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​Frequently Asked Questions


L
ast updated: November 10, 2020 

 

Have questions about the 2020 - 2021 school year? Find answers to questions about the following topics:

 

 

Health and Safety

Section last updated: November 3, 2020 

 
Are students required to wear masks?
Yes. Students in all grades are required to wear non-medical or cloth masks/face coverings (with appropriate medical exemptions) indoors on school property. If a student can’t wear a mask, they must wear a face shield. If a student can't wear a face mask or a shield for medical reasons, a prevalent medical conditions form must be completed with medical practitioner documentation. 
 
Please note that masks with exhalation valves are not permitted.
 
Do face shields replace masks?
Toronto Public Health advises that a face shield is not an alternative to a mask. A face shield can protect your eyes from someone else's germs, but does not always keep your germs from spreading to others. A face shield can be used by someone who cannot wear a mask, such as for medical reasons.  
 
Are teachers required to wear masks?
All staff members will be provided with and required to wear personal protective equipment such as medical masks and face shields to safely interact with students and staff.
 
What other health and safety measures can be expected to keep staff and students safe?
 
  • Portable hand-washing stations have been installed on floors with classrooms that don't have washrooms. 
  • A number of touch-less sanitizers have been placed where a portable wash unit cannot be placed. 
  • HEPA purifiers are being distributed with the priority on the highest transmission areas as identified by Toronto Public Health. The Board will also consider room purifiers in rooms where there are no windows, or insufficient mechanical systems. 
  • Plexiglass shielding for offices, administrative areas and student desks have been installed in schools where maintaining physical distancing is challenging. 
 
What happens if a student is ill and showing symptoms?
Please refer to this decision guide produced by Toronto Public Health.
 
When a child is ready to return to school (cleared by Toronto Public Health or fully recovered), families are asked to send in a completed attestation form​
 
What happens when a staff member is diagnosed with COVID?
The Toronto Catholic District School Board continues to follow direction from the Government of Ontario, who has provided a recommended process for school boards to follow in the event of a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 in a school. School principals will also follow the School Reporting Protocol​ for positive cases of COVID-19. 
 
What happens if the whole class or school must be closed?
Toronto Public Health is responsible for declaring an outbreak, which occurs when there are two or more positive cases in a school, within a 14-day period, with at least one infection traced back to the school environment. It is important to note that an outbreak does not, in and of itself, trigger a school to close.  
 
If a whole class must be isolated, or if a full closure of the school is required, they will all move to virtual learning for the isolation period using the pre-established Brightspace or Google Classroom. If only one child is isolated, the standard protocol for a student absence would be followed, and the teacher would provide work using the pre-established Brightspace or Google Classroom. Please refer to the Transition to Distance Learning document​ for details.
 
Are students practicing physical distancing?
The following measures have been taken to facilitate student and staff physical distancing: 
 
  • Classrooms are organized to encourage the maximum space between students. Floors are marked with decals to designate a one-way traffic flow and identifying 2 metre distances in key areas.
  • Signage is placed throughout the building to reinforce safety protocols.
  • Where physical distancing is not possible in school offices and public reception areas, alternative methods of separation such as plexiglass barriers will be used.
  • In order to reduce the potential for larger gatherings of students, we will be limiting occupancy levels in common areas such as hallways, stairwells and libraries.
  • Lockers will not be used by students at this time.
 
How are physical distancing requirements being adhered to during fire drills?
Please refer to the resources from the Office of the Fire Marshal of Ontario: 
 
 
These activities will be performed in consultation with school Health and Safety representatives to ensure minimal contact among student cohorts. 
 
How does the Board monitor students during lunch to ensure safety?
 
Kindergarten Students 
  • Some children can be assigned to “picnic” spaces for eating lunch and snacks that would be designated around the room.
  • When unmasked they are not at the same table. This could involve personal mats provided by the teacher. 
  • If student desks have plexiglass (classes over 15 students), those spaces will be used to create distancing during lunch. 

Elementary Students
  • Students will remain in their cohorts when they eat their lunch in the classroom.
  • Student are encouraged to avoid conversations while seated during lunch.
  • No food utensils or other food related materials are to be shared.
  • Placement of waste in the garbage during lunch is coordinated so that students can dispose of their own waste and maintain proper social distancing.
  • Students will wash their hands both before and after lunch. 
  • Elementary students may only leave the school building for lunch with a parent/guardian, following established visitor protocols.
     
Secondary Students 
  • If students are remaining at school for lunch, they should bring their own lunch as there will be no cafeteria service in the school.
  • Students will eat lunch in the room they had their previous class and will clean up their own waste.
  • Students are encouraged to avoid conversations while seated during lunch.
  • Students cannot exchange food or other items during this time.
  • Students will wash their hands before and after lunch.
  • Students will be supervised.
     
Are students able to wash hands regularly? Is hand sanitizer being provided?
Health Canada has warned Canadians about the potential health risks of making and using homemade hand sanitizers, as homemade recipes and products are becoming increasingly common online. If you have made or used homemade hand sanitizer products, stop using them or sending them with your child to school. The concentration of alcohol in many of these recipes may not be high enough to kill COVID-19. Homemade formulas with allergenic ingredients may also present serious health risks to others in the school community including those who are vulnerable to anaphylaxis.
 
The TCDSB only permits the use of hand sanitizers that have been authorized for sale in Canada, which have either a Natural Product Number (NPN) or Drug Identification Number (DIN). Health Canada has published a list of authorized hand sanitizers​. And, if you choose to have your child carry hand sanitizer with them to school, please ensure they do so responsibly.
 
For more information about management of anaphylaxis and other prevalent medical conditions, refer to the policy on Prevalent Medical Conditions S.M. 17 and Protocols for Prevalent Medical Conditions​
 
How will families know if there are any confirmed cases of COVID in TCDSB schools?
In alignment with the Ministry of Education's guidelines, a COVID-19 Advisory page has been established to identify confirmed and resolved cases of COVID-19 involving a student or staff member in a TCDSB school setting.  
 
How often will schools be cleaned?
Caretaking staff will perform routine cleaning of general facilities through the day and will conduct enhanced frequent cleaning of high touch surfaces such as light switches, handrails, door handles, etc. twice daily and throughout the day as required. Washrooms will be cleaned frequently throughout the day and shared items will be used minimally and will be disinfected between users. 
 
How is additional classroom space being accommodated at crowded schools?

The Board has initiated a pilot program to rent classroom size (20 ft. x 40 ft.) commercial tent structures for schools that have been identified as having space issues, to provide sheltered outdoor space for activities such as gym, music and reading circles. The Board has also reached out to the Archdiocese of Toronto to explore the possibility of using parish halls for some programming.

 

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Curriculum and Programs

Section last updated: November 10, 2020 

 
Will schools continue to offer health and physical education?
Adaptations to some program delivery models, for example health and physical education, may be necessary in order to adhere to enhanced safety protocols and Toronto Public Health guidance. Schools will determine the best approach to accommodate health and safety and physical distancing. 
 
What is happening with exams and community involvement hours?
Students will be required to complete a 30% culminating evaluation (which may include an exam, performance task, essay, etc.) for each course, with the exam portion not being greater than 10% of the student’s final mark.
 
For the 2020 – 2021 school year, the community involvement graduation requirement will be reduced to a minimum of ​20 hours ​ of community involvement activities. Visit the Community Involvement Hours page for more information.
 
Will Co-op Placements happen this fall?
Yes, TCDSB is running both In-person and virtual placements for our students. The secondary model is in 4 Quads where students can be placed for 8 weeks at a time.
 
Will the EQAO assessments of grade 9 math happen this year?
EQAO assessments will be written later this year. Details and timelines will be provided as soon as they are confirmed.
 
Will students need to write the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT) this year?
The Province has announced that the requirement to successfully complete the OSSLT in order to graduate has been waived for the 2020-2021 school year. 
 
Will any school trips be taking place this year?
Field trips and other activities that require group transportation will not be planned at this time.

 

Why am I not receiving email updates? 

Parents are encouraged to ensure that their home school has their most up to date phone and email contact information on file. Please log on to School Messenger​ to confirm that you wish to receive information from our local school as well as the Board.

 

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St. Anne Catholic Academy, School of Virtual Learning

 

Please visit the St. Anne Catholic Academy website​ for more information.

 

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Access to Technology

Section last updated: October 14, 2020 

 
My child is participating in online learning. What device does the Board recommend they use? 

For families with means to purchase their own devices for student learning, the TCDSB has summarized some technical guidance and recommendations, as well as options from some vendors. View the Personal Devices for Students for more information including important features to look for when purchasing a device. Don't forget all TCDSB students have free access to Microsoft Office 365 applications. Visit the TCDSB Digital Store​ for more information.

 
Does the Board provide devices to students participating in virtual learning this year? 

Most of the 10,500 devices distributed in the spring of 2020 remain with students in the current academic year. Outreach to families has begun to confirm device and internet service requests from students enrolled in the virtual school, or secondary students engaged in the adaptive learning. The TCDSB currently has a limited supply of 2,500 Chromebook and 400 iPads for distribution to students in need. 

 

Order processing will continue weekly until all devices are distributed. The TCDSB is trying to target devices to students who are most in need and encouraging others to purchase their own device, if they can. The TCDSB Digital Store​ has links to discounted hardware from select vendors along with recommend models by grade. 

 
Who do I contact if my child is having technical issues with their Board loaned device?  

Some technical support is 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.

 
How do I reset my password? 

For students who need assistance with login or password resets, please contact your teacher for assistance. 

 

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Child ​Care Centres and Playgrounds

Section last updated: October 14, 2020 

 
Is school playground equipment accessible to students during the school day?

The TCDSB continues to follow the guidance of Toronto Public Health (TPH) on COVID safety related issues and protocols. Where possible the TCDSB encourages outdoor activities as safe and healthy options for our students. TPH has advised that play structures can now be safely utilized by separate cohorts of children, under the supervision of staff. Hand hygiene will be encouraged before and after playground use. ​School administrators will determine local guidelines for usage of play structures, to ensure that cohort recommendations are followed and children can safely access play structures at our schools. 

 

Will permits be reinstated?
In order to continue to support both the health and safety protocols and enhanced cleaning procedures in place for our schools, the TCDSB will not be issuing permits for community use of schools during the month of October. The postponement of school permits will provide additional time to ensure the availability of sufficient resources for permit supervision. 

 

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