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Schools to remain closed; school board ready

Schools will remain closed for the rest of this school year.

Making the announcement Tuesday morning, the province noted it is planning for the reopening of schools for the 2020-21 school year, the gradual reopening of child care, and the opening of summer day camps subject to the continuing progress in trends of key public health indicators during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Nothing is more important than protecting our kids in this province, bar none over anything,” said Premier Doug Ford. “Today’s announcement gives parents certainty, knowing that their children can continue to learn safely at home and that we have a plan for child care as we work to gradually reopen more of our economy, when it is safe to do so.”

All students who were on track to graduate from secondary school before the initial school closure order was made in March will be able to graduate, and all students will receive report cards.

Sean Monteith

Hastings Prince Edward District School Board Director of Education Sean Monteith sent a newletter to parents to tell them the board is committed to learning.

“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.”

Monteith said it is equally important to publicly reaffirm the commitment to learning, with clear expectations staff reach out to all families.

“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.”

With this in mind, the approach to virtual learning remains in effect, with emphasis on student-teacher contact unchanged, and commitment to supporting the whole needs of families.

“Our website, contains the most current information including tips sheets for families and educators, and perhaps most important, contact information for Kids Help Phone,” he said.

Meanwhile, later this summer, the government will announce a plan to strengthen learning and safety protocols to enable students and staff to return to in-class instruction for the 2020-21 school year. That plan is to be bolstered by an enhanced province-wide virtual learning program that will allow all students to learn, regardless of the challenges that may transpire in the coming months.

Private schools, licensed child care centres and EarlyON programs will also remain closed through Stage 1 of the Framework for Reopening the Province.

Emergency child care will continue to operate and provide support for health care and other frontline workers. A gradual reopening of child care is expected to begin when the province is ready to transition to Stage 2 based on public health criteria, which will include robust safety protocols.

As trends in key public health indicators continue to improve, summer day camps, both indoor and outdoor, may be permitted in July and August of this year with strict health and safety guidelines to be developed in partnership with local public health, the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development, and municipalities. Overnight camps will not be permitted to operate in the summer of 2020.

The province also unveiled an expanded seven-point summer learning plan to ensure Ontario students have opportunity to continue their learning through the summer months.

Summer learning programs are being expanded to reach the most students in Ontario history, to ensure they remain on track to start the 2020-21 school year with the confidence and knowledge required to succeed.

To support at-home learning, the government is leveraging all tools, resources, technologies and services to assist school boards to deliver equitable and effective learning through access to technology and Internet connectivity, especially for students in rural and remote parts of Ontario.

To help improve access to remote learning, Ontario is partnering with 34 organizations and private businesses, along with school boards, to address key needs among educators, students and their families during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Filed Under: Local News

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