Back to School during the pandemic ...a discussion thread

hdrolfe

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 16, 2014
From what I understand, the week of September 1st is designated for
PD days, so I guess teachers and staff would potentially get up to one full week of necessary training.

First day of school for students will be on September 8th, after the Labour Day weekend. I would be surprised to hear any schools would be starting before then.
It's strange because my school board (actually both in Ottawa) have said the first day of school will be September 3rd and it was approved by the Ministry, so now I am unsure what will happen. I hope it's the 3rd as I booked time off to take him and make sure it goes well. Though I hope we get the class lists before hand as well as who his teachers will be and such. The normal way (they put up lists on the school windows and everyone crowds around) wouldn't really work. The teachers are supposed to get 3 gets to "learn what they need to know".
 

OnceUponATime15

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Oct 14, 2013
When Doug Ford made the announcement this afternoon he said that the children would be returning to classes five days a week beginning September 8th.
 


uandmfan

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Joined
Aug 2, 2014
When Doug Ford made the announcement this afternoon he said that the children would be returning to classes five days a week beginning September 8th.
Some boards had planned to go back before Labour day while others hadn't. Our Ottawa Board changed our start date from September 1st to 3rd recently and moved some PD days around to do so. I think they would either have to extend the school year or move more PS days around to start the 8th or there won't be enough instructional days scheduled.

Also, the French Boards always go back before Labour Day. I can't see that changing.
 
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  • OnceUponATime15

    Disney frequent flyer..
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    Oct 14, 2013
    Some boards had planned to go back before Labour day while others hadn't. Our Ottawa Board changed our start date from September 1st to 3rd recently and moved some PD days around to do so. I think they would either have to extend the school year or move more PS days around to start the 8th or there won't be enough instructional days scheduled.

    Also, the French Boards always go back before Labour Day. I can't see that changing.
    I took a quick look at all the GTA board websites .. all are showing September 8/20
    I thought maybe I had misrepresented so I watched the video of the press conference again.
    Here are the words from the mouth of the Premier at today’s press conference. At 33 minutes in, he gets to announcing the date.

     

    star72232

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 6, 2013
    Waterloo posted some idea of what they had planned for the hybrid high school model. Instead of every other day, they were looking at a week on-week off model (running Thursday to Wednesday). They also put out the idea of a quadmester schedule (only 2 classes each quad, 4 quads in the year), with only one class each day. If they do the 4 class semester model, it was suggested that it would be one class per day instead of 4 shorter classes (that would certainly limit contacts).

    I’ve got 2 in HS (in different schools - of course my DD just had to do the IB program...) and 2 in elementary. Even though my youngest won’t officially need to wear a mask (Gr 3), I will be sending them, expecting them to be worn. If enough parents are clear with their expectations that their child wear a mask, hopefully the classes will be safer.
     

    pixie_mtl

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Aug 22, 2008
    My daughter is enrolled in competitive swimming as part of a Sport-études program (high-school) and I am still waiting to know how things will unfold on the Quebec side. Both the FNQ (fédération de natation du Québec) and the new model of school governance (we no longer have school boards) have yet to communicate how this back-2-school will look like.
     

    Disneylover99

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 17, 2012
    Lecce was quoting the 'average' at 20. I don't believe there is a hard cap, so don't be surprised to see 22, 23 in a classroom. (I could be wrong on that, maybe someone could confirm/correct)
    Oh, for sure. I currently have 23 on my list for September.

    I was just thinking that maybe the high schoolers with their 1 to 15 ratio was a hard cap.
     
  • bankr63

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 3, 2010
    Some boards had planned to go back before Labour day while others hadn't. Our Ottawa Board changed our start date from September 1st to 3rd recently and moved some PD days around to do so. I think they would either have to extend the school year or move more PS days around to start the 8th or there won't be enough instructional days scheduled.

    Also, the French Boards always go back before Labour Day. I can't see that changing.
    This is correct, the OCDSB has announced that September 3rd is the first day of classes, as approved by the ministry. Teachers have 3 PD days (which will severely restrict their usual report writing days later in the year) before classes start. Hardly enough time to "plan" and prepare for what the new protocols will be. Of course perhaps the Premier is planning to rescind their approval of the Ottawa Board's calendar, or perhaps, as usual, he thinks that Toronto is the centre of the universe, and no where else matters.
     

    MoreTravels

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    Joined
    May 7, 2012
    Do you have elementary school children that need to perform classroom duties regularly? I understand some teachers assign those to build independence and characters. Some duties include clean up toys, wipe classroom desks, bring documents to administrative office, etc. I really hope the teachers would stop asking my kids to wipe everyone's desk when they don't have full PPE and anti-viral disinfectants. I know back in February when the pandemic was starting in other parts of the world, my kids were still doing those chores. I really hope they changed the practice as it is no longer safe to do them.
     

    Disneylover99

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 17, 2012
    Do you have elementary school children that need to perform classroom duties regularly? I understand some teachers assign those to build independence and characters. Some duties include clean up toys, wipe classroom desks, bring documents to administrative office, etc. I really hope the teachers would stop asking my kids to wipe everyone's desk when they don't have full PPE and anti-viral disinfectants. I know back in February when the pandemic was starting in other parts of the world, my kids were still doing those chores. I really hope they changed the practice as it is no longer safe to do them.
    I’m 100% certain that students will not be allowed to wipe down other student’s desks.
     

    mshanson3121

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 16, 2015
    They put out a bit more info yesterday re: New Brunswick and high school specifically. The students will go to school every other day. Class sizes will be reduced with a minimum of 1m social distancing required at all times in class, and 2m recommended in public areas. Their learning will be split between in class, online classes, project based learning and experiential learning (which could be really good if executed well) . Every student is required to provide their own laptop the province isn't providing them, though they will provide financial assistance to families in need. This specifically, has a lot of families ticked off. It's not exactly a small item to have to purchase period, let alone multiple of.

    Then in general, they have also stated they are encouraging all schools to think outside the box re: learning areas, and are encouraging them to make use of outdoor and large community spaces. Also, curriculum is only going to be focused on core subjects - absolutely no art, music, gym, or high school electives, and minimal history, science etc... in younger years. It's the curriculum chop of their dreams budget-wise, and the absolute worst chop for students. It's understandable in current times, but, anyone who understands the budget issues going on in recent years (at least in our province) and the huge cut backs they've already made to the arts, knows that this could potentially be the beginning of the permanent end (or drastic cut back) for the arts programming. Lastly, by the sounds of things they will not be requiring masks at all, in any grade.
     
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  • mshanson3121

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 16, 2015
    Original post deleted at request of @Donald - my hero

    But to be clear, that was a genuine laugh, not at you, but more at the fact that a great many people have misconceptions about what governments/administrations say will happen and what actually happens. DW is in education and I have spent more than half my career in health care. What governments and boards say to the public and what actually happens IRL are at best faint resemblances to each other, and at worst pure comedy (or tragedy?)

    Until recently I was a provincial civil servant in management, and often had to support positions that were at best half-truths.


    Teachers are the last ones to get information about what is going on, usually about a week after the ministry announces to the parents, they will get some garbled instruction on how the board expects them to implement the impossible. They are unionized; management does not interact with labour like that in most industries, including education.
    I'm sorry I copied it as I wanted to second this. My mother was a teacher for years, and she would definitely agree. And even now, DH teaches at our community college, they return to work in 4 weeks and have NO clue what is happening. There's been stuff said by the government to the students, but NOTHING to any of the teachers. He has no idea if he'll be working from home or the school, if he'll be teaching all online, in class, blended? If online, they haven't even remotely been able to start uploading their academic content online. And the worst of it all, in a year when they need more prep time than ever, they're only being brought back one week early, instead of two.
     

    bankr63

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 3, 2010
    I started running some sanity checks on some of the Ontario funding announcements. For example, the $40MM for cleaning of buses that was an earlier topic here. There are 18,000 school buses in Ontario, covering 198 instructional days of school. So that works out to $11.22 per day per bus. Most buses urban run multiple routes per day, so if there is expectation of sanitation between runs, that might be $2 or less per run (3 runs morning and afternoon).
    They have funding to hire an additional 900 custodians. There are 880 Secondary Schools in Ontario. Want to guess where these 900 will probably be assigned? I would not expect much additional cleaning help in the 3,948 elementary schools in Ontario.
     

    Donald - my hero

    <font color=blue>Aww yes. The dreaded "mouse hand"
    Joined
    Jun 11, 2006
    OH man .. there are some families in my city losing their minds right now and I think we'd be joining in the outcry if our kids were still in school. Guelph is not in "the list" (our school board is huge and other than us, mostly rural) so our schools are opening with 100% attendance, every day. The schools were already full to capacity, running staggered lunch hours and kids had to share lockers. I have NO idea how they expect them to maintain the social distances.
     
    Joined
    Jun 24, 2020
    Our school board emailed out their plan and it includes:
    "If any signs or symptoms, student and other household members must stay home, and school must be contacted."

    So if the schools follow this kids will not be allowed to attend school with so much as a runny nose I assume. I don't mind keeping my kids home if they have a cold but I can see how this will be problematic if a child has a cough that is lingering for weeks.
    The list of symptoms to screen for is here:
     

    Minniemoo15

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 27, 2016
    They put out a bit more info yesterday re: New Brunswick and high school specifically. The students will go to school every other day. Class sizes will be reduced with a minimum of 1m social distancing required at all times in class, and 2m recommended in public areas. Their learning will be split between in class, online classes, project based learning and experiential learning (which could be really good if executed well) . Every student is required to provide their own laptop the province isn't providing them, though they will provide financial assistance to families in need. This specifically, has a lot of families ticked off. It's not exactly a small item to have to purchase period, let alone multiple of.

    Then in general, they have also stated they are encouraging all schools to think outside the box re: learning areas, and are encouraging them to make use of outdoor and large community spaces. Also, curriculum is only going to be focused on core subjects - absolutely no art, music, gym, or high school electives, and minimal history, science etc... in younger years. It's the curriculum chop of their dreams budget-wise, and the absolute worst chop for students. It's understandable in current times, but, anyone who understands the budget issues going on in recent years (at least in our province) and the huge cut backs they've already made to the arts, knows that this could potentially be the beginning of the permanent end (or drastic cut back) for the arts programming. Lastly, by the sounds of things they will not be requiring masks at all, in any grade.
    It’s not true that art, music, PE will be cut in NB - at least at the elementary level. I am a NB Kindergarten teacher and we have directly been told these subjects will be kept. In fact, they are introducing a daily exploratory block that will be focused on child centred and play based learning. Cross-curricular learning will become part of our every day plans. They are also allocating time each day to socio-emotional learning, recognizing that all children will have experienced some level of trauma due to the pandemic.

    I know I am in the minority - but I am very encouraged by all our government has been doing. They have been working very hard to come up with a safe plan, hired hundreds of new teachers to reduce class sizes. They were one of the first in the country to shut down the schools back in March, so I feel confident that if an outbreak occurs it will be handled quickly.

    While our year will look different, I am determined to make this as positive of an experience as possible for my incoming Ks. In fact, it may be one of my best years teaching yet! I will only have 15 students and increased freedom to deliver the curriculum. Of course - I am in NB where cases are very low. I read somewhere this week that we have had the lowest overall COVID rate of any province or state to date. So I feel that if we can try reopening schools safely anywhere - NB is the place to start. I would feel much differently and certainly empathize with educators in harder hit areas.
     
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    wdwmom3

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Dec 16, 2012
    It’s not true that art, music, PE will be cut in NB - at least at the elementary level. I am a NB Kindergarten teacher and we have directly been told these subjects will be kept. In fact, they are introducing a daily exploratory block that will be focused on child centred learning and play based outcomes. Cross-curricular learning will become part of our every day plans. They are also allocating time each day to socio-emotional learning, recognizing that all children will have experienced some level of trauma due to the pandemic.

    I know I am in the minority - but I am very encouraged by all our government has been doing. They have been working very hard to come up with a safe plan, hired hundreds of new teachers to reduce class sizes. They were one of the first in the country to shut down the schools back in March, so I feel confident that if an outbreak occurs it will be handled quickly.

    While our year will look different, I am determined to make this as positive of an experience as possible for my incoming Ks. In fact, it may be one of my best years teaching yet! I will only have 15 students and increased freedom to deliver the curriculum. Of course - I am in NB where cases are very low. I read somewhere this week that we have had the lowest overall COVID rate of any province or state to date. So I feel that if we can try reopening schools safely anywhere - NB is the place to start. I would feel much differently and certainly empathize with educators in harder hit areas.
    Thanks for sharing this perspective with us. We keep hearing all the doom and gloom it’s refreshing to hear some positive things. I think we need to remember that things won’t be perfect, we haven’t dealt with this before. There is really no right answer.

    I know a lot of parents are upset over the plan here not to reduce class sizes etc. And to be honest I’m a little nervous (my husband is higher risk) and I kind of wish they had done a modified approach for elementary schools here. But our cases have really dropped in our area and I will watch that closely and I know I can pull him out if cases start to go up. I’ve talked to some teachers I know around here and the schools are expecting classes to be a little smaller then normal as some parents keep their kids home. So if my son would normally be in a class of say 23-24 kids (normal at his school) his may actually only have 19-20 kids. That made me feel a lot better knowing that.

    Yesterday my son actually made a comment about how he would actually like to be home schooled. I questioned him as to why. He said, well I would learn things so much quicker cause you guys would just be teaching me instead of a teacher who has to teach everyone else. A bit more questioning revealed that he figured he could get his work done in a couple hours and then spend the rest of the day playing x-box 🙄. When I told him, umm no you would being work for longer then that and you wouldn’t get more x-box time, he quickly changed his mind and was wanting to go to school. Gotta give the kid credit for trying lol.
     

    wdwmom3

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Dec 16, 2012
    OH man .. there are some families in my city losing their minds right now and I think we'd be joining in the outcry if our kids were still in school. Guelph is not in "the list" (our school board is huge and other than us, mostly rural) so our schools are opening with 100% attendance, every day. The schools were already full to capacity, running staggered lunch hours and kids had to share lockers. I have NO idea how they expect them to maintain the social distances.
    That sucks. The high schools in Guelph would be just as full as the ones here, and our high schools are opening with a modified plan. With boards with rural and suburban you think they would decided school by school.

    My daughter graduated this year but has friends still in high school. A bunch of them are considering doing just online. Or seeing if they can do some courses 100% online and only certain ones in person.
     

    TammyLynn33

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 8, 2008
    Am I the only one to think that they are banking on parents being scared or unwilling to accept the risks that they keep their kids home therefore achieving smaller numbers?

    I can't stop shaking my head that I took a hefty financial hit because I switched my flights back in ?? winter when we heard wed be going back before labour day and I didn't want kids to miss first dy of college and high school sigh those were real nfoirst world problems id love to hav etc deal with right now.
     





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