return to School Plan and the relevant parts that apply to your family. As well, continue to monitor HPEschools.ca, @HPEschools social media, as well as school social media for updates.

We will continue to do our absolute best to communicate and inform you of changes that impact you.

Take care and stay positive.

Sincerely,

Sean Monteith
Director of Education

Questionnaire about returning to school is now live

Updated August 10, 2020–The Return to School questionnaire is now live at http://bit.ly/ReturntoSchoolQuestionnaire. It is open until Monday, August 17, 2020 at 4:00 PM.

Watch the video from Sean Monteith, Director of Education.

The Return to School Plan is now available.

August 7, 2020—At Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board, staff have been actively planning for the new school year. Now that the Ministry of Education has released specific details, it is important to capture parent/guardian input as we adjust plans to align with the ministry direction.

On Monday, August 10, 2020, a questionnaire will be available for parents/guardians about the return to school. We encourage all parents/guardians of students in HPEDSB to take some time to complete it. The answers you provide will assist us in finalizing plans.

HPEDSB staff remain highly committed, energized and enthusiastic about students returning to school. The decision to send children to school remains the choice of  parents/guardians. HPEDSB always respects and honours that parent/guardian choice.

For more information, please contact:
Kerry Donnell, Communications Manager, 613.966.1170 or 1.800.267.4350, extension 62354, [email protected]

Board Meeting Update #181: August 13, 2020

August 13, 2020—This update provides a summary of the public special meeting of the Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board held Thursday, August 13, 2020 through a livestream event (the recorded version will be available within 24 hours). It is an unofficial summary of the meeting; official minutes will be approved at the next meeting in September 2020.

Lucille Kyle, Chair of the Board opened the meeting acknowledging the First Peoples of the territory: This afternoon we acknowledge that the land on which we are gathered is on the Traditional and Treaty areas of the Mohawk, Haudenosaunee and Anishnabek peoples. We conduct our business, recognizing we are all Treaty people and give respect to this territory and all its young people.

Recommendation

2020-2021 Budget final approval

Board members approved the 2020-2021 operating and capital expense budgets in the amounts of $210,669,029 and $27,400,536 respectively.

Recently, HPEDSB successfully completed a Multi- Year Financial Recovery Plan (2016-2017 to 2018-2019) which rebuilt the accumulated surplus (financial reserves). The 2020-2021 budget was developed based upon projected enrolment, funding, and expenses. The budget is generally a status-quo budget that is balanced and reflects the improved financial situation of HPEDSB as a result of the Multi-Year Financial Recovery Plan. The budget includes planned salary increases, as well as some new initiatives based on department requests and needs. The budget that is proposed contains a small in-year surplus for compliance purposes of $71,960, which is compliant with Ministry of Education direction and the Education Act.

The budget was built around the following assumptions:

  • long-term enrolment projections supplemented by detailed school projections;
  • funding calculated by the Ministry’s Electronic Financial Information System (EFIS) forms;
  • GSN and PPF funding as announced by the Ministry of Education on June 19, 2020;
  • recent central and local labour agreements which include salary increases and specific funding allocations;
  • number of central and department staff remain similar to 2019-2020;
  • department and school budgets remain generally the same as 2019-2020;
  • employee absences, vacation use, and teacher unpaid days remain at the same rate as 2018-2019;
  • some new initiatives and cost adjustments that support student achievement, improve board operation, or reflect cost increases; and
  • there is no explicit provision for a contingency amount.

CONTACT
Kerry Donnell, Communications & Public Relations Manager, extension 62354, [email protected]

Province announces return to school plans for September 2020

Last updated August 4, 2020

July 30, 2020—Today the Ministry of Education announced plans for return to school in September. Highlights are shown below starting at Highlights from the Ministry of Education Reopening Plan.

The priority of Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board is the safety and well-being of students, families and staff, particularly as we prepare for the return to school in September. We know that the first day of school will be filled with a combination of excitement and anxiety due to COVID-19 combined with the length of time students have been away from school. The first day school for all students is Thursday, September 3, 2020.

“We appreciate the direction from the Ministry of Education about reopening schools in September. Now that we have this information, we can finalize plans for all HPEDSB schools. We know that that students, parents/guardians and staff may be feeling anxious during these uncertain times. We are doing our best to be nimble in order to adjust to this dynamic situation and commit to providing updates as timely as possible,” said Sean Monteith, Director of Education.

The safety and well-being of students and staff are the foundation of our school re-opening planning and decision making. Return to school plans are based on advice, guidance and directives of the Ministry of Education and the provincial health officials, and are in consultation with local public health officials. Staff are working closely with public health, our neighbouring school boards, Tri-Board Student Transportation Services, community partners and staff.

Staff will be focusing on everyday strategies to support educators and students for a mentally healthy return to school, encourage inclusivity, build trust and create the optimal conditions for learning and development.

The decision to send children to school remains the choice of parents/guardians. HPEDSB always respects and honours that parent choice. In the coming days, outreach will occur with parents/guardians to assist in understanding the number of students to be in school in September.

“We realize that the decision to send children to school is an incredibly difficult one. To prepare our schools to be as best and responsive as possible, we will be contacting families in the days ahead to get an idea of parent intentions,” said Monteith.

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Highlights from the Ministry of Education Reopening Plan

Elementary schools

  • Elementary schools will reopen with conventional in-person delivery of teaching and instruction, with enhanced health and safety protocols
  • Elementary school students in Kindergarten to Grade 8 will attend school five days per week, with 300 minutes of instruction per day, remaining in one cohort (learning group) for the full day, including recess and lunch
  • Cohorted classes will stay together and with one teacher, where possible. Students can expect to see changes in the timing of recesses, lunches, and bathroom breaks as they are staggered to support cohorting
  • Specialized teachers, like French teachers, will still be able to go into classrooms to provide the full breadth of programming for students
  • Students will also be able to leave their classrooms to receive additional supports but direct and indirect contacts in schools for students should be limited to approximately 50
  • School boards will provide the full range of elementary curriculum, including the new Grades 1-8 Mathematics curriculum

Secondary schools

  • All school boards are encouraged to adopt timetabling methods that emphasize cohorting (learning group) of students as much as possible, to limit the number of student-to- student contacts
  • In order to reduce risk of transmission and to support contact tracing, school boards are to develop timetables that over a 1 to 2-week period:
    • limit indirect and direct student contacts to approximately 100 students in the school; and
    • are encouraged to keep secondary school students in a maximum of two in- person class cohorts
  • Secondary schools in non-designated school boards, such as HPEDSB, will be permitted to open with conventional delivery, with enhanced health and safety protocols

Multiple strategies to support healthy and safe environments for students and staff

  • Self screening
  • Adapted school environments
  • Hand hygiene
  • Masking
    • Students in Grades 4 to 12 will be required to wear non-medical or cloth masks while in school
    • Students in Kindergarten to Grade 3 will be encouraged but not required to wear masks in common spaces
    • Medical masks will be provided for teachers and all school staff
    • Schools boards are able to establish reasonable exceptions
  • Cohorting
  • Distancing
  • Limiting visitors in schools
  • Pre-registration

Support for families

  • Parents will make decisions regarding in-person attendance for their children for this school year and will have the option of remote (online) learning
  • Students with a high level of special education needs who are unable to study remotely will be permitted daily attendance and instruction

School health monitoring system

  • A new school health monitoring system will be established through a partnership between the ministries of Health and Education, school boards and local public health to monitor and respond to reports of COVID-19 symptoms. Students or staff who develop COVID-19 symptoms will immediately be separated from others
  • Staff and parents/guardians will be directed to consult their health provider and will be provided with COVID-19 testing locations. Persons who test positive may not return to school until they are cleared by public health. Persons who test negative can return one they are symptom-free for 24 hours
  • Schools will immediately report any suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19
  • Schools will ensure records of classes, transported students and visitors are maintained and readily available to be provided to public health for contact tracing
  • School staff will receive training on required processes and procedures
  • The ministries of Education and Health are working together to provide testing capacity to keep schools safe and treat any affected student or teacher/staff member

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“As a parent myself, I fully appreciate how confusing these times are for students and families. Terms such as cohorting, distancing and adaptive learning add more confusion. We remain steadfastly committed to reassuring our parents/guardians that the number one priority is the safety of their children, our students, our staff and our families,” added Monteith.

As with controlling the spread of other viruses, we urge you to speak to your child about the following prevention measures:

  • Wash your hands regularly, especially after using the restroom and before preparing or consuming food. Using soap and hot water, wash for about 20 seconds. Be sure to also wash your fingertips.
  • Avoid coughing or sneezing into your hands or in the air. Always try to cough or sneeze into a tissue, and then throw the tissue away. If you don’t have a tissue, cough/sneeze into your arm.
  • As much as you can, avoid touching your eyes, mouth and nose.

In the coming days, this web page will outline important information for students, parents/guardians about what a school day will look like, health and safety protocols, well-being resources and more.

Some COVID-19 links are below. Refer to the COVID-19 webpage for additional information.

COVID-19 resources

FAQs for COVID-19, closures, mental health and well-being resources and more

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Kids Help Phone
Text CONNECT to 686868
1-800-668-6868
www.kidshelpphone.ca

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Financial resources

Find financial help during COVID-19

The Hastings and Prince Edward Learning Foundation assists families with emergency items

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At-home learning resources

No-tech learning activities of the week: newspaper ads

Learning at home, HPEDSB online resources

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Tips sheets from School Mental Health Ontario

For more information, please contact:
Kerry Donnell, Communications Manager, 613.966.1170 or 1.800.267.4350, extension 62354, [email protected]

Congratulations to Governor General’s Academic Medal recipients for 2019-2020

July 28, 2020—Congratulations to seven secondary school students who are recipients of the Governor General’s Academic Medal.

Since 1873, the Governor General’s Academic Medal has recognized the outstanding scholastic achievements of students in Canada. It has become one of the most prestigious awards that a student in a Canadian educational institution can receive. The medal is awarded to the student graduating with the highest average from a high school, college or university.

Devin Hastey
Devin Hastey
Bayside Secondary School

Ikeoluwa Blessing Agbaje
Ikeoluwa Blessing Agbaje
Centennial Secondary School

Terra Clark
Terra Clark
Centre Hastings Secondary School

Peyton Barnabi
Peyton Barnabi
Eastside Secondary School

Jessie Ritter
Jessie Ritter
North Hastings High School

Wilson Liu
Wilson Liu
Prince Edward Collegiate Institute

Ryan Gentle
Ryan Gentle
Trenton High School

Pierre Trudeau, Tommy Douglas, Kim Campbell, Robert Bourassa, Robert Stanfield and Gabrielle Roy are past recipients.

Medals are presented on behalf of the Governor General by participating educational institutions, along with personalized certificates signed by the Governor General. There is no monetary award associated with the  award.

For more information, please contact:
Kerry Donnell, Communications & Public Relations Manager, 613-966-1170 or 1 800 267-4350, extension 62354, [email protected]

No-tech learning activities of the week

Last updated July 22, 2020—The weekly community newspapers contain a full page colour ad with learning activities that can be done at home, without using the Internet, devices or involving screen time. Look for a new one each week in these papers: Bancroft This Week, Community Press, County Weekly News, Napanee Beaver, Picton Gazette, Tweed News, Trentonian and the Wellington Times.

Look in your free community newspaper this week and in the weeks to come for a full-page colour ad with No-Tech Learning Activities of the Week.

Tentative collective agreement between HPEDSB and ETFO Hastings-Prince Edward

Joint news release from the Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board, and ETFO Hastings-Prince Edward

July 8, 2020—A tentative collective agreement has been reached between the Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board, and the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario, Hastings-Prince Edward Teacher Local.

The agreement for 600 elementary teachers spans a 3-year period, from September 1, 2019 to August 31, 2022.

No details will be released until it is voted on by teachers and the Board of Trustees in August/September 2020.

Quotes

“As we continue through these extraordinary times, I would like to thank our elementary teachers for their continued support to students. I appreciate all of them and acknowledge that they are a critical part of our team. Relationships are important. We are grateful for the hard work done by both parties to reach an agreement. I wish everyone a great summer and look forward to start-up in September.” – Lucille Kyle, Chair of the Board

“We are pleased that we have reached a tentative settlement with the Board. We believe this is a fair agreement which is respectful of the needs of our members. We began local negotiations in May and this wraps up a very challenging year with what we believe is a positive outcome for our members. Our team would like to thank all our members for their patience and support as we worked to achieve an agreement.”  — ETFO Hastings-Prince Edward Local President Sarah MacKay

“I congratulate and compliment the local ETFO bargaining representatives and leadership, as well as the representatives for HPEDSB. Reaching an agreement during these incredibly challenging times is an accomplishment. This agreement contains language that provides stability and consistency for our students and those who work in service of their interests—our ETFO teachers. I am pleased for everyone involved and particularly our kids, who will benefit.” – Sean Monteith, Director of Education

CONTACTS

  • Kerry Donnell, Communications & Public Relations Manager, 613.966.1170, extension 62354, [email protected]
  • Sarah MacKay, President, ETFO Hastings-Prince Edward, 613.968.3707, extension 228, [email protected]

Director’s message to the Graduating Class of 2020

June 29, 2020

Subject: Congratulations Grade 12 Graduates, Class of 2020! (Pdf version)

You have made it, now keep going!

To the Graduating Class of 2020: She:Kon, Greetings, Good Day!

Directors message to Class of 2020You have made it! Your secondary school journey is over and you are moving on to the next stage of your lives.

Over the course of your secondary school career—and during this, the year of the COVID-19 pandemic—some of you may have experienced periods of wonder, question, and at times, perhaps uncertainty as to whether graduation was even going to happen. For others, graduating this June came relatively easily with minor or few setbacks. In either case, you achieved success whether you had support from those around you, or you feel like you made it against the odds.

As a member of the Class of 2020, your graduating year is a mix of unique meaning and reflection. The year 2020 will be remembered for the COVID-19 pandemic, a time when school stopped in the traditional sense and graduation was a term of reference, rather than an event.

There is no disputing that your graduating year feels different than any other. As graduates, you are well within your right to feel as though the ceremony and prom were taken away. As slighted as you may feel, I encourage you to remember your achievements and not let the absence of a physical graduation cloud your memories.

Graduation is a significant event for you and the people in your lives. For you, it is a mark of achievement with, perhaps, some trepidation about what lies ahead. For parents/guardians and your loved ones, it is a time of pride to watch you “cross the stage,” while also feeling anxious about what the future holds for you.

From me to all of you, congratulations on your accomplishment. I acknowledge your teachers, the support staff and the principals and vice-principals who supported you along the way. Lastly, I offer a special thank you to your families for their support, care and love of you.

Graduates, feel proud of the fact that no one can take your high school diploma away from you. You earned it every step of the way.

I started this letter by stating, “You have made it!” I end it by adding, “Now keep going!”

Che-Miigwech, thank you.

Sincerely,

Sean Monteith
Director of Education

Director’s letter about school re-entry in September 2020

June 23, 2020

Subject: School updates and re-entry in September 2020 (Pdf version)

Dear Students, Parents/Guardians, Families and Staff:

I wish to begin this letter by acknowledging all of you, every one of our students, our families and,  of course, our staff. We are all part of a bigger community, and so in acknowledging each of you, I also pay homage to the fact that we could not have made it through these several months of the COVID-19 pandemic without one another.

As we approach the end of the 2019-2020 school year, I acknowledge that many questions remain, some that none of us have ever encountered or even anticipated.

Admittedly, as the Director of Education and as an educator for over 25 years, I candidly share that I feel the same way. We must prepare for multiple scenarios and be ready to activate school re-entry plans quickly to respect public health, and the safety of our students and staff. These approaches will allow us to provide educational experiences that inspire learning, motivate our students to explore and assure families that we will be able to support their children.

Last week the Minister of Education announced that all Ontario school boards are required to be ready for September 2020 with three scenarios and to submit them to the Ministry of Education. I want to assure you that the senior administration and staff of the HPEDSB have been planning for this re-entry and the potential environments we may face for several months.

The scenarios that we are preparing for include the following:

  1. a return to a conventional (or traditional), regular classroom instruction, with health and safety requirements;
  2. a continuation of remote learning, including the use of live online instruction that incorporates a synchronous delivery between teacher and students; and
  3. an adapted hybrid delivery model where students return to class combined with online learning that is in accordance with public health requirements and limits the number of students in the physical classroom to a maximum of 15.

In addition to this intensive planning, we are also required and prepared to move quickly and seamlessly between these models depending on the situation of the COVID-19 virus spread, and in close consultation with public health and provincial directives.

It is perhaps most important to add that above all else and regardless of what model we are required to be prepared for in September, that as parents/guardians and families, the decision to send your child to school remains your choice. The HPEDSB respects parental decisions about whether you are comfortable sending your children to school.

Lastly, I appreciate that some are feeling uncertainty and anxiety at this time given the unknown nature of what the future may hold. Please do not feel pressured to have a family plan determined now for a future that is two months away. We are all experiencing the same uncertainties and will face them as we have over the past four months.

I reassure you that we will continue to work hard and be ready for any reality, and that we will communicate our actions and plans openly and transparently.

We will continue to provide updates on our website and social media streams, in addition to other media sources, such as radio and print.

In closing, I feel it imperative to speak to a concern that many educators and I have: the mental health and emotional well-being of our students, their families and our staff. This has been an incredibly difficult time in our history and we will no doubt face more challenges. Even so, I am confident we will address them with unwavering resolve and will always centre our actions around the needs of our kids.

Our website, www.HPEschools.ca contains the most current information including tips sheets for families and educators, and perhaps most important, contact information for Kids Help Phone.

Stay safe, stay healthy and stay positive.

Sincerely,

Sean Monteith
Director of Education

Electronic report cards for all students, June 2020

June 22, 2020—As the end of the 2019-2020 school nears, this is an important message for parents/guardians about report cards.

All Final Report Cards will be available electronically for viewing and printing at home.

For elementary students, the document can be accessed on Tuesday, June 23, 2020 at the end of the school day from the school website. For secondary students, the document can be accessed on Friday, June 26, 2020 at the end of the school day from the school website. Once there, users will see easy to follow instructions about how to sign-in using their child’s school username and password through the connectEd link.

Anyone with questions about the Final Report Card should contact their child’s teacher or school. Anyone unable to print a copy at home can request one from the school when school resumes in September.

Contact
Kerry Donnell, Communications & Public Relations Manager, [email protected], 613.966.1170, extension 62354

Minister of Education letter to parents about return to school in September 2020

The Minister of Education congratulates 2020 graduates.

Kindergarten graduates

Grade 8 graduates

Grade 12 graduates

French-language graduates

June 19, 2020–Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education released a letter to all families about the return to school in September 2020.

Minister of Education Letter to Parents, June 19, 2020 (Pdf)

Dear Parents—

I write to you as we are just a couple weeks away from the official end to the 2019-2020 school year. Despite the challenges that we have all faced in responding to the COVID-19 outbreak, I have been inspired by your determination and spirit. I know that it has not been easy, but your commitment to supporting your children over the last several months has been reaffirming, constructive and exceptionally encouraging. We will continue to safeguard the well-being of your children and preserve the continuation of learning. Your role as parents and guardians is critical to making this a reality.

We know that the start to the next school year may not look or feel the same as it did just 10 months ago.

Earlier today, I announced our government’s plan for the safe reopening of schools. While Ontario is clearly on a positive trajectory in terms of our response to the COVID-19 outbreak, my objective is to make sure that the education system is safely prepared for all potential scenarios come September. With that in mind, I have directed all school boards to plan for three scenarios:

  • A return to conventional, regular classroom instruction, with health and safety requirements,
  • A continuation of remote learning, including the use of live, synchronous online instruction, and;
  • An adapted delivery model that enables students to return to class with blended virtual learning, that includes health and safety requirements that will limit the maximum number of students to 15 per class.

We hope that public health situation will continue to improve and allow school boards to enter a conventional classroom experience, once it is safe to do so. Local and regional health authorities – in conjunction with a Ministry of Education established table of medical experts – will help shape the way forward, to ensure the realities on the ground within your communities are best reflected.

While school boards will develop their plans based on the ministry’s guidance, I want to express some of the underlying principles that we used in issuing these instructions to boards.

First, we must recognize that choice that you as parents must have. You made this clear to me, and we are ensuring you get to make that choice. Any participation in in-person class will be voluntary. We will strengthen our Learn At Home program, provide greater access to technology for more families, and stand-up for regularized, synchronous live learning that clearly benefits your child. Our government will continue to stand up for parents and insist on this impactful experience.

Second, this plan was developed with the health and safety of your child, staff, and your families as our top priority. It is why the government announced net new funding for cleaning, cleaning protocols, and financial support to hire additional custodial staff in September, to ensure schools are safe. It is also why our plan was created following extensive consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, health experts on the COVID-19 Command Table, medical experts at The Hospital for Sick Children, education sector partners, front-line workers, parents and students.

Third, our government is investing in record levels to support student mental health. We are investing $10 million in new additional funding for the coming school year alone, to help school boards ensure they are proactively supporting students given the impact of COVID-19 on mental health and well-being. This year, students will have unprecedented direct access to regulated mental health professionals, as our government invests a record nearly $50 million in support of student well-being. Medical experts have been clear, there is a need for enhanced mental health supports to respond to COVID-19. This funding can be used by school boards to hire additional mental health workers to support students through this adversity, reduce wait times, and improve access to critical services, that we know students deserve.

The school restart plan also prioritizes supports for students with special education needs, including advance planning for a smooth transition to school, a requirement that Individual Education Plans (IEPs) and Identification, Placement and Review Committees (IPRCs) are followed, along with the direction that boards plan for full-time in-class instruction for students with the most significant levels of needs. We are also asking boards to work with local partners including Children’s Treatment Centres so that students have access to the supports they need to succeed.

Fourth, we saw families rise to the challenge and adapt quickly while we rolled out the Learn at Home program. This plan will provide new online course content and digital tools, and provide other resources for educators to support continuous learning for students in the coming school year. We also know that we must do more to so that all students have greater access to technology, and for all schools have access to internet.

This week, I announced $15 million to assist school boards in purchasing devices and further embracing the digital age. This new funding will be directed to securing up to 35,000 classroom computers and ensuring students have the tools to succeed in the upcoming school year.

Fifth, today I announced that the government is spending more in education than ever before. This year, the Grants for Student Needs has increased by a record $736 million. We are investing record amounts in mental health, special education, technology, and overall –every school board will benefit from a funding increase – as we prepare for the year ahead.

We will never waver in our commitment to Ontario’s students – to their health and safety –to supporting them on their learning journey – and to set them up to succeed for the future.

Thank you to Ontario parents, education staff, and communities for your support, ideas, and commitment to the safety of our schools and the success of students.

Have a positive summer,

The Honourable Stephen Lecce
Minister of Education

HPEDSB approves Quinte Secondary School Revitalization Plan

June 17, 2020—Trustees of the Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board are rewriting history through an unprecedented and unanimous decision authorizing Senior Administration to proceed with repurposing the facility formerly known as Quinte Secondary School.

Involving Bayside, Belleville and Trenton area schools, the Quinte Secondary School Revitalization Plan was approved at a public Special Board Meeting earlier today. The plan, which has multiple components and affects many aspects of programming and Board operations, includes the following:

  • offers enhanced student learning opportunities, including the creation of a dedicated French Immersion K-8 school;
  • addresses existing Belleville, Bayside and Trenton area school capacity concerns;
  • consolidates three HPEDSB operational facilities, including the Ann Street Education Centre, the W.R. Kirk Alternative Education Centre and maintenance office, and the G. Umb maintenance shops;
  • re-opens Quinte Secondary School;
  • reviews unique school-based programming across the district; and
  • achieves operational and financial efficiencies.

The Quinte Secondary School Revitalization Plan is the product and outcome of many months of discussion and planning by the Board’s senior staff, beginning early in the fall of 2019.

“As Chair of the Board and also as a longer-term trustee, I am proud and inspired by this strategic and inspiring step the Board is taking. Doing something this big and bold requires taking a risk and takes courage. We, as 10 trustees, are taking this step today,” said Lucille Kyle, Chair of the Board.

The work will begin now that the proposal has been received and approved by the Board. This step coincides with work the Board is currently undertaking to develop a new 5-year strategic plan and HPEDSB corporate re-branding.

“In my experience there are two kinds of organizations: those which allow things to happen and are defined by events around them, and those which make things happen and define themselves by confronting their challenges and take advantage of their opportunities. The Trustees have given the Senior Administration a mandate to proceed and bring to life their dream of a renewed HPEDSB. I am proud to be part of it,” said Sean Monteith, Director of Education.

Monteith said extensive community consultation will occur before final plans are operationalized. More will be shared in the coming months.

Quinte Secondary School was closed in June 2018 as a result of an accommodation review that recommended consolidating it with Eastside Secondary School (formerly Moira Secondary School).

Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board (HPEDSB) serves approximately 15,000 students each day at 40 schools (33 elementary, one K-12; four 7-12 and two secondary). Supporting student achievement is the goal of approximately 1,800 teaching and support staff who, in addition to the contributions of caring volunteers and community partners, share their passion for teaching and learning. The district covers a wide geographic area of 7,220 square kilometres bordered by Maynooth to the north, Deseronto to the east, Prince Edward County to the south and Quinte West to the west.

Contact
Kerry Donnell, Communications & Public Relations Manager, [email protected], 613.966.1170, extension 62354

Board Meeting Update #180: June 17, 2020

June 17, 2020—This update provides a summary of the public special meeting of the Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board held Wednesday, June 17, 2020 online through a livestream event (the recorded version will be available within 24 hours). It is an unofficial summary of the meeting; official minutes will be approved at the next meeting in September 2020.

Lucille Kyle, Chair of the Board opened the meeting acknowledging the First Peoples of the territory: This afternoon we acknowledge that the land on which we are gathered is on the Traditional and Treaty areas of the Mohawk, Haudenosaunee and Anishnabek peoples. We conduct our business, recognizing we are all Treaty people and give respect to this territory and all its young people.

Recommendation

Quinte Secondary School Revitalization Plan

Board members approved a plan directing senior administration to work with consultants to develop preliminary floor plans, cost estimates and related consolidation steps to address enrolment pressures, including the following:

  1. establishing K-8 French Immersion school at the former Quinte Secondary School; and
  2. consolidating the Ann Street Education Centre, the W.R. Kirk Alternative Education Centre and the G. Umb maintenance building at the QSS site.

The above-noted information will be presented and received by the Board of Trustees at the regular Board meeting in December 2020.

CONTACT
Kerry Donnell, Communications & Public Relations Manager, extension 62354, [email protected]

1,200 lawn signs celebrate the Class of 2020!

Lawn signJune 11, 2020—The COVID-19 pandemic has interrupted normal year-end school celebrations like graduations and proms—but that’s not stopping the Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board from celebrating students.

Communities all over Hastings County and Prince Edward County will be even more colourful than normal for this time of year through the addition of lawn signs celebrating Grade 12 graduates—the Class of 2020!

Almost 1,200 signs are being distributed this week to all Grade 12 graduates of seven public secondary schools, from north to south and east to west:

  • Bayside Secondary School
  • Centennial Secondary School
  • Centre Hastings Secondary School
  • Eastside Secondary School
  • North Hastings High School
  • Prince Edward Collegiate Institute
  • Trenton High School

“It’s the perfect time to celebrate the graduating class of 2020. This year will be remembered by many of us as the year of the pandemic. More importantly, I believe we need to celebrate our students, their perseverance and accomplishments in spite of it—and the lawn signs are a unique way to do that. We hope students and their families place them in prominent locations for themselves, their families and their communities to celebrate with them,” said Sean Monteith, Director of Education.

Watch the video by Sean Monteith, Director of Education congratulating the Class of 2020.

Contact
Kerry Donnell, Communications & Public Relations Manager, [email protected], 613.966.1170, extension 62354

Summer School registration is now open at HPEDSB

May 11, 2020—Students in secondary school interested in Summer School can register now.

Summer School is an extension of our all students first  focus at HPEDSB. Our staff are dedicated to helping close achievement gaps for students. This is our priority and we will continue to support student achievement in learning—both during the school year and through Summer School, as needed.

In order to support as many students as possible, we are offering a robust online summer learning program for students in Grades 9-12, focusing on reach-ahead credits, credit recovery and gap-closing programs.

Students and families should connect with their school Guidance teacher to explore these opportunities. We care about our students and their learning and commit to creating equity of hope and opportunity for increased student success for all.

Summer School at HPEDSB is online, and goes from June 29 to July 27, 2020. The deadline to register is June 29, 2020 by 2:00 p.m.

Find out more at the Summer School information page and poster.
For more information, please contact: Roger Ramsay, Summer School Coordinator, 613.966.1170, ext. 62551, [email protected]

$2.7 million addition and renovation for Centre Hastings Secondary School

June 16, 2020—Positive changes will be happening at Centre Hastings Secondary School in Madoc now that the Board of Trustees has approved a contractor for the school addition and renovation.

Trustees awarded a tender to Peak Engineering & Construction Ltd. in the amount of $2.7 million.

Background

As a result of a pupil accommodation review conducted in 2016-2017, a business case was submitted to the Ministry of Education for a two Kindergarten-room addition, as well as various interior renovations to the existing school in order to consolidate students from Madoc Public School at Centre Hastings Secondary School to create a
K-12 school.

A funding letter was received from the Ministry of Education on March 13, 2018 indicating a total of $3.1 million approved funding for the new consolidated school, plus approval to use $2.7 million in building renewal funds. On April 2, 2020, the Approval to Proceed submission was approved by the Ministry of Education, with an additional Ministry funding amount of $2.7 million, which will include the demolition of Madoc Public School.

Paperwork with the contractor will be finalized this week followed by an initial site meeting. The work will be scheduled in the next few months depending on the contractor’s current work schedule.

Contact
Kerry Donnell, Communications & Public Relations Manager, [email protected], 613.966.1170, extension 62354

Edit

Board Meeting Update 179: June 15, 2020

June 8, 2020—This update provides a summary of the public meeting of the Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board held Monday, June 15, 2020 online through a livestream event (the recorded version will be available within 24 hours). It is an unofficial summary of the meeting; official minutes will be approved at the next meeting in September 2020.

Ryan Gentle, Student Trustee, Trenton High School, acknowledged the First Peoples of the territory. This evening we acknowledge that the land on which we are gathered is part of the traditional and treaty areas of the Mohawk, Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe peoples. We conduct tonight’s business recognizing we are all Treaty people and give respect to this territory and all its young people.

Character Moment of Reflection

Each Board meeting opens with a Character Moment of Reflection. At Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board, Growing with Character is our intentional focus on creating safe, caring, respectful and inclusive learning environments where students develop the foundation for good character. Growing with Character is the foundation of the school board strategic plan. Through Growing with Character, we model, teach and expect demonstrations of our eight character traits which are: Caring, Cooperation, Honesty, Humour, Integrity, Respect, Responsibility and Trustworthiness.

This evening Shannon Binder, Trustee for Southeast Hastings and Vice-chair of the Board asked all to reflect on Caring: We demonstrate concern for self and others. We show empathy and express genuine concerns. We consider the long term effect of our actions.

Lucille Kyle, Chair of the Board, acknowledged and thanked the three student trustees who sat at the Board table this school year: Kristen Brant, Eastside Secondary School; Madison Davis, Centennial Secondary School; and Ryan Gentle, Trenton High School.

Recommendation

Appointment of student trustees for the 2020-2021 school year

Board members approved three student trustees for the upcoming school year. Their term starts August 1, 2020 and ends July 31, 2021. We welcome these student leaders who will represent the student voice at the Board table:

  • Moira Gaddes, Eastside Secondary School, as the Indigenous student trustee
  • Grace Whyte, Bayside Secondary School
  • Kayla Zachariah, Prince Edward Collegiate Institute

Tender for the K-12 addition and renovations at Centre Hastings Secondary School

Board members approved a tender in the amount of $2.7 to Peak Engineering & Construction Ltd. for an addition and renovations at Centre Hastings Secondary School. The work will involve building an addition for two Kindergarten classrooms, as well as doing various interior renovations to the existing school in order to consolidate students from Madoc Public School with Centre Hastings Secondary School to create a K-12 school. Pre-work planning with the contractor will begin this week with a start-date to be determined in the coming weeks.

Amendments to the 2019-2020 Special Education Plan

Board members approved amendments to the 2019-2020 Special Education Plan. This public document provides detailed information about Special Education programs and services for students available through Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board.

Information

HPEDSB Pandemic response update

Sean Monteith, Director of Education provided an update on actions at HPEDSB and within the province during the COVID-19 pandemic, including the following:

  • different options being considered by the Ministry of Education for school start-up in September, such as smaller class sizes, alternate day or week options, while also considering the possibility of a full in-school/in-class entry, fully remote approach (as is in place now), or a hybrid of the two (some learning happening from home and some at school);
  • no definitive direction from the Ministry of Education to school boards is expected until late July at the earliest;
  • HPEDSB is prepared for any number of options and all have implications for staffing, cleaning and maintenance of schools and transportation;
  • re-entry, whenever it occurs, will be non-traditional, it will be gentle, accepting and accommodating; the emotional and mental health needs of staff, students K-12 and families are going to be unlike anything we have ever seen before and the senior team has spent a lot of time preparing;
  • four child care centres in HPEDSB schools are anticipated to open next week (date to be confirmed);
  • consultation with the YMCA about the possibility of summer camps;
  • ongoing access to schools at this time for students and families to retrieve students’ personal belongings from schools;
  • graduation is different from what we all want it to be; schools are doing what they can to make graduation real and meaningful; some are doing drive-bys, some online and some are waiting until the fall;
  • lawn signs celebrating the Class of 2020 are being distributed to Grade 12 graduates through all seven secondary schools;
  • the Summer Learning Program is expanded this year to include students in SK-Grade 8 and there has been a tremendous response for it;
  • families who now have HPEDSB technology are able to keep it in their possession during the summer if they wish; and
  • we are in discussion about whether the the weekly newspaper ads with no-tech activities can continue during the summer; more to come.

Board Improvement Planning for Student Achievement (BIPSA)

Members of the Curriculum Services team provided a year-end progress update and next steps about the implementation of the HPEDSB Board Improvement Plan (BIP). Reflecting on system and student achievement data of previous board improvement plans, the results are underachieving and unacceptable. The senior team committed to reversing the declining trend in student achievement by demonstrating a willingness to change system practices and processes specific to improvement planning and staff capacity building. This required an openness to innovative thinking and taking evidence-informed risks to provide increased autonomy to schools for improvement planning.

It is important to note that the 2019-2020 school year presented unique circumstances that influenced implementation and potentially impacted outcomes arising from some of the actions and strategies within the BIP, including the following:

  • interruptions to the learning environment, such as labour action, rotating work stoppages and school closures as of March 13, 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • school closures impacted the ability to implement some of the actions and strategies of the board improvement plan; and
  • unanticipated opportunities to think and act in more innovative ways also emerged in response to this unprecedented online learning situation that supported the goals of system culture and practices, leadership development, and teaching and learning.

Thank you to Tina Elliott, Superintendent of Education, and system leads Rob McFadden, Darren McFarlane and Bessie Stelatos.

Summer learning and student support

For elementary students, the Summer Learning Program (SLP) supports vulnerable SK-Grade 8 students who are experiencing achievement gaps, while mitigating summer learning loss. The Ministry of Education has provided HPEDSB with $60 thousand to operate the SLP. The online delivery will occur daily from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM from July 6 – 24, 2020. The primary focus will be on the remediation, or reteaching, of essential literacy and numeracy skills required for the start of a new grade in September. This gap closing approach may address curriculum expectations that were unable to be covered extensively during the Learn at Home phase of the pandemic.

For secondary students, the SLP is offered by eLearning through the Adult and Continuing Education Program. This year, summer school is scheduled from June 29 – July 27, 2020.

Additional summer funding has been allocated for mental health supports, staff resources to support students with special education needs and a transition back to school program.

Reports from trustees

Highlights from this report included the following:

  • information about the annual general meeting of the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association;
  • OPSBA seeking input on anti-racism; and
  • two scholarship recipients to soon be announced, including the regional recipient of the Public Property Network Scholarship which provides $1,000.

Audit Committee update

Highlights from this report included the following:

  • new committee member Kim Egan;
  • internal audits are continuing despite COVID-19; and
  • proposed meeting dates for the 2020-2021 school year.

Parent Involvement Committee update

Highlights from this report included the following:

  • at the last meeting, trustee representatives provided updates on Board of Trustee decisions, priorities during COVID-19; and a strategic planning update.

Questions, reports and proposals from trustees

  • In response to a question about report cards, Superintendent Tina Elliott reported that all report cards will be available online for parents/guardians to access. For elementary, the report cards will be available June 23, 2020; for secondary it will be June 26, 2020. Communications and instruction on how to access will be available. Anyone preferring to receive a paper copy can request one from their child’s school.
  • Transcripts will be available during the summer which is a new and welcome approach for HPEDSB.
  • 99.3 County FM is hosting a radio broadcast to celebrate Grade 8 students in Prince Edward County. It will air on Tuesday, June 23, 2020 at 12:10 PM and again at 6:10 PM. All students in Prince Edward County graduating from Grade 8 will be announced. On-air messages will be broadcast featuring students, school board officials and school principals.
  • Lucille Kyle, Chair of the Board, made closing remarks reflecting on the 2019-2020 school year.

A special public Board meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, June 17, 2020, online through a livestream event at 1:00 PM.

For more information, please contact Kerry Donnell, Communications & Public Relations Manager, extension 62354, [email protected]

Register now: Summer Learning Program helps fill learning gaps for elementary students

June 10, 2020—Planning for the annual Summer Learning Program for elementary students is  well underway and is expanding from previous years.

Students currently in SK-Grade 8 are eligible to register. The program will run from Monday, July 6 to Friday, July 24, 2020 five days a week, from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM. It will be online with live interaction among the educators, students and parent/guardians who want to join in.

Parents/guardians who are concerned that your child has gaps in learning should consider registering their children.

Registration deadline is Friday, June 12, 2020 by contacting the student’s teacher.

Contact
Kerry Donnell, Communications & Public Relations Manager, [email protected], 613.966.1170, extension 62354

Board Meeting Update 178, June 8, 2020

June 8, 2020—This update provides a summary of the special public meeting of the Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board held Monday, June 8, 2020 online through a livestream event (the recorded version will be available within 24 hours). It is an unofficial summary of the meeting; official minutes will be approved at the next meeting on June 15, 2020.

Recommendation

Ratification of the 2019-2022 local terms of two OSSTF-PSSP collective agreements

Board members approved the terms of two local collective agreement between HPEDSB and the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation, District 29 – Professional Student Services Personnel Bargaining Unit (OSSTF-PSSP) for the periods June 25, 2019 to August 31, 2019 and September 1, 2019 to August 31, 2022.

Staff covered by the PSSP collective agreement include the following:

  • attendance counsellors;
  • autism coordinators;
  • child and youth workers;
  • psychoeducational consultants;
  • speech language pathologists; and
  • social workers.

The next public Board meeting is Monday, June 15, 2020, online through a livestream event at 7:00 p.m.

For more information, please contact Kerry Donnell, Communications & Public Relations Manager, extension 62354, [email protected]

School board and 99.3 County FM partner to celebrate students

Joint news release from the Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board, and 99.3 County FM 

June 8, 2020—The Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board is pleased to announce that it has partnered with radio station 99.3 County FM to broadcast Grade 8 graduation ceremonies for Prince Edward County elementary schools.

Transitioning to high school is a momentous occasion for students. While the COVID-19 pandemic has taken away some aspects of the traditional year-end ceremonies, the school board and radio station are proud to recognize these students in a unique way.

The 80-minute broadcast will begin at 12:10 PM on Tuesday, June 23, 2020 on 99.3 and will be repeated at 6:10 PM that evening. Approximately 160 Grade 8 students are graduating from five schools:

  • Athol South-Marysburgh Public School
  • CML Snider School
  • Kente Public School
  • Sophiasburgh Central School
  • Prince Edward Collegiate Institute

The event will feature messages from the following people:

  • Trustees Jennifer Cobb, North Prince Edward County and Alison Kelly, South Prince Edward County
  • Sean Monteith, Director of Education
  • Tina Elliott, Superintendent of Education
  • Principals from each school
    • Heather McMaster, Athol South-Marysburgh Public School
    • Tina Jones, CML Snider School
    • Annette Huizenga, Kente Public School
    • Lee Prophet, Sophiasburgh Central School
    • Andrew Ross, Prince Edward Collegiate Institute
  • One Grade 8 student from each school

The name of each student going to high school in September will be announced.

Quotes

“Celebrating the end of the school year in June is a decades-old tradition and the COVID-19 isn’t stopping us from making that happen! The sense of community—and family—in Prince Edward County is what keeps everyone connected and together. This partnership with 99.3 County FM is another example of the HPEDSB helping students and families to feel part of our HPEschools family. We appreciate the efforts and radio time of 99.3 County FM to showcase the students of Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board. Congratulations to each of them!” – Sean Monteith, Director of Education

“At 99.3 County FM, our volunteers were eager to do something significant to celebrate the students. It doesn’t matter the grade they’re graduating from, there are so many emotions for the students and families as the school year concludes. We are grateful to the Prince Edward County elementary schools for allowing us to be a part of the celebrations. By broadcasting at 99.3 FM and streaming the event (www.993countyfm.ca) we hope students and families from all grades will share in the joy of these PEC Grade 8 students.” – Craig Mills, Station General Manager

 Contacts

Tentative collective agreement between HPEDSB and OSSTF/PSSP

Joint news release from the Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board, and the Professional Student Services Personnel (PSSP)/OSSTF

June 1, 2020—A tentative collective agreement has been reached between the Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board, and the Professional Student Services Personnel (PSSP)/OSSTF District 29.

At HPEDSB, employees who are part of PSSP provide professional supports for students and work primarily in schools. They are caring and dedicated members of the HPEDSB family who support student achievement every day, and include the following:

  • attendance counsellors;
  • autism coordinators;
  • child and youth workers;
  • psychoeducational consultants;
  • speech language pathologists; and
  • social workers.

Two agreements were negotiated due to the new connection between PSSP and OSSTF. The first one was for the period June 24 to August 31, 2019 and the second for September 1, 2019 to August 31, 2022. Ratification votes are expected to take place by mid-June 2020.

No details of the agreement or anything further will be released at this time.

Quotes

“The PSSP Bargaining Committee is very pleased to bring this tentative agreement to its members for ratification. The process was inclusive and collaborative. Even when negotiations moved to online meetings rather than in-person, we felt the discussions progressed well and with intentionality. We appreciate the efforts of management to work with us.” – Melissa Lafrance, President, OSSTF/PSSP District 29

“We are so happy that we have reached another agreement with a valued group of employees. The employees in the Professional Student Services Personnel group work with students who have unique needs often and require a special level of support. We are pleased that we have reached an agreement that values them as professionals and recognizes the important work they do.” – Lucille Kyle, Chair of the Board

“We are again very pleased and proud to reach our first collective agreement with this important employee group. The PSSP group focuses entirely on the needs of students who often have unique needs. They are critical to the success of these students and ultimately they are an essential part of the overall success of the HPEDSB. I congratulate both negotiating teams for concluding this successful collective bargaining effort.” – Sean Monteith, Director of Education

CONTACTS

  • Kerry Donnell, Communications & Public Relations Manager, 613.966.1170, extension 62354, [email protected]
  • Melissa LaFrance, President, PSSP/OSSTF District 29, [email protected]

Board Meeting Update #177, May 25, 2020

May 25, 2020—This update provides a summary of the public meeting of the Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board held Monday, May 25, 2020 online through a livestream event (the recorded version will be available within 24 hours). It is an unofficial summary of the meeting; official minutes will be approved at the next meeting in June 2020.

Lucille Kyle, Chair of the Board, acknowledged the First Peoples of the territory. This evening we acknowledge that the land on which we are gathered is part of the traditional territory of the Haudenosaunee people. We acknowledge the land to show respect and recognize the First Peoples of the territory; their history, culture and perspectives and as a step towards reconciliation.

Character Moment of Reflection

Each Board meeting opens with a Character Moment of Reflection. At Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board, Growing with Character is our intentional focus on creating safe, caring, respectful and inclusive learning environments where students develop the foundation for good character. Growing with Character is the foundation of the school board strategic plan. Through Growing with Character, we model, teach and expect demonstrations of our eight character traits which are: Caring, Cooperation, Honesty, Humour, Integrity, Respect, Responsibility and Trustworthiness.

This evening Ryan Gentle, Student Trustee, Trenton High School asked all to reflect on Trustworthiness: We can be counted on to do what is right. We instill confidence in one another through our actions.

Recommendation

Offer to purchase Earl Prentice Prentice Public School

Board members approved a recommendation for the sale of Earl Prentice Public School to “Fei Pan – For a Company to be Incorporated” in the amount of $280,000, pending all conditions are met, with a closing date of June 5, 2020.

Tender for electrical distribution and replacement at multiple sites

Board members approved a recommendation totaling $1.1 million for the renewal and replacement of electrical distribution services at seven schools: Bayside Secondary School, Foxboro Public School, Frankford Public School, Massassaga-Rednersville Public School, North Hastings High School, Trenton High School and Tyendinaga Public School. The work will be scheduled in the coming weeks.

Tender for roof replacement at multiple sites

Board members approved a recommendation totaling $3.6 million for roofing projects at eight schools: Eastside Secondary School, Frankford Public School, Harry J. Clarke Public School, Kente Public School, Massassaga-Rednersville Public School, Maynooth Public School, Park Dale School and Prince of Wales Public School. The work will be scheduled in the coming weeks.

Ratification of the 2019-2022 Local Terms of the CUPE Collective Agreement

Board members approved the terms of the local collective agreement between HPEDSB and CUPE Local 1022 for the period September 1, 2019 to August 31, 2022. Support staff covered by the CUPE collective agreement include the following:

  • central support workers;
  • communicative disorder assistants;
  • custodian and maintenance workers;
  • designated early childhood educators;
  • educational assistants;
  • intervenors;
  • IT technologists and analysts;
  • library technicians;
  • school secretaries; and
  • student supervision monitors.

Information

Report from the Executive Committee

Highlights from this verbal report included the following:

  • explanation of the revised process to select student trustees for the 2020-2021 school year;
  • progress in planning the 2020-2025 Strategic Plan.

HPEDSB COVID-19 Pandemic Operational Report

Sean Monteith, Director of Education provided an update about COVID-19 actions at HPEDSB as of May 25, 2020.

Highlights included the following:

  • continued planning for at-home learning now that schools are closed until the end of June 2020;
  • communications actions to date;
  • funding and expenditures;
  • access to schools and administrative offices;
  • voluntary redeployment of staff; and
  • technology and broadband access for students and families.

Communications & Public Relations update

Kerry Donnell, Communications & Public Relations Manager provided a summary of communications and public relations actions since the beginning of the school year, along with enhanced activities during COVID-19 and known initiatives planned for the 2020-2021 school year.

Highlights included the following:

  • the team’s actions and initiatives are focused on the HPEDSB all students first approach, through planned and targeted communications with internal and external audiences;
  • communications and public relations initiatives and engagement have increased exponentially since August 2019, and particularly since mid-March 2020 during COVID-19;
  • Communications & Public Relations uses a wide variety of means and methods to communicate with target audiences and stakeholders;
  • on a daily basis, the team engages with the senior team, trustees, departments, school administrators, student and parent leaders, the media and community partners;
  • COVID-19 has demanded an extremely high level of communications planning and response from mid-March 2020 to now. Efforts to keep employees, students, families and the media engaged and informed will continue through to the end of the school year and beyond; and
  • 10 large projects are already planned for the 2020-2021 school year.

2020-2021 committee meeting dates (draft)

Proposed dates for Board and Committee of the Whole meetings were shared for information.

Report from trustees

Highlights from this report included the following:

  • Ontario Public School Boards’ Association (OPSBA) update:
    • ratification votes by the OPSBA in recent weeks; late release of GSNs (school board funding) from the province; advocacy from OPSBA to Queen’s Park about what schools opening in September will look like;
  • a new process to select an HPEDSB representative for the OPSBA Board of Directors (presently Lisa Anne Chatten) was conducted: interested trustees put forth their name during the meeting and, after being supported by others, all Board members voted on the interested candidates; Lisa Anne Chatten will continue at the OPSBA representative;
  • the next step was to select an alternate director; Alison Kelly was selected.

The next public Board meeting is Monday, June 15, 2020, online through a livestream event at 7:00 p.m.

For more information, please contact Kerry Donnell, Communications & Public Relations Manager, extension 62354, [email protected]

Director’s letter about schools remaining closed, continuity of learning

May 19, 2020

Subject: Continuity of learning and schools closed until the end of the school year (Pdf version)

Dear Students, Parents/Guardians, Families and Staff:

As I have with every one of my letters to you through the past two and half months, it is incumbent to begin by wishing that all of you are safe, healthy and remain hopeful. We have nothing if we do not have our health and our families; and it is both of these critical pieces of our lives that will carry us through these incredibly challenging times. As you read this important update, please remind yourself of this: health, family and loved ones, responsibility to community . . . and then education.

Today, the Ontario government announced it is keeping schools closed for the rest of this school year. This decision was made after consulting with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, health experts on the COVID-19 Command Table, and medical experts at The Hospital for Sick Children.

Last week, the Minister of Education gave all school boards and Directors of Education an update on provincial “continuity of learning.” For us in the Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board, at the outset of this pandemic the priority was and continues to be the education for all our students and support for all our families. This support it must be mentioned, also was required to be extended and assured to all our staff, who like families share similar challenges and concerns for the future.

At the HPEDSB we have continued for the past 10 weeks to insist, that in spite of learning from home and remote learning regardless of where you live across the district, we are entirely committed to continuing to provide learning, and prioritizing learning as our main focus. Assessment, grading, marks and reporting, while important for learning for both students and their families, as well as staff, is and will remain different from the traditional sense.

It is equally important to publicly reaffirm this commitment to learning opportunities for all our students, and with clear expectations that our staff not just reach out to families, but reach all our families; this commitment is unwavering and we are resolved in meeting it. How we are providing learning and what that experience looks like and feels like, will be different than what we are all used to in the traditional sense; and this includes myself not only as the Director of Education, but as a father of two sons who continue to benefit from our public education system.

Like all educators and parents together what we want for our own children, is what we want for all Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board students. With this in mind, our approach to virtual learning remains in effect, our emphasis on student-teacher contact unchanged, and our commitment to supporting the whole needs of our families unwavering.

In short, our focus remains on learning and ensuring we are reaching all our students, and to that end I am proud of our staff and families and how we have all responded together. Our website, www.HPEschools.ca contains the most current information including tips sheets for families and educators, and perhaps most important, contact information for Kids Help Phone.

Stay safe, stay healthy, and stay positive,

Sean Monteith
Director of Education

Tentative agreement reached between HPEDSB and CUPE Local 1022

Joint news release from Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board, and CUPE Local 1022

May 13, 2020—A tentative collective agreement has been reached between the Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board, and CUPE Local 1022.

At HPEDSB, employees who are part of CUPE work in schools, administrative offices and at other sites. They are caring and dedicated members of the HPEDSB family who support student achievement every day, and include the following:

  • central support workers;
  • communicative disorder assistants;
  • custodian and maintenance workers;
  • designated early childhood educators;
  • educational assistants;
  • intervenors;
  • IT technologists and analysts;
  • library technicians;
  • school secretaries; and
  • student supervision monitors.

The agreement is for a 3-year period from September 1, 2019 to August 31, 2022. Ratification votes are expected to take place by the end of May 2020.

No details of the agreement or anything further will be released at this time.

Quotes

“The CUPE Bargaining Committee is absolutely thrilled to bring this tentative agreement to its members for ratification. It was a collaborative process challenged by forced online bargaining, but both management and the union were committed to reaching a deal that will enhance the working life of CUPE members. Thank you to management for working together with us!” – Jo-Anne White, President, CUPE Local 1022

“As the Board of Trustees, we are proud of all our employees! It takes a village to raise a child. We want our staff to feel safe and valued. Well-being is a key piece of a successful day. To our CUPE employees—we need you. Thank you for your continued service to students.” – Lucille Kyle, Chair of the Board

“The process to reach a successful collective agreement with our local CUPE bargaining unit has taken the repeated efforts of both parties. I want to thank the bargaining unit representatives and the management team for remaining resolved and focused on an agreement that prioritizes our students, acknowledges the importance of equity for all our staff and sees an opportunity to develop strong working relationships. This is a good day for our CUPE staff, a good day for the HPEDSB and a good day for kids.” – Sean Monteith, Director of Education

CONTACTS

 

 

Grade 10 and 11 students—apply to become a student trustee

May 5, 2020—Students in Grades 10 and 11 now (going into Grades 11 and 12 in September) are invited to apply to become a student trustee.

Involving students in Board business is a valuable learning experience. Hearing from student trustees at Board meetings about student issues and opinions is a way to engage these leaders beyond their school community. They represent student opinions at the Board level and participate actively on committees.

What do student trustees do?

Student trustees are involved in many different ways at their school and also at the Board level. The are leaders who represent the voices of all student. For example, student trustees:

  • Attend school Board meetings and are knowledgeable about policies and procedures
  • Serve as student representatives between the Board and the Student Senate
  • Serve as the Board’s representatives at the Ontario Student Trustees’ Association
  • Attend the annual Ontario Student Trustees’ Association conference
  • Undertake a mentoring role with the incoming Student Senate

HPEDSB has three student trustees, including one representing Indigenous students.

Interested in applying?

Send a one-page letter or 60-second video to Sean Monteith ([email protected]), Director of Education, saying why you are interested in being a student trustee. The deadline is Monday, May 25, 2020. The Board of Trustees will make the decision by the end of May 2020.

For more information, please contact Kerry Donnell, Communications Manager, extension 62354, [email protected]

Director’s letter to families about HPEDSB Together—Education Week and Mental Health Week

May 4, 2020

Subject: HPEDSB Together—Education Week and Mental Health Week, May 4 to 8, 2020 (Pdf version)

Dear Students, Parents/Guardians, Families and Staff:

First, and most importantly foremost, I hope this letter finds you safe, remaining hopeful, positive and healthy. We are almost coming to the end of the second month of the COVID-19 global pandemic and the closure of all our schools and offices. We realize and accept with the very real recognition that these past number of weeks and months have not been easy for anyone.

Today we mark the start of two important commitments during May 4-8, 2020.

This is “Education Week 2020,” always an important week-long commemoration of why public education is so important, and what public schools can represent for so many young people and their families. The other important recognition is “Mental Health Week” as identified and endorsed by the Canadian Mental Health Association.

Both of these weeks are important for so many people: Education Week is significant for some, and Mental Health Week for others, and likely for very personal reasons. For us in the Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board, we are using Education Week 2020 to focus on the collective strength we have together, and that together we will emerge from this crisis, resolved, confident and committed to all our community members.

It is important to publicly reaffirm that our priority, after our health and the health of our loved ones, is the relationship and connection we have with you, and that you have with your child’s school. Curriculum expectations, teaching, assessment and a student’s grades remain very important, but only after the care and security of our families and communities. Our kids need us and we need to be there for them, especially now. Therefore, our focus remains on learning and ensuring we are reaching all our students.

Our website, www.HPEschools.ca contains the most current information we have about COVID-19, including tips sheets for families and educators, links to public health agencies, and perhaps most important, contact information for Kids Help Phone.

Keep in touch with your child’s teacher(s) because they care about your child’s learning and engagement. Stay safe, be well and remain optimistic that better days are ahead. The HPEDSB community will see its finest hour together and with all of you.

Sincerely,

Sean Monteith
Director of Education

Director’s letter to families about Grade 12 graduates during the COVID-19 Pandemic

April 20, 2020

Subject: Update for Grade 12 Graduates during the COVID-19 Pandemic (Pdf version)

Dear All HPEDSB Graduating Grade 12 Students and Families of the Class of 2020:

I want to acknowledge the current reality that we all face through COVID-19, and specifically what you, as graduating students, are facing. This is quite simply a situation that nobody anticipated nor has anyone encountered before. Therefore, if you are feeling uneasy and experiencing uncertainty, you are not alone and have good reason for it; there is nothing we can compare our current challenges to.

As the Director of Education and as a former high school principal, I recognize a number of the important factors that go into a Grade 12 graduating year for you. These include completing the prerequisite courses for admission to colleges, trade schools and universities. There is also emphasis on marks, grades, exams, culminating activities, and even out-of-classroom experiences, such as COOP and OYAP placements. I also recognize that many of you are thinking of applications for scholarships and bursaries as you plan for the future. For many, extra-curricular activities, such as music and drama performances, field trips, out of country school trips and athletics are not happening. Your senior prom and graduation itself are also affected.

All of the above are considerations that go into the workings of a memorable graduating high school year. Our reality remains that there is nothing normal about this school year.

I want to assure you that if you were on track to graduate this school year, you will graduate. In saying that, I want you to know that this is not a reprieve on the work now being provided by your teacher. As a graduating student who was on-track, I encourage you to do the work that will keep you learning and preparing for your future.

I also want to share that the Ministry of Education has announced that for students graduating in June 2020, the requirement of 40 hours of community service is waived. Hours accumulated to date are valid and still count towards awards. All secondary aged students are encouraged to find safe and appropriate ways to be of service to their communities. Community involvement hours that have been completed will be reported on the report cards of graduating students.

I recognize that many of you will have questions around the actual graduation event itself. While there is no denying that graduating from high school is a significant moment in your lives, it will, in all likelihood, look different this year. As we live through and make history together, I encourage you to think of different possibilities to consider. You, your graduating peers, your teachers and all staff in your school are in this together as you celebrate the culmination of your senior year.

Life can, at times, feel and appear unpredictable and even uncertain. As young adults, and our leaders of tomorrow, I ask you to look at the challenges we are facing and consider the big picture—what our priorities are and need to be at this time: our health and the health of our families, our responsibility to each other, and the hope for a long and promising future.

Stay safe and be well.

Sincerely,

Sean Monteith
Director of Education

Minister of Education letter to parents about extended school closures

April 28, 2020–Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education released a letter to all families about extended school closures

Minister Letter to Parents, April 28, 2020 (Pdf)

Text version

I sincerely hope that you, your children, and your families are staying safe and healthy during this unprecedented time.

Over these past weeks, our government has been inspired by you and your children’s eagerness and flexibility in transitioning toward remote learning. We know that this has not been easy, especially with the profound impact COVID-19 has had on your lives and livelihood. The ability to keep our students engaged in their learning journey has been remarkable.

As the Ontario Minister of Education, I am committed to keeping you informed about new developments regarding the impacts of COVID-19, especially when it comes to child care, early learning programs and the status of the current school year. Our government will continue to support you and your children during this difficult period.
Our government’s foremost priority is the safety and well-being of every child and every student, and those who nurture and support them. In considering any options for welcoming students back to an in-class model of learning, our decisions will be based on safety, consistency and the guidance of public health officials. We have been clear and unwavering in our commitment to ensure every measure is taken to protect students’ health and safety before re-entering a classroom.

With that principle in mind, our government has ordered that all public schools in the province will remain closed to students until at least May 31, 2020.

The expert advice of Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health and the COVID-19 Command Table informed our decision. While the modelling that public health experts recently presented shows we are making progress, we are not at a stage in our fight against COVID-19 where students can safely and confidently return to their classrooms.

I know this news is frustrating for many of you. The compassion and commitment of Ontario’s parents have been constant. Since we first announced the suspension of in-person learning on March 12, we have heard from parents across the province on how they are doing their best to encourage continued learning with their children. Parents and families have been an incredible source of comfort as children react uniquely to this global outbreak.

Since the beginning of school closures, our plan for the continuity of learning has evolved significantly and successfully. Most recently, we reintroduced teacher-led learning in the province and students are now being assigned work and resources for continuing their education.

As part of this plan, we have outlined expectations for student work-time in a given week based on learning materials and work assigned by your child’s teacher. I want to emphasize that no student will have their graduation jeopardized by the current outbreak.

Our government has set out the following minimum suggested standard for instruction:

  • Kindergarten to Grade 3: Five hours of work per student per week, with a focus on literacy and math;
  • Grades 4 to 6: Five hours of work per week, with a focus on literacy, math, science, and social studies;
  • Grades 7 to 8: 10 hours of work per week, with a focus on math, literacy, science and social studies; and,
  • Grades 9 to 12: Three hours of work per course per week for semestered students, and 1.5 hours of work per course per week for non-semestered students, with a focus on credit accumulation and graduation.

While it is understandable that there are going to be differences in educational experience during this period, my expectation is that all students will be supported and engaged by their teachers and other education workers. We want to thank educators who have embraced these unusual circumstances to ensure their students continue having every opportunity to excel and achieve their potential. If you have concerns related to the sufficiency of the assigned work or the need for enhanced contact, you are encouraged to reach out to your principal or school board. We want to do everything we can during this outbreak to ensure our students receive a quality learning experience.

To maximize the instructional time for your children, we are converting remaining Professional Activity (PA) and examination days into instructional time. This would ensure that your children remain engaged and learning for the greatest number of days possible during this school year. Perhaps now more than ever, every bit of instructional time matters even if it means just one or two days.

While we try to facilitate instructional time during the school closure period, one of the challenges many families experience is that, even in our digitally-connected age, some students do not have access to the Internet or the technology to access Learn at Home.

I’m pleased to inform you that the Government of Ontario is working with Rogers Communications and Apple to help meet the educational needs of students and families during the COVID-19 outbreak. To date, over 21,000 iPad devices, pre-equipped with free Rogers LTE wireless data have been purchased and distributed to families in need by school boards, with the over $75 million provided by the provincial government through the Grants for Student Needs. In addition, Apple is providing on-going support in French and English to teachers, parents and students, with a collection of resources to support learning and working from home. These 21,000 delivered devices are in addition to the over 200,000 computers and tablets that school boards have provided to students in need during this period.

Rogers is also working with Ontario school boards to provide high-speed, low-cost Internet to subsidized tenants and members of housing partners across Ontario through its Connected for Success program, as well as the Government of Canada Connecting Families initiative.

Partnerships like this – between school boards and tech firms like Rogers Communications and Apple – truly showcase the spirit of Ontario.

While we remain committed to meeting students’ needs in the current school year, our government has already started planning for the 2020-2021 school year. While this school year was certainly unlike anything we have seen before, we need to prepare ourselves for the fact that school may not look or feel the same come September.

With the safety and well-being of your children as our guiding principle, let me assure you that schools, child care centres, and school buses will be required to undergo thorough deep cleaning before being ready to welcome students and early learners back into their physical spaces. Despite the extremely minimal contact risk posed after this length of closure, we want to allow every student to feel safe and confident as they return to school.

In terms of instruction, we will be unveiling our proposed plan for an expanded summer learning program that will enable students to continue their learning through the summer, if desired. While over 100,000 students typically participate in summer learning, we know that many more students may wish to continue their teacher-led learning after this school year formally ends. This proposed plan for expanded summer learning would focus on credit recovery, a new option to upgrade courses, and a focus on gap-closing programs and supports for vulnerable students.

Our government understands that the COVID-19 outbreak has resulted in unsettling times for children. We must continue to pay close attention to the emotional and mental health needs of all students, even if there are no immediate signs of distress.

To that end, our government has directed school boards to ensure mental health workers and professional staff engage with students immediately, as needed, in a secure and safe conversation. We want you to know there are many organizations that provide critical support for children facing mental health concerns or distress. For example, Kids Help Phone 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.

Child care centres and EarlyON Child and Family Programs continue to be closed until at least May 6, 2020. I can assure you the health and safety of your children will be paramount as we make decisions about re-opening and we support Ontario’s outbreak response and recovery plan.

I want to express my appreciation to the teachers and education workers who have been adapting to these new circumstances and doing their best to deliver learning and supports for our students. While we cannot guarantee what the “new normal” will look like in our child care and education systems, I promise you; no decision will be made that does not answer “yes” to the following question: does this promote the health, safety, and well-being of our children and students?

There is simply no question — and no answer —more important.

Stay safe,

The Honourable Stephen Lecce
Minister of Education

Announcing school leadership teams for the 2020-2021 school year

April 29, 2020—Each year at this time, the HPEDSB reviews school leadership strengths and opportunities for realignment, and announces changes at some elementary and secondary schools.

School leaders are pivotal to the development of excellent teaching, effective schools, and ultimately, enhanced student achievement and well-being. As school leaders, principals and vice-principals play a critical role in student learning, second only to teaching. At HPEDSB, the precision and credibility of the school leadership selection process is of the highest calibre.

HPEDSB principals and vice-principals are educators who care about kids. They are also parents, family members and community leaders who have influence on thousands of children and youth during their careers. Being an HPEDSB school leader means being thoughtful and caring when interacting with staff, students and their families. It means being lifelong learners and mentors who act with integrity and responsibility. It means promoting collective accountability and responsibility for student achievement. It also means contributing to welcoming, respecting and inclusive school environments, where parents/guardians are valued as partners in their children’s learning.

Lucille Kyle, Chair of the Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board welcomed the new appointments, saying, “On behalf of the Board of Trustees, we welcome these school leadership appointments and offer the support of all of us for their success. When they are successful, our schools and students will be, as well. If there is one thing that these recent weeks have demonstrated, it is how important leadership is in our communities. We wish all our school leaders the greatest success as they move into or continue in their principal or vice-principal roles.”

Sean Monteith, Director of Education added, “Working in education during today’s challenges and demands is complex, and requires a high-level of commitment from all staff. The role of principal and vice-principal can be the most demanding and also the most rewarding in our schools. If the Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board is to strive towards excellence in all schools, it will require the strength and leadership of its principals and vice-principals. We will be successful if they are successful. I congratulate each and every one of them, and wish them successful careers in administrative leadership.”

Changes for the 2020-2021 school year

Beginning with retirements, the following school leaders will retire at the end of this school year.

  • Ken Manderville, Principal at Eastside Secondary School
  • Ian Press, Principal at Bayside Secondary School
  • Anne Slager, Principal at Deseronto Public School
  • Liane Woodley, Principal at Centennial Secondary School

In addition, Kim Sampson, Principal at Trenton High School, will begin a personal leave of absence effective the end of this school year.

School leadership teams for the 2020-2021 school year

(names in bold represent a change from the current school year)

School Principal Vice-principal
Athol-South Marysburgh Public School (JK-8) Heather McMaster None
Bayside Public School (JK-6) Nicola Wand Todd Hinks
Bayside Secondary School (7-12) Ruth Ellen Cummings Katherine Wannamaker

Brad Wilson

Bird’s Creek Public School (JK-6) Marion Wilson None
Centennial Secondary School (7-12) Marg Thompson Doug Callaghan

Tara Reid

Centre Hastings Secondary School (9-12) Dayna Scaletta Duane Wiltshire
C.M.L. Snider School (JK-8) Tina Jones None
Coe Hill School (JK-6) Rob Lake None
Deseronto Public School (JK-8) Carla McFarlane None
Eastside Secondary School (9-12) Eric Fetterley Therese McMahon

Kelly Tsarouhas

Foxboro Public School (JK-8) Bill Launderville None
Frankford Public School (JK-8) Joanne Barry None
Harmony Public School (JK-8) Kim Myderwyk Laura Maclellan Fraser
Harry J. Clarke Public School (JK-8) Jennifer Slater Teri Cook
Hermon Public School (JK-6) Lisa Resmer (shared with York River Public School) Taras Humen
Kente Public School (JK-8) Annette Huizinga None
Madoc Public School (JK-8) Kim Reid Paul Longhurst
Madoc Township Public School (JK-8) Louise Gunning None
Marmora Public School (JK-8) Steve McFadden Jason Carman
Massassaga-Rednersville Public School (JK-6) Cassandra Bellwood None
Maynooth Public School (JK-6) Lisa McKenna-Sutherland None
North Hastings High School (7-12) Wayne Stewart Lynn Andrews
North Trenton Public School (JK-6) Chad Harvey None
Park Dale School (JK-8) Cassandra Windsor Angela Harvey
Prince Charles School (Belleville) (JK-6) Stephanie Taylor-Harvey Shelley Bonter
Prince Charles Public School (Trenton) (JK-6) Suzanne Cholasta None
Prince Edward Collegiate Institute (JK-12) Andrew Ross Joe Doran

Angie Friel

Dean Goodman

Prince of Wales Public School (JK-8) Derek DeLarge Kelly MacKay
Queen Elizabeth School (JK-8) Tanya Whittaker Twyla Jackson (shared with Queen Victoria School)
Queen Victoria School (JK-6) Kevin MacLaurin Twyla Jackson (shared with Queen Elizabeth School)
Sir John A. Macdonald School (JK-6) Leanne Pond None
Sophiasburgh Central School (JK-8) Lee Mahon-Prophet None
Stirling Public School (JK-8) Susan Carleton-Maines Lisa McGeachy
Susanna Moodie Elementary School (JK-8) Clinton Breau None
Trent River Public School (JK-6) Steve Toffelmire Geoff Said
Trenton High School (7-12) Jackie Waller Adrian Bertrand

Tera Brough

Tweed Elementary School (JK-8) Derek Potts Lindsay Chisholm
Tyendinaga Public School (JK-8) Jennifer Hawkins None
V.P. Carswell Elementary School (JK-6) Earle Wright None
York River Public School (JK-6) Lisa Resmer (Hermon Public School) Susan D’Angelo

For more information, please contact Kerry Donnell, Communications Manager, extension 62354, [email protected]

 

Board Meeting Update #176, April 27, 2020

April 27, 2020—This update provides a summary of the public meeting of the Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board held Monday, April 27, 2020 online through a livestream event. It is an unofficial summary of the meeting; official minutes will be approved at the next meeting in May 2020. A recorded version will be available at the aforementioned link.

Lucille Kyle, Chair of the Board, acknowledged the First Peoples of the territory. This evening we acknowledge that the land on which we are gathered is part of the traditional territory of the Haudenosaunee people. We acknowledge the land to show respect and recognize the First Peoples of the territory; their history, culture and perspectives and as a step towards reconciliation.

Character Moment of Reflection

Each Board meeting opens with a Character Moment of Reflection. At Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board, Growing with Character is our intentional focus on creating safe, caring, respectful and inclusive learning environments where students develop the foundation for good character. Growing with Character is the foundation of the school board strategic plan. Through Growing with Character, we model, teach and expect demonstrations of our eight character traits which are: Caring, Cooperation, Honesty, Humour, Integrity, Respect, Responsibility and Trustworthiness.

This evening Madison Davis, Student Trustee, Centennial Secondary School asked all to reflect on Responsibility: We have a sense of duty to fulfill commitments. We take ownership for our own thoughts and actions. We are reliable and accountable in our words and actions.

Recommendations

New Policy 19: Board Improvement Plan for Student Achievement

Board members adopted new Policy 19: Board Improvement Planning for Student Achievement.

Each year HPEDSB creates a board improvement plan that aligns with the strategic plan and guides the development of school improvement plans. With the renewed vision of “all students first” and a focus on increasing student achievement outcomes, a policy placing student achievement as a core priority of the work of the Board is essential.

This policy establishes the following expectations for all schools and throughout HPEDSB:

  • shared accountability for student achievement;
  • processes leading to effective improvement planning;
  • guidelines for the responsibilities of the Director of Education, senior administration and school administrators; and
  • specific processes for the submission, review, and communication of:
    • the Board Improvement Plan; and
    • school improvement plans.

The policy will be reviewed by May 2021.

Information

HPEDSB Pandemic Operational Report

Sean Monteith, Director of Education provided a verbal update on actions taken to address COVID-19.

Highlights from Director Monteith’s report included the following:

  • The current circumstances demand leadership at the highest level
  • Leadership is coming from everyone at HPEDSB: from educational assistants, secretaries, maintenance workers, teachers, to name just a few
  • The Ministry of Education has extended school closures to at least May 31, 2020 with a re-evaluation expected prior to that date
  • Core operations at HPEDSB are continuing in a proactive way
  • Reassurance about the continuity of learning and connecting with students and families
  • Over 150 different training opportunities have been available to educators and support staff; the HPEDSB Learning at Home website has had more than 150,000 hits over the past three weeks
  • This week was week 4 of no-tech learning activities advertised in the weekly community newspapers
  • Reminder about the need to be concerned about the stresses in households throughout the district at this time ; staff are doing whatever is in their power to meet the needs of students
  • Still, the regular work is continuing: collective bargaining, staffing, budget planning
  • Utilization of (the former) Quinte Secondary School by Quinte Health Care as a COVID-19 assessment centre is expanding to 30,000 square feet; the main office, library, staff room and  cafeteria are being used and needed renovations are being done, paid paid for through provincial funds

Update from The Hastings and Prince Edward Learning Foundation, COVID-19 response

The HPE Learning Foundation  fundraises for programs and services to help students overcome barriers and succeed in school in a non-stigmatizing way.

As of April 20, 2020, the Learning Foundation has provided support to 1,788 students through grocery gift cards valued at $104,500. An additional $32,557 has been provided to food banks for families with children by way of food product and coupons in the following amounts: $28,887 for food; $3,120 for fruit and vegetable coupons; and $550 for egg coupons.

In addition, the Food for Learning Steering Committee has approved $50,000 monthly expenditures until schools reopen. The Food for Home Program will support students during July and August with $58,000 in grocery gift cards. HPELF support to students up to the end of August will be at least $306,720.

Events that would have happened this year are postponed to 2021: Take a Bit out of Hunger, Mainly Music, Food for Learning Student Benefit Auction, and the annual Student Emergency Fund Golf Tournament.

Supporting children’s mental health in HPEDSB, COVID-19 response

Mental health service delivery changed suddenly with the onset of COVID-19. Social workers, and child and youth workers were responsive and quickly organized support systems for students, families and staff. Social workers are reaching out by telephone to students on their caseload and accepting new referrals. Child and youth workers are connecting with vulnerable families. Referrals and direct communication with collateral agencies to assist with pathways to care is ongoing.

This update provided a thorough explanation of the services being provided to students and families during school closures, including the following:

  • Social workers and child and youth workers continue to provide crisis, ASIST suicide intervention services, and tragic event support to students and families including responding after the death of a parent/guardian, providing support to students after the sudden death of a former student, and supporting a family after they lost everything in a fire.
  • Mental health resources and links are provided on an ongoing basis to Communications Services for posting on the HPEDSB web and social media sites.
  • School staff, students and families are being provided community resources, supports and links including mental health resources, crisis lines, financial, parenting, and another supports.
  • Communications Services is assisting social workers and child and youth workers with the production of videos to support student mental health and well-being.
  • Food security was immediately identified as an urgent need for many families. Child and youth workers, social workers, administrators and school staff assisted with providing lists of families who may be in need, and assisting with the delivery of grocery cards.
  • School staff, child and youth workers, and social workers assisted with the distribution of technology to students and families. Students and families are being supported in accessing on-line learning as our mental health teams work in collaboration with teachers.
  • Tier 1 work continues through the posting of social emotional learning strategies prepared and provided for elementary schools by child and youth workers including activities and videos that can be used on Google Classroom (e.g., read alouds, mindfulness activities) from programs and resources such as FRIENDS, Stress Lessons, and Everyday Mental Health Classroom Resource. Child and youth workers worked with staff to create a collage of pictures for students and also sent cards through Canada Post to families and students with whom they have a connection.
  • Social workers and child and youth workers have quickly learned Google Classroom and Google Meet and are participating in virtual staff meetings, student success team meetings, and team meetings in order to ensure there is clear communication and pathways to care for students and families. Child and youth workers have been building, populating, and maintaining a Google Document to hold and share the numerous resources that they use.
  • Trauma training specific to the pandemic was provided on April 21 and 23, 2020 to HPEDSB social workers, child and youth workers, guidance heads, social workers from neighbouring boards and community partners. School Mental Health Ontario (SMHO) is working with mental health leads to support and train social workers to implement virtual counselling services.
  • Additional training opportunities being offered include Triple P Webinar (teach Triple P virtually), Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) for Educators Level 1, Autism course through the Geneva Centre, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) training and Infant Mental Health 101.

This report further provided an update on the 2019-2020 Mental Health and Addictions Strategy and Action Plan.

Planning for the New HPEDSB Strategic Plan 

The Director of Education provided an update on planning for the new HPEDSB strategic plan. The director has been working with two aspiring leaders, Ruth Ellen Cummings, Vice-Principal at Centre Hastings Secondary School and Rob McFadden, System Lead in Student Services to review the feedback from the Thoughtexchange process. They have boiled it down to five main themes from thousands of ideas. Trustees expressed interest in meeting with the Sean, Ruth Ellen and Rob to begin synthesizing the data into strategic priorities and goals.

Planning for student trustees for the 2020-2021 school year

The Director of Education referred to Policy 3C: Student Representation on the Board and the process for selecting student trustees for the new school year (August 1, 2020 to July 31, 2021). The normal process, which requires new student trustees to be selected by April 30, 2020, will not work during COVID-19. The director asked trustees and the student trustees for their ideas on how to move forward.

Report from trustees

Highlights from this report included the following:

  • The Ontario Public School Boards’ Association ratified the ETFO provincial agreement earlier this month
  • The OPSBA vote for the provincial OSSTF agreement is scheduled for May 21, 2020
  • The trustee representative for the OPSBA Board of Directors will be voted on at the public Board meeting in May 2020; trustees are encouraged to put their name forward

Questions from trustees

  1. What is the status of secondary school exams? Formal exams will not take place as per an amendment to the Education Act regulation. This applies even if schools are open after May 31, 2020.
  2. Can the Board of Trustees participate in a self-assessment as per Module 21 of the OPSBA learning sessions? Trustees are asked to report back to Alison Kelly about participating in a book club style of learnng.

The next public Board meeting is Monday, May 25, 2020, online through a livestream event at 7:00 p.m.

For more information, please contact Kerry Donnell, Communications Manager, extension 62354, [email protected]

Public school board, Quinte Health Care and City of Belleville partner to open Quinte Secondary School temporarily as an assessment centre

Joint news release on behalf of Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board, Quinte Heath Care and the City of Belleville

April 20, 2020—The COVID-19 pandemic has three organizations working together for the benefit of the community.

Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board and Quinte Health Care have partnered to open portions of Quinte Secondary School in central Belleville temporarily as an assessment centre.

Individuals who have been pre-screened for COVID-19 and who meet certain criteria are being directed to the temporary assessment centre for further testing. It is important for the public to know that it is not a walk-in clinic.

The City of Belleville was a major contributor by providing supplies and equipment, as well as providing expertise for traffic flow, and fire prevention and planning.

The continued need and viability of the COVID-19 assessment centre will be re-evaluated by Quinte Health Care on a regular basis.

Quinte Secondary School was closed at the end of June 2018 following a public accommodation review and decision to consolidate it with then-named Moira Secondary School, now known as Eastside Secondary School.

Quinte Health Care reminds the community that if anyone has symptoms of COVID-19, don’t go anywhere yet, stay away from others and do the following:

  1. If you are able, do the online assessment.
  2. Call your health care provider or the Hastings Prince Edward Public Health at 613-966-5500; TTY 711; 1-800-267-2803 or Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000. 80% of people with this virus have mild to moderate symptoms, need to isolate themselves at home, and do not need to be tested for the virus.
  3. Your health care provider, public health or Telehealth Ontario will either refer you to your local assessment centre or have you call the central COVID-19 Assessment Centre (CAC) hotline at 613-961-5544 to seek additional care after being screened. Phone lines are answered between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., 7 days/week.
  4. Individuals deemed to have moderate symptoms will be scheduled for a virtual consultation with a doctor (either over the phone or online) or scheduled for an on-site appointment at a local COVID-19 Assessment Centre (CAC). Not all appointments at a CAC will result in swabbing/testing—only those meeting the Ministry of Health criteria may be swabbed.
  5. Individuals deemed to have severe symptoms, requiring hospital-level care, will be sent to the hospital.

If you are you looking for general information about COVID-19, including symptoms, tips for self-isolation or number of cases locally, please visit the Hastings Prince Edward Public Health website.

Quotes

Lucille Kyle, Chair, Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board

“The COVID-19 pandemic has thrust all of us into this unfamiliar territory. The only seemingly consistent thread through it all has been uncertainty. As we continue to support our students, our staff, and our families through this unprecedented challenge, the Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board also views itself as a regional leader and partner in being there for our communities. When QHC approached us to utilize Quinte Secondary School and with an eye to a bright future for that facility, we felt ethically responsible to play our part.”

 

Jeff Hohenkerk, QHC Vice-President

“QHC is extremely appreciative to be working in close partnership with several local community partners including the HPE District School Board and municipal leaders as our communities respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. This community-wide collaborative approach is aimed at meeting the health care needs of individuals in our community who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 in a way that minimizes the risk for our dedicated front-line health care providers and for the patients we serve.”

Mitch Panciuk, Mayor, City of Belleville

“Part of why we’re such a great community is because of our partnerships. Hastings and Prince Edward School Board, Quinte Health Care and the City of Belleville all worked together to establish the COVID-19 Assessment Centre here in our city. The location is safe, accessible and meets all the requirements for such a facility. Residents throughout Belleville and the region are now being referred here for testing which is helping us get through this challenging time. I want to thank everyone involved in making this happen.”

– end –

For information, please contact:

  • Kerry Donnell, Communications Manager, Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board, 613.966.1170, extension 2354, [email protected]
  • Catherine Walker, Director, Communications and Organizational Development, Quinte Health Care, 613.969.7400, extension 2689, [email protected]
  • Marilyn Warren, Communications Coordinator, City of Belleville, 613.967.3200, extension 3263, [email protected]

Letter to families about the renovation and addition at Centre Hastings Secondary School

April 9, 2020

Subject: Renovation and addition at Centre Hastings Secondary School (Pdf version)

Dear Centre Hastings Secondary School and Madoc Public School Families:

We are writing with an update about the renovation and addition project at Centre Hastings Secondary School. During this time of pause in our home, school and work lives, we acknowledge that the current circumstances related to COVID-19 are beyond control.

Throughout this school year, you have heard us talk about putting all students first. The health, safety, and well-being of our students and staff are top priorities as we all engage in new ways of learning, and also as we plan for the consolidation of Centre Hastings Secondary School and Madoc Public School.

The most recent announcements from the Premier of Ontario that schools will be closed until May means a shift in focus. At this time, all efforts at the school and Board levels are on planning for and supporting students and families for learning at home.

The additional announcements that workplaces and construction sites are shut down means the renovation and addition project is on hold. A project of this scope and magnitude takes an immense amount of time, planning and school board personnel to make it happen—all of which are now focused on supporting students and families with learning at home.

We have been part of meaningful discussions with the school board senior team about next steps for the renovation and addition project. This collaborative approach has enabled us to share our school community perspectives.

Although this project pause will cause a delay, planning and work will resume when we are all back to calmer and more familiar times. At this time, we anticipate that our new school will open in September 2021. We will continue to work together to create a welcoming and inclusive, modern K-12 community school that will serve the students of Madoc and the broader community for years to come.

We encourage you to keep in touch with your child’s teacher(s) about learning at home and please feel free to contact one of us with questions about the renovation project.

We are committed to being as responsive and forthcoming with accurate information as we possibly can. Thank you for your understanding as we navigate this most unusual time in history.

Take care and be well.

Dayna Scaletta
Principal, Centre Hastings Secondary School

Ruth-Ellen Cummings
Vice-Principal, Centre Hastings Secondary School

Kim Reid
Principal, Madoc Public School

Paul Longhurst
Vice-Principal, Madoc Public School

Director’s letter to families about learning at home and access to technology

April 7, 2020

Subject: Update on learning at home and access to technology (Pdf version)

Dear Students, Parents/Guardians, Families and Staff:

In these uncertain times, I want to let you know that, first and foremost, our thoughts continue to be the health of everyone in our HPEDSB family. We urge you to continue practicing physical distancing in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

I am communicating with our entire school community to share primarily two key messages. The first is to inform you of what is happening this week and in the weeks ahead in terms of your child’s learning and progress, and teacher contact with all of our students. I will also speak to accessing technology, for families who may require assistance.

Our teachers and school principals/vice-principals are eager to reconnect and re-engage with their students. By now, your child’s teacher will have contacted you about what to anticipate for learning expectations. This is in response to a letter to parents from the Minister of Education last week. The letter outlined the minimum expectations for teachers to provide school work/learning materials, which are as follows:

  • JK-Grade 6 will be provided with 5 hours of work per student, per week;
  • Grades 7-8 will be provided with 10 hours of work per student, per week; and
  • Grades 9-12 will be provided with 3 hours per course, per student, per week.

I also want you to know that we are aware of many families who have limited access to, or are totally without technology at home. Principals have been in touch with families who they know could use assistance in this area. As a result, next week we will be distributing school-owned Chromebooks to our most needy families on a loaner basis. I want to reassure our families and students that any laptop or Chromebook that is loaned to you will have undergone a cleaning and met the required local public health cleansing protocol before being distributed.

The other matter I wish to raise is parent/staff expectations of their children learning at home, and ensuring that report cards, marks/grades and assessment (as it might have occurred in the normal classroom experience) are approached from a very non-traditional perspective. We are not living, working, teaching and learning in the “regular” classroom environment. Assignments, lessons and assessments are going to look very different. While we maintain high expectations, it is a cause of great concern for me, as Director of Education, that the stress level in households is exponentially increasing during these incredibly challenging times.

Calls to the Kids-Help Phone have increased in recent weeks by 350% nationally and calls provincially to domestic violence centres are seeing dramatic spikes. The last thing our families need is an additional stressor by feeling that their children are not keeping up, or have concerns about marks. I ask—both as a teacher myself and as a father—for all of us to do the best we can to be reasonable and understand that every one of us is working in very challenging environments.

We must never lose perspective that our kids need us to be there for them, now more than ever.

image of Learning at Home newspaper ad
Look in your free community newspaper this week and in the weeks to come for a full-page colour ad with No-Tech Learning Activities of the Week.

We, at the Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board, will continue to establish clear parameters and support structures for our staff, families and our students. In doing this, we need to always be mindful of what is reasonable to expect and what is reasonable to ask of our kids in this environment. As a colleague once reminded, “We only come this way once.” Let’s remember that kids are kids.

To support families and students, we continue to make available two at-home learning/engagement options: one is our HPEDSB Learning at Home website and the other is our full-page, colour ads in the free weekly community newspapers. The resources and activities at both are educator created and verified, and are listed by grade. The newspaper ads, in particular, feature a series of language and mathematics activities for K-12 that can easily be done at home. Both the online resources and newspaper ads are available at the above link.

Our website, www.HPEschools.ca contains the most current information we have about COVID-19, including tips sheets for families and educators, links to public health agencies, and perhaps most important, contact information for Kids Help Phone.

I encourage you to keep in touch with your child’s teacher(s), as they care about your child’s learning and engagement. Stay safe and be well.

Sincerely,

Sean Monteith
Director of Education

Teaching and learning to resume Monday, April 6, 2020

Updated April 21, 2020 (iPads)—The 21,000 iPads recently announced by the Ministry of Education are devices some school boards are deploying as part of an Apple short-term lease program. Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board did not participate in that program. Instead, we deployed 3,500 Chromebooks to some families. We are in the process of procuring other devices for student Internet access and will have more to share once those devices are in our hands.

Updated April 4, 2020 (Chromebooks)

April 3, 2020—Teaching and learning will resume for thousands of HPEDSB educators and students on Monday, April 6, 2020.

Over the past few weeks, educators have been preparing the possibility of remote learning pending the provincial school closures being extended beyond the original date of April 5, 2020. With the provincial announcement earlier this week that schools will now be closed to students until May 4, 2020, plans are ready to roll out next Monday through a phased-in approach.

Phase 1 covers the period April 6-17, 2020. During that time, the focus will be on meeting Ministry of Education-designated hours of work per student, per week, as well as developing learning tasks to meet the profiles of students, including supporting students with special education needs by providing appropriate accommodations and modifications.

Earlier this week the minister of education announced the following expectations for the amount of student work:

  • JK-Grade 6 will be provided with 5 hours of work per student, per week;
  • Grades 7-8 will be provided with 10 hours of work per student, per week; and
  • Grades 9-12 will be provided with 3 hours per course, per student, per week.

What parents/guardians can expect from April 6-17, 2020

FROM TEACHERS

  • Teachers will maintain weekly, two-way communication with students and families.
  • Learning tasks/plans will be available to families by Monday afternoons.
  • Teachers will check in on the progress of student learning, and support students and families through unanticipated challenges;
    • this can be done by the teacher posting to an already established online learning platform that students and families are familiar with; or
    • if a teacher is new to the digital/remote learning platform, they may connect with families through email, a phone call or text.

FROM SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS

  • School administrators will communicate individually with families by selecting a different sample of families each week. This approach will enable administrators to do the following:
    • support the connections and learning experiences to ensure continuity of learning;
    • gain a school -based awareness of successes associated with this remote teaching approach; and
    • find out about any unanticipated challenges families are experiencing when accessing learning tasks provided by teachers.

What’s happened up to now to prepare for remote learning

In preparation for remote learning, this week educators had access to online refresher training through an HPEDSB-specially designed website. They could participate in online training sessions, book a meeting with a trainer, participate in peer-to-peer collaboration sessions, access online versions of textbooks and other resources that would normally be used in the classroom, or watch tutorials and videos.

Schools are in the process of surveying families to find out who needs technology. Chromebooks will be available for those in most need.

HPEDSB Learning at Home website (for high-tech resources and low-tech activities)

HPEDSB is supporting students and families with educator curated and created at-home learning activities in two ways:

  1. access to over 250 online resources for anyone with access to technology and the Internet; and
  2. access to 150 no-tech activities that can be done without screen time.

image of newspaper adWhile both are available through the HPEDSB Learning at Home website, a unique approach is in place for the no-tech activities.

Starting the week of March 30, 2020, the free, weekly community newspapers feature a full-page, colour advertisement with a series of language and mathematics activities for K-12. The newspaper ads will continue until such time as they are not needed.

For more information, please contact:
Kerry Donnell, Communications Manager, 613.966.1170 or 1.800.267.4350, extension 62354, [email protected]

 

 

 

Minister of Education letter to parents about the next phase of Learn at Home

April 1, 2020–Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education released a letter to all families about COVID-19 and next phase of Learn at Home.

Minister Letter to Parents, March 31, 2020 (Pdf)

Text version

Dear Parents,

I am writing to you today exactly two weeks since our government declared a State of Emergency in the province.

I know this period has not been easy for you or your children, especially as the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak begin to have increasing effects on your day-to-day lives and livelihoods.

The battle against COVID-19 has not been easy, but I continue to be incredibly inspired by the bravery and steadfastness you and your children have demonstrated in our efforts to stop the spread of this outbreak. Since Cabinet made the decision to close the public-school system on March 12, we have seen cascading steps taken by the public and private sectors to protect our most vulnerable.

I want to assure you that, as Minister of Education, the health and safety of your children remains our government’s utmost priority; there is simply no priority more critical. Every decision we make is rooted in the fundamental commitment to safeguard your children’s well-being. We are incredibly grateful for the considerable understanding and flexibility you and your children have shown during this period of school closure.

With that commitment in mind, today our government decided to extend the closure of public schools in the province to May 4, along with child care centres and private schools until April 13. In ordinary times, this would be a difficult decision. However, given that Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health concurs that this is in the best interest of you and your children’s’ health, this decision was clear and obvious.

While this announcement is consistent with public health policy, I know that this will raise questions about what your children will be doing over the coming weeks with regards to their education, as in-school instruction will not be taking place.

Today, I was proud to announce our government’s plan for the next phase of Learn at Home and how we are supporting students, families, and educators during this period.

To start, we have instructed school boards that, by Monday, April 6, teacher-led learning will resume across the province. Students will begin receiving communication from their teachers and school board staff this week to determine the best way your child can continue learning during this period. For our youngest learners, especially, I am asking you to lend a helping-hand in facilitating these initial conversations with educators when they begin reaching out. This early communication will help ensure all students can participate actively and fully in the rich online learning strategy. We have designed the strategy based on the technology and resources that currently exist at home.

I also know many families in the province may not have access to the technology and broadband connection needed to participate fully in online learning. To remedy this situation, our government has instructed local school boards to offer their existing inventory of computers and devices to students who do not have in-home access. Boards will work with the Ministry to develop a plan to expand the technology to those who need it. I also want to recognize that boards have explored alternative options for students’ access to technology, including engaging in regular conversations with telecommunications providers to determine what options exist to allow families to access Ontario’s world-leading online learning resources.

This is especially necessary for rural and remote communities where connections might not be optimal. I will update you as these conversations regarding technology and broadband options continue to evolve.
As part of this plan for online learning, our government has outlined the minimum expectations for student work-time in a given week based on learning materials and work assigned by your student’s teacher. These expectations, for each teacher, include:

  • Kindergarten to grade three: Five hours of work per student per week, with a focus on literacy and math;
  • Grades four to six: Five hours of work per week, with a focus on literacy, math, science, and social studies;
  • Grades seven to eight: 10 hours of work per week, with a focus on math, literacy, science and social studies; and,
  • Grades nine to 12: Three hours of work per course per week for semestered students, and 1.5 hours of work per course per week for non-semestered students, with a focus on credit accumulation and graduation.

Based on these expectations, this second phase of LearnAtHome will require students to adopt academic discipline and commitment to ensure that they can experience continued academic growth and achievement. I know our students are up to the task.

While these are unprecedented times, I encourage you to support and enable your children to fully commit to the strong learning program we have created for this period of school closure. Your support, inspiration, and motivation will continue to prepare your children to succeed in their learning journey.

I know this period is concerning for parents of students in a graduating cohort. I have said before, and I want to reiterate: no student will have their graduation jeopardized by the developments of COVID-19. I am working closely with the Honourable Ross Romano, Minister of Colleges and Universities, and the post-secondary sector. Our government will ensure students, who plan on entering college or university in September 2020, have our full support to accomplish this goal.

As students continue to accumulate credits during this closure period, we will provide further information about how students can align with the post-secondary application process in the coming weeks.

I understand parents with children who may have special education needs, have concerns about at-home learning and the physical absence of educational support staff and resources during this period. I am firmly and unequivocally committed to ensuring that all students continue to have access to the wrap-around supports that promote continued learning and development.

Our government has instructed boards to enable immediate restoration of communication between students and educational assistants, paraprofessionals, and other education workers to reintroduce the continuity of professional support to students. We will not allow any student to fall through the cracks during this unprecedented time. My Ministry is equipping educators with the tools and supports they need to maximize the opportunities and achievements of all learners in the province in an online setting.

While much of the discourse around COVID-19 focuses on the impacts on physical health, I want to acknowledge the significant effects this outbreak may be having on the mental health of Ontarians. Particularly, our youngest learners may be struggling to fully understand and process what it means to their lives, families, friends, and communities. This may very well be a time of fear and anxiety for your child, even if it is not readily apparent.

While you and your children may have many questions about what the future holds, I want to express my heartfelt hope that all children know there are a variety of supports to help process and overcome the multitude of emotions and reactions they may be facing during this period. Our government has directed school boards to ensure mental health workers and professional staff are ready to engage with students immediately in a secure and safe conversation. We continue to support the incredible work being done to provide wrap-around counselling and resources to students across the province.

We have numerous organizations providing critical and professional support for children facing mental health concerns or distress. For example, Kids Help Phone 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.

As we move forward in the next phase of school closure, the expectations of parents, guardians, students, educators, and my Ministry will continue to rise. Having already met countless driven and determined students, educators, and educational workers across the province, I know that we are ready to meet the challenges ahead.

To you, and your child, I want to extend my sincere and unwavering commitment to ensuring every student in the province can continue learning in Ontario’s world-class education system. Our collective commitment to inspiring, supporting, and uplifting our future leaders during this time is unwavering.

Sincerely,

The Honourable Stephen Lecce
Minister of Education

Director’s letter to families about extended school closures

March 31, 2020

Subject: HPEDSB school closures during the month of April (COVID-19 pandemic) (Pdf version)

Dear Students, Parents/Guardians, Families and Staff:

Let me start by sharing that, as an experienced educator in Ontario for the past three decades, I have never seen nor experienced anything quite like what we are going through now in public education. But perhaps more importantly, and more meaningful to most of you, as a father of two sons, I am sharing the same concerns and conversations that many of you are having. It is a time that we will look back on years from now, and talk about how we managed to work through it, how we became closer as a community, and I hope, how we, as families, became closer, as well. As I have remarked numerous times in the last few weeks, we are witnessing and living history in real-time, right before our eyes.

Earlier today, I participated in a conference call with the Minister of Education, Deputy Minister of Education, other Directors of Education in the province and Chairs of Ontario school boards. The nature of the call was to communicate expectations and provide direction as we prepare for a prolonged closure of all schools.

Today the Premier announced that all Ontario school boards are to close schools to teachers until May 1, 2020 and students until May 4, 2020. This unprecedented closure is based on the advice and evidence of the Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health. There is no further information at this time regarding whether the closures will go past that date. The decision is solely based on ensuring and protecting the health and safety of the people of Ontario, including students, staff, families and our communities.

We, at the HPEDSB, realize that these closures present numerous challenges for learning, including having access to technology, graduations and the student school experience, in general. I also recognize that you have many questions, and I commit to all of you that we will try to answer and communicate information that is prudent, factual, and responsive to our school communities.

 Accordingly, the HPEDSB is taking the following actions at this time:

  • changing our entire approach to providing education and way of doing business during this extended school closure period;
  • providing a robust and credible continuity of learning environment that will be different from the regular classroom experience by utilizing technology, virtual and online learning, and remote teacher-student contact;
  • developing a plan for controlled access to schools to allow staff to retrieve professional materials and learning supplies, and families to access student personal belongings;
  • making available an inventory of credible online learning resources through our HPEDSB Learning at Home website for families to use at home, and staff and students to be able to use during this closure period; and
  • effective immediately, making available, through ads in weekly community newspapers, educator-created learning activities that do not require screen time or technology.

I recognize that you want to know more about the short- and long-term future of education and the many related concerns, such as supporting your children with special needs, accessing technology at home, teacher-student contact time, the future of students who are on track to graduate this June and even co-op placements. We are working very hard to address all of these scenarios during the most challenging situation many of us have faced, and amid a constantly changing environment.

We, at the Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board, also recognize that many of you are facing challenges in accessing food, clothing, technology and even safe housing. We accept that, throughout this time, the role of HPEDSB is changing and that we are being called upon, more and more, to assist in providing basic necessities for an increasing number of our families. We commit to serving this social responsibility.

The Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board also strongly believes that our decisions must be made through an equity perspective.

My staff and I are committed to maintaining communication, timely updates, and clear and supportive actions under these incredibly challenging times. As I said in a previous letter home to families and staff, we need to safeguard the following priorities in this order of importance:

  1. our health, and the health of our families and loved ones;
  2. our safety and the basic necessities we are fortunate to have, and that others may not have;
  3. our responsibility to each other, especially our most vulnerable; and
  4. our children’s education and their academic needs.

With your support and the support of my team, we will approach a very uncertain future together, but one that we will overcome together, buoyed by resiliency and the strength of our families and communities.

I ask that you take all the necessary precautions and safety measures, and I wish you to all take very good care of yourself and each other.

Sincerely,

Sean Monteith
Director of Education

FAQs for COVID-19, school closures and more

Last updated September 1, 2020

These FAQs are for HPEDSB students and families. They will be updated as often as required. Please be aware that we do not have all the answers and say so if that is the case.

School and school closure FAQs

    1. Premier Doug Ford announced that schools will not open on Monday, April 6, 2020 as previously thought. When are they going to open? As of now, we don’t know when schools will re-open. This is all happening so fast. We will share more as soon as we know more.
    2. If schools close indefinitely will students start in their present grade or will they advance? For K-8, students will progress to the next grade in September. We are awaiting specific direction from the Ministry of Education for secondary school credits. Nothing has been communicated regarding this for any grades.
    3. If school is closed indefinitely, is there a plan for holding graduation ceremonies? We do not know the answer at this time and will share more as soon as we can.
    4. When can students get their belongings from school/their lockers? Not at this time. All schools have been cleaned and disinfected, and are locked until April 5, 2020 at this point. No one is allowed to enter the buildings.
    5. My child uses a SEA laptop and it is at the school. Can we get access to it? Not at this time. All schools have been cleaned and disinfected, and are locked until April 5, 2020 at this point. No one is allowed to enter the buildings.
    6. Can the school loan equipment for my child to use at home? Not at this time. All schools have been cleaned and disinfected, and are locked until April 5, 2020 at this point. No one is allowed to enter the buildings.
    7. For online learning, we don’t have a computer/we don’t have access to the Internet. What other options are available? We are investigating options and will share more as soon as possible.
    8. How can I get a copy of my transcript? We are unable to process transcripts at this time.
    9. When will my Learn While You Earn (co-op) start again? All LWYE Co-op is suspended until further notice.
    10. I am a student and have forgotten or am locked out of my login account, how do I get the password? Email [email protected] with your name and school with a request for your password to be reset.
    11. Will students receive report cards? We do not know the answer at this time and will share more as soon as we can.
    12. How will students be prepared for learning next year? There are presently two sources for online resources: HPEDSB Learning at Home resources; and Ministry of Education resources through TVO/TFO (linked off the HPEDSB resources page).
    13. Even if schools reopen and I’m not comfortable sending my child, will they be penalized? The re-entry plan for schools opening is being considered. We will share more as soon as we can.
    14. Will post-secondary institutions accept my child? The Ministry of Education is in consultation with the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities to plan for high school graduates going to post-secondary in the fall.
    15. My son was in a co-op placement. Will he still get his credits? Students will not be penalized for not achieving credits due to the school closures.
    16. I know the government is offering online learning, but there is no way I can help my children with science or math. How are they supposed to learn on their own? There are presently two sources for online resources: HPEDSB Learning at Home resources; and Ministry of Education resources through TVO/TFO (linked off the HPEDSB resources page). These resources are for voluntary use to support learning during this time and will not be assessed or evaluated by educators.
    17. Will students be disadvantaged who don’t do the online learning? No. Online learning is not mandatory. It is strongly recommended that students try to keep to a learning routine as much as possible.There are presently two sources for online resources: HPEDSB Learning at Home resources; and Ministry of Education resources through TVO/TFO (linked off the HPEDSB resources page). These resources are for voluntary use to support learning during this time and will not be assessed or evaluated by educators.
    18. My child’s teacher already had a digital aspect to their class through Google classroom/other. Can my child continue with work that was already shared or does he have to stop that work and start a whole new Ministry course for two weeks? Students can continue with online learning previously provided by their teacher.
    19. Is financial support available assist with the costs of educational resources as a result of Ontario’s declared emergency to stop the spread of COVID-19? Yes, to a limit, through the Ontario government. Find out more at https://www.iaccess.gov.on.ca/FamilyAppWeb/public/index.xhtml

Quinte Adult Education (QAE) FAQs

    1. Is Quinte Adult Education open? Not at this time. Questions can be sent to QAE through email at  [email protected]
    2. Can adult students still register? Yes, by going to www.quinteadulteducation.ca.
    3.  Are you offering correspondence courses? At this time we have moved all our courses online. Find out more at www.quinteadulteducation.ca.
    4. Where can I find the courses offered by QAE? Visit our website at www.quinteadulteducation.ca.
    5. Who can I call if I have a question?  Email [email protected] with a phone number and we will contact you.
    6. I have finished all my lessons and need to complete the exam, what do I do now? Final exams will be delivered online. Email [email protected] to set up your final exam.

For more information, please contact:
Kerry Donnell, Communications Manager, 613.966.1170 or 1.800.267.4350, extension 62354, [email protected]

Last updated: October 22, 2020 at 2:28 pm
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