We know parents have a lot of questions about what next year will look like.  How will we ensure the health and safety of students? What are the cleaning protocols? Will masks be worn by staff and students? How will physical distancing work? Will class time be staggered? Will distance learning continue? These are just some of the many questions we have received and there are many more. 

All of these questions are valid and we want to assure you that we will answer them once we have more information from the Ministry of Education and the Health Unit - we must take our lead from both of these organizations. The Ministry of Education has committed to providing school boards across Ontario with a template, which we will use to develop a plan that ensures health and safety as the first priority, but also provides your child with a chance to learn, grow and be excited about starting Kindergarten. We have the benefit of reviewing best practices from other jurisdictions who had students return to school this spring. We will be able to carefully review what has worked well and what we should perhaps do differently. We are planning for another Livestream Q&A session in August so that we can answer your questions directly once we have a better understanding of what the school year will look like ourselves. 

Medical experts (including SickKids Hospital in Toronto) are having serious conversations about why returning to school in September is important, despite the potential risks associated with COVID-19. Distance learning and not attending a physical school are already have a significant impact on the learning, mental health, social and emotional development of students.  

The SMCDSB agrees with the medical experts and we sincerely hope that all of our students (especially our Kindergarten students) will join us at our physical schools in at least some capacity this September. We of course respect and encourage families to make their own informed decisions, based on what is right for you and your child. Please know we are committed to providing timely and transparent information and working with parents to provide our students with the best possible learning experience, with safety at the heart of all our decisions.