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Toronto Catholic District School Board

Frequently Asked Questions

Last updated: May 22, 2020

 

Find answers to questions about the following topics:

 

School Closures​ and Reopening

 

When are schools expected to reopen?
The Provincial Government has confirmed that schools will not re-open until September 2020. The decision was made in an effort to ensure the health and safety of students and staff.

 

Do I need to report my child's absence?
Do not report absences while schools remain closed. Note: your child will not be recorded as absent and we are awaiting confirmation from the Ministry on the code.

 

What is the TCDSB doing to ensure that schools are safe when they reopen?
The re-opening of schools in a safe and effective way is essential for the development of our children, our economy and our well-being as a province. Custodial staff have conducted a thorough disinfection of schools during the March break, and since that time followed up with additional cleanings as needed throughout the closure. The Ministry of Education will provide guidance for school boards before the end of the school year to allow for adequate time to put appropriate adaptations in place. 

 

Will Adult and Continuing Education classes and International Language programs continue?
TCDSB Adult Education Program including adult LINC classes, Literacy and Basic Skills classes, adult non-credit English and French as a Second Language classes are transitioning to remote delivery models.  Adult Education Program staff are contacting current adult learners to engage them in the new delivery.

 

Out of an abundance of caution, all International Language programs are being cancelled until schools re-open.​

 

Night school programs will continue remotely for the remainder of the term.

 

Will the Catholic Education Centre and field offices remain open?
Out of an abundance of caution, the Catholic Education Centre, and TCDSB East and West facilities are closed to the public with the exception of limited pre-identified staff/access. All academic field offices are also be closed. If you need to get in touch with someone, please email them as staff will continue to regularly monitor their emails.

 

How can I access personal items in my desk or locker?

Everything remains secure in the school. We are developing a protocol to provide access to retrieve personal items belonging to students while we await further guidance from the Ministry of Education and local health authorities. Further information will be shared with families once available.​​

 

What is being done to secure schools during the closure?

More frequent monitoring of school sites has been in place since the start of the closure. Custodial and facilities staff are also checking on plant operations to ensure that buildings are safe and secure.

 

What is happening with summer school?

Registration for online learning for summer school has begun. While schools remain closed, in class sessions are not an option. This includes remedial and new credit programs.

 

What is happening with the summer transition program for students in grade 8?

The Transition program will run this summer. It will be delivered via Distance Learning. Schools will be reaching out to students.

 

How can I contact my child's school?

School phone numbers are active despite the school closure and messages are being picked up and responded to by school staff. You may also reach out via email to the school principal. Their email address is accessible from the homepage of your school's website. 

 

Why am I not receiving email updates?

Parents are encouraged to ensure that their school has their most up to date phone and email contact information on file. Contact information that is in the database is used to push out important notifications to families. Please log on to School Messenger​ to verify your contact information in the system is correct.

 

Will I be reimbursed for money paid for school activities? For example, the school activity fee, payments made for Scientist in the School and the pizza lunch program.  

Please contact the school principal. Find your school by visiting the alphabetical school directory​. Once you click on the school, you will find the name of the principal on the right hand side of the page. Clicking on the name will launch the email app.

 

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Distance Learning 

 

How will my child keep up with their learning?
Curriculum-linked resources for each grade are available on the TCDSB Learning Resources page. Additional literacy and math resources are also available to students on the Ministry of Education website. Teachers are engaging in distance learning with their students and providing assessment and feedback on assignments.

 

I am struggling to keep up with my school work given the current situation.

Please discuss your concerns with your teachers and your school principal. Should you need assistance, we have a list of mental health resources that you can refer to for further support and information. 

 

The Province announced some financial assistance for families to support learning at home. What is this money for?
For questions related to government funding, please contact the Ministry of Education. It is our understanding that these funds are to be used at the discretion of the parent, and the use will vary depending on the needs of each child and family.

 

What is happening with night school and Saturday programs?
These programs are continuing through distance learning, similar to the regular day programming.

 

What is happening with the International Languages Elementary (ILE) Program – After-Hours?

Instructors continue to deliver the remainder of the after-hours sessions in a distance learning model until June 13th. Registration for the 2020-2021 ILE after-hours program will begin online on May 19th​.

 

We are newcomers. How will my child be able to participate in distance learning if they don't speak English well yet?

Our Community Relations Office can arrange for interpreter and translation services. Please contact the Principal or ELL teacher to make these arrangements.

 

To translate documents as needed,

 

What platforms should teachers be using to deliver distance learning?

TCDSB has encouraged teachers to use Google Classroom and Brightspace (D2L) for distance learning, and included an option for teachers to consider using Google Meet for video conferencing, however they also have the freedom to use other Board approved platforms for delivery of curriculum. Teachers are regularly provided with Board approved resources and professional development to support their efforts to enhance the learning experience for students.

 

More information regarding the use of Google Classroom and D2L for parents can be found on the TCDSB Google and Assistive Technology Resources page

 

Are there privacy issues with these platforms?

Teachers have been provided with guidelines and access to online tutorials to ensure awareness of privacy and online safety for all users. Your child's teacher will contact you if he/she will be using Google Meet to deliver virtual lessons. 

 

Can teachers use video to deliver virtual lessons?

Google Meet is the approved platform if teachers wish to use video to deliver virtual lessons. Teachers have been provided with guidelines and access to online tutorials to ensure awareness of privacy and online safety for all users. Your child's teacher will contact you if he/she will be using Google Meet to deliver virtual lessons.

 

From an equity and fairness perspective, we are also aware that not all students will be able to participate in synchronous learning due to unique circumstances at home based on work schedules of parents, access to devices (sharing between children), etc. We would encourage these families to reach out to their child’s teacher for additional support. 

 

Are morning prayers and announcements continuing?

This practice is continuing with many of our schools. For instance, morning prayers are incorporated into the curriculum delivery for the day or the school administrator provides daily/weekly announcements via social media. In addition, the Nurturing our Catholic Community team continues to provide daily reflections and weekly online prayer services.

 

Who should I contact if I have concerns about my child’s assignments, completion timelines and expectations?

Any concerns about assignments should be directed to the classroom teacher and/or the school principal just as you would when schools are open. It is the Board’s expectation that no student will be unfairly penalized by the impact of the current situation.

 

Teachers are endeavoring to provide equitable lessons so that all students are able to participate. The Board’s Learn at home webpage continues to provide additional learning resources in many curriculum areas for students and families who wish to supplement daily and weekly lesson plans.​ 

 

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Access to Technology


What if my child doesn’t have access to the internet or a computer to support learning at home?
Where needed, the TCDSB has made every effort to provide teachers and students with technological equipment to carry out teaching and learning. Please consult with your principal to discuss any specific needs you may have.

 

When will students receive technology devices they need to learn at home?

The delivery of technology devices to students began on April 14 and will continue for several weeks. The delivery of devices is an unprecedented undertaking and will take some time. We thank you for your patience and understanding. If you have questions related to the status of the device, please contact your child’s principal by email. ​
 

Should parents go out and purchase devices?

The Board is making every effort to ensure that all students have the devices they need for distance learning. This includes students with special education needs. Families requiring special education equipment have now started to receive this information.  

 

Where families are able to purchase their own devices we recommend Chromebooks or full laptops.

 

Who do I contact if I am having technical issues?

Please reach out to your teacher or the principal at your school. Since April 14th, some technical support will be also be available centrally to assist students. 

 

Instructions to connect your laptop to your home internet can be found in the box with the device that is being sent to student's homes. If you have any issues setting up your laptop, please contact the TCDSB Service Desk using our website. They are open Monday to Friday from 7:30am to 8:00pm. You may call us at 416‐222‐8282 ext 4357, if you are unable to get to the website. 

 

Please note that all laptops are expected to be returned in their original condition when students return to school. More information about the return will be provided closer to the return date.

 

I don't have a printer and my child's teacher is suggesting that some assignments be printed off, completed and sent back via email.

Teachers are being reminded to produce learning materials that do not require the activity to be printed. Many are now producing fillable forms as part of the student work and this is what we are promoting with our teaching staff.

 

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Graduation / Tests / Report Cards / Trips & Events

 

Will my child be able to graduate?
The Ministry of Education has made it clear that Grade 12 students scheduled to graduate this year will be supported so they can graduate. Teachers of graduating students are expected to provide marks by April 23rd for work completed by that time in order to meet admission requirements for post-secondary education. The Ministry is engaged in discussions with colleges and universities about next steps.​

 

What about graduating students who have not completed their volunteer hours?
The graduation requirement to complete 40 hours of community involvement has been suspended for this school year. Previously documented community involvement hours will still be identified on report cards of graduating students.

 

What is happening with grad trips, proms and ceremonies for students in grades 8 and 12?

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the delay of important graduation milestones including proms and graduation ceremonies. We understand that these events are important and meaningful to a student’s academic journey.

 

While the Ministry of Education has encouraged school boards to reschedule graduations and proms based on input from local medical officers of health, we are still exploring what this could look like for our schools.

 

Will students get report cards at the end of the year?
It is our expectation that all students receive a final report card, including the Kindergarten Communication of Learning.

 

What is happening with exams?

Exam dates are being replaced with instructional time.

 

Will the school year be extended?
We do not have any information at this time. The decision would need to be made by the Provincial Government.

 

Will OSSLTs be postponed?
The March 31 scheduled date was cancelled. The Ministry of Education has indicated that the literacy test graduation requirement will be waived this year for grade 12 students.

 

Will Grade 3 and 6 EQAO testing be impacted?
The Ministry of Education has indicated that EQAO assessments are cancelled for this year.

 

What is happening with events and trips?
All special events and trips through to the end of June are cancelled or postponed. Parents may inquire with their principal about specific details.

 

What is happening with summer overseas credit trips?
The Board continues to assess options. Right now, we have advised students and families that the planned credit trip to Italy with Centro Scuola has been cancelled. Should other trips also be cancelled or postponed, families will be notified.

 

How will final grades be determined?

Grades and marks will not go down from what they were on March 13th. This applies to both elementary and secondary students. Continuity of learning is critical to prepare students with the knowledge and skills for success in the next grade, course or postsecondary destination.

 

I am concerned about my final grade. What if my marks don't improve before the end of the term?

The Province has assured school boards that students will not be unfairly impacted by the current situation. A student's final mark will not be lower than the mark they had received by their teacher based on their evaluated work before March break.

 

What if I get better marks over the next few weeks?

Your final mark will reflect your actual performance. If marks improve, this will be reflected on your final report card. If they do not improve, your marks will not be lower than they were before schools were closed on March 13.

 

I am struggling to keep up with my school work given the stress of the current situation.

Please discuss your concerns with your teachers and your school principal. Should you need assistance, we have a list of mental health resources that you can refer to for further support and information.

 

Is there post-secondary tuition assistance?

The Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) provides financial support to post-secondary students, and recent post-secondary and high school graduates who are unable to find work due to COVID-19. This benefit is for students who do not qualify for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) or Employment Insurance (EI). For detailed information including eligibility requirements please visit the Canada Emergency Student Benefit​ website.

 

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Child Care Centres and Playgrounds

 

Will childcare centres, Early ON and before-and-after school programs reopen sooner?
All licensed child care centres, Early ON and before-and-after school programs operating in TCDSB schools will be closed while schools remain closed. If your child is in a childcare centre elsewhere, please inquire with your childcare provider.

 

Are TCDSB sports playing fields and playgrounds open?

The City of Toronto announced they will be reopening some park amenities. As such, TCDSB sports fields and basketball courts will also be reopening on Saturday, May 23, 2020. The following restrictions still apply:

 

  • Access is permitted for individual or non-organized use
  • All are asked to maintain physical distancing
  • Groups of up to 5 are permitted to gather as long as they are from one family
  • Play structures remain closed at this time

 

What if I see playgrounds being used?
If you see groups of five or more gathering on any property--school or otherwise--please report it to the City of Toronto by calling #311. The Board has enlisted additional security who are making the rounds more frequently to ensure that school properties remain secure. They are also supporting the city's efforts to maintain physical distancing.

 

Will permits be reinstated?
All permits are cancelled until schools reopen.

 

Is there any information on summer camp programs?

For now, we know that the City of Toronto is cancelling all planned 2020 summer camps and preparing an alternative program to get children safely back to camp through a new CampTO program. For more information read the latest update from the City​. The Province has announced that overnight camp programs have been cancelled for the summer. 

 

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Sacraments

 

What is happening with the Sacraments (First Reconciliation, First Communion, Confirmation)?

The latest letter from Cardinal Collins​​ regarding sacramental life during the pandemic includes information on the importance of sacramental life for Christians, temporary restrictions on sacramental life in the Church, and planning for a resumption of full sacramental life. Some parishes may have begun announcing new dates for the celebration of the sacraments. School principals and parents are encouraged to contact their respective parish office for an update.

 

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Meetings


Are Board meetings continuing?

Public Board meetings, as well as some committee meetings (specifically the Catholic Parent Involvement Committee and the Special Education Advisory Committee) are continuing in a virtual format. Board meetings and SEAC meetings are webcast live​.


How do I know what is being discussed if I can't watch the proceedings?

The agendas are typically posted the Friday before each meeting. The video from the meetings which are webcast are available for viewing the day after the meeting.


Are Parent Councils continuing to meet?

Yes and many have already met. Catholic School Parent Councils are encouraged to continue to meet virtually. School principals have all the information and tools they need to support CSPC chairs in this endeavour.​

 

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