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COVID-19 FAQ

COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

1. School Operations

Why are schools closing?
 

On May 19, Premier Doug Ford and Minister of Education Stephen Lecce announced that the school closure period will extend until the end of June, which means that students will not be returning to our school buildings for the rest of this school year. All administrative offices for the UCDSB are also closed, as well as all school grounds, athletic fields and play structures at this time. 

Can I access my child's school to get items?
We’ve been working with the Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit and the Eastern Ontario Health Unit to prepare a plan for our students to access our schools to get personal belongings. Parents/guardians will hear from their schools during the week of June 8-12 about pick up times and procedures. 
 
Will my child receive a report card?
Yes. Report cards will be mailed to families of UCDSB students at the end of the school year. If you or your child(ren) have moved, please contact your school or update your address in My Family Room so that the end of year report is mailed to the correct address. 


Do school closures mean the school year is going to be extended?
At this timethere has been no changes to the school year or school year calendar.

Will my child lose their school year? 
For many students and parents, particularly in Grade 12, there is concern about the possible loss of the school year. The Minister of Education was very clear in his letter that “no graduating student will have their ability to graduate impacted by the two-week closure and the COVID-19 developments.” We share this sentiment and have prioritized our continuation of learning planning

Will the scheduled PA days be happening?
No. The remaining PA days scheduled for the 2019-2020 school year have been cancelled and will be used as instructional time.

  
Are exams cancelled for high school students?
Yes. The Ministry of Education has indicated that there will be no exams this year. The exam days will be used as instructional time.

Will Grade 12 students who don’t have all their community hours still be able to graduate this year?
The graduation requirement to complete 40 hours of community involvement has been suspended for this school year and students will still be able to graduate if they have not completed these hours.

How does the school closure impact the Specialist High Skills Major Program?
Graduating students in a Specialist High Skills Major program unable to complete their SHSM requirements due to extenuating circumstances, including the impacts from COVID-19, will be given exemptions for incomplete certifications. If you were on track to receive a Red Seal this year, you will still be able to receive it. 


Will the EQAO & Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT) assessments becancelled?

The Ministry of Education has cancelled all EQAO assessments, including the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT) for Grade 10 students, for the remainder of this school year. For students who are graduating in the 2019-20 school year, the literacy graduation requirement will be waived. Students who are not graduating this school year will have the opportunity to write the OSSLT in the upcoming 2020-21 school year.

Is there community access to UCDSB buildings? 
All third-party use of our schools is cancelled during this time of closure, that includes programs such as Boys and Girls club, sports and other activities. Please direct any questions regarding these activities to the event/activity/program organizers.


Is my co-op placement 
still active?
In-person community placements for co-operative education programs are suspended, however students can work with their teacher to modify their learning plans. Some students may have the opportunity to connect virtually with industry partners and explore career and experiential learning opportunities. Where feasible, some students may have the opportunity to connect virtually with industry partners and explore career and experiential learning opportunities. 

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  • What about my dual credit/OYAP program? 

  • OYAP courses are suspended. Colleges have cancelled lab-based courses. Other courses will continue online. Students will be contacted by their instructors regarding next steps. If you require a credit in this course to graduate in the 2019-2020 school year, the school board will work with you to accomplish it. 

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Are child cares still open in UCDSB buildings? 

The province announced on June 9 that daycares will be allowed to re-open as of June 12. We are currently working with our local health units and third-party child care providers to facilitate access to these spaces within our schools. Any questions regarding opening and spaces should be directed to the child care provider. In April, the UCDSB responded to requests from municipalities to open four emergency child care centres as part of the provincial plan to help front line workers to continue to do their jobs. These child care centres are located at Chesterville Public School, Commonwealth Public SchoolPleasant Corners Public School, South Branch Elementary School and Russell Public School.   



Will there be proms this spring?
The local Medical Officer of Health has informed the UCDSB that we need to remain vigilant as it relates to COVID-19. The situation is evolving daily, with new cases of the virus are being recorded in our region. 

Given these developments, and the current provincial emergency order limiting gatherings to less than five people, public health officials have told school districts across our region that proms and other social gatherings in large numbers cannot take place.  We understand that this is very disappointing for our senior students who were anticipating this milestone event, but we have been consulting with our student leaders about possible alternatives they might consider given these unprecedented times.

Will there be graduations this spring?

The Minister of Education is encouraging school boards to honour student achievement for the 2020 school year and have graduation ceremonies and celebrations when it is safe to do so. The Upper Canada District School Board supports this decision and whole-heartedly agrees about the importance of honouring and recognizing the incredible accomplishments of our graduating students.

Given the circumstances and the uncertainties of this global pandemic, and in consultation with public health authorities, the UCDSB has no option but to postpone June 2020 graduation ceremonies at all of our secondary schools and at our TR Leger School of Adult, Alternative and Continuing Education until June 2021.

Moving the ceremonies to June 2021 will not impact the ability of our students to graduate from high school if they have met the diploma program requirements.

In light of this decision, many of our secondary schools are already exploring a wide range of alternative and suitable ways to celebrate and send off our graduating class of 2020 this spring.

2. Distance Learning

With the extended closure, what is the plan for students to continue their courses? 
Here is the UCDSB Learn at Home plan. Teachers have been contacting students directly. 

Learn at Home Plan April 2020


What is being done for Grade 12 students applying to university or college?
Graduating students should not have their graduation or progression impacted by the developments surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. The Ministry of Education is working in close cooperation with the Ministry of Colleges and Universities to ensure no student’s graduation or transition to post-secondary is jeopardized as a result of the school closure period. More information will be shared with families as we get it.

Do students really need to participate in distance learning?
We do want our students to keep connected to their school and to their learning – to whatever extent is reasonable for them and their families during the pandemic. Maintaining routines is important for children and youth during a period of unexpected change and uncertainty. Making time for learning each day is important as it is an opportunity to practice and get better at skills that they have learned, to prepare for returning to their classroom once schools are re-opened, and to keep a good balance between work and play.

Why are teachers taking attendance? Will my child be penalized for missing days?
Attendance is as much of a wellness check as it is tied to tracking distance learning participation. We understand that not all students will be able to participate fully in distance learning at all times.


Can students' report card marks improve?
Yes. Work that students complete during the school closure period is solely to improve their mark and can be achieved if they actively engage in distance learning and prove achievement. Report card marks will not be lowered from their marks as of March 13, 2020.

My child seems to be getting more than 5-10 hours of work per week (elementary) or 3 hours per course (secondary). Why?
If this is the case, please reach out to your teacher so they can adjust the work load assigned. Distant learning is new to everyone - teachers, students and parents - and we need to work together to make it happen. 

 

If my child has an IEP, what do I do with the paperwork and forms that are usually submitted at this time? 

IEPs will be sent home to families once schools are back to regular schedules. If you have any paperwork related to IEPs please keep it at home with you.  When school is back in session, you will get information about IEPs and how to send information back to the school. 

My child has an IEP. What special work is he/she going to get?  
 

We are currently working on developing suggestions for resources for all students during the school closure period.

Will final exams take place for second semester?
As a result of the Ministry of Education’s announcement on April 26, final exams will NOT take place for second semester courses this year. Instead, examination days for Semester 2 will now be instructional days, where students will continue with distance learning activities.

Teachers may decide to provide assignments or tasks that allow students to demonstrate their learning. As communicated previously, grades on any learning tasks during this phase of distance learning will only be part in the calculation of a final mark on the June report card if it improves the student’s overall mark from before school closures (March 13). We want to ensure that students are given every benefit for their learning during this crisis.

What about our midterm marks for Semester 2?                                     
Our Grade 12 students were provided midterm marks for Semester 2 last week. Those marks were also forwarded to the Ontario University Application Centre (OUAC) and the Ontario College Application Service (OCAS) for the May 1 deadline.

Will the Board be offering Summer Semester this year?
The UCDSB will continue its tradition of offering interested Grade 7-12 students the
Summer Semester Online program, operated by the TR Leger School of Adult, Alternative and Continuing Education.  The program is offering 47 courses online that students can do anytime and anywhere they have access to the internet, earning additional diploma credits over the month of July. The Summer Semester starts on June 29 and ends July 27. 
For more details please contact your school’s student services department or your school principal. You can also get more general information in the Summer Semester section of our website.

3. Access to Technology

I don't have reliable Wi-Fi. What can I do?

At this time, we do not have the means to provide internet to families at home. As we have a unique and vast school district, with varying levels of connectivity options, we have not yet been able to find a reliable solution. Please know, this is also something we continue to investigate. 

Free Wi-Fi is accessible outside of our schools, should your children need to upload or download assignments, check email or social media. If you choose to do so by visiting one of our school properties, please ensure you are accessing it from your vehicle or maintaining social distancing by staying six feet away from other people who may be doing the same.


We have also been creating weekly Choice Boards for grades K-8 that are available in hard copy. If this is something you and your family are interested in, please contact your child's teacher or school principal.

I've filled out the technological survey, when will I get my device?

The UCDSB has now completed its device distribution plan. If access to the internet or devices is a barrier for your child to participate in distance learning, printed materials will be supplied. This applies to our elementary and secondary students. Please contact your school principal or teacher directly.

When will I be getting one of the iPads from the Government?

The partnership between Apple and Rogers is a government-supported partnership, but it is not a government initiative, nor is it government funded. The UCDSB is looking into if iPads would meet the needs of our students, taking into consideration the online tools and teaching methods our teachers are using, as well as the availability of Rogers coverage for our students who indicated internet was an issue.



4. Additional Resources

How can I take care of my family's mental health?

There are a number of great resources you can access providing information on caring for your mental health. Great resources to start with are:

How can I protect myself and family from COVID-19?

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth, especially with unwashed hands 
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick 
  • Cover your mouth and nose with your arm or tissues to reduce the spread of germs 
  • Clean and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces
  • Stay home and avoid going out unless necessary 
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