Ward 16 newletter header
March 21st, 2020
I hope that everyone is keeping as well as can be expected in their self-isolation and social distancing. I know the cabin fever can peak at any time, even more stressful when you are actually trying to be productive and work-from-home with kids, while trying to limit screen time. Please do not feel that you must home school your children at this time, especially if this causes additional stress in your household. The key is to stay safe and support everyone's wellbeing as much as possible. The Province has just announced that schools will NOT reopen on April 6th and Toronto has declared a State of Emergency. We are awaiting more information on projected timelines and additional resources. 
I know there are a lot of communications coming at families from different sources so instead of repeating official messages from the TDSB or City  I have tried here to collect a set of at home resources and links in one place -  A big thank-you to our local teachers (esp Ms Norris & Ms , staff, and parents who contributed to the list. I am also building a pulbicly accessible Google Drive folder to collect resources. If you have something you'd like to add please email me and I will upload it (michelle.aarts@tdsb.on.ca)
Below are the links to relevant TDSB Update pages, At-Home Activities & Resources, Ministry of Education Resources, and Public Health Agencies

Social Distancing

Below you'll find a great, printable graphic from Councillor Bradford's office that is easy to understand for kids. Despite social distancing and social isolation instructions from Public Heath agencies many families are still engaging in group playground play and playdates, and youth are still gathering in parks and on school property. This is not social distancing and outdoor activities should be limited to keeping at least 2 meters away from other people. 
Please note - City and school playground equipment is NOT disinfected and it is currently not known exactly how long Coronavirus can live on surfaces, posing a risk to those who use the equipment. 
TDSB Updates
  1. TDSB news, links to cancellations and resources, and Q & A can be found HERE . This page is updated with news and new resources daily.
  2. TDSB Remote Learning Resources - Staff have assembled a comprehensive list of resources by grade and subject matter. Includes links to Assistive Technology Tools
  3. School boards are assessing what resources they can bring to support student learning from home. At the TDSB staff is working to make learning resources available to students during the school closure period. School staff will be collecting information from families regarding email addresses, access to devices, and the internet in order to support individual student need. Work with individual schools and teachers will commence March 23rd.
  4. The TDSB is currently working with Toronto Foundation for Student Success to reach families in need who would normally depend on school based nutrition programs. Resources will be distrubuted via school administration who will reach out to their school communities.
At-Home Resources and Activities
Ward 16 'School Closure' Google Drive - Teachers and Parents are sharing resources for learning on multiple platforms so I am collecting them in a publicly accessible Google Drive as I receive them.
The TDSB Virtual Library: https://www.tdsb.on.ca/library/
One of the best online resources is the TDSB Virtual Library. I have seen staff from other Boards suggest @tdsbVL to their own families during this time of school closures. If you are not familiar with the Virtual Library then try the "Finding Resources" link on the right side of the webpage for a quick tutorial.
  • Teacher Recommended resources include 
    • Learn360 - has games that the kids love (various things for various ability levels),
    • Bookflix for the young ones,
    • Pebblego for the kids who love non-fiction.
    • Mindomo under "Make and Do". 
    • Gapminder for real-world information on global lived experiences with lots of images in the Dollar Street tool
    • Destiny Discover for Young Adult eBooks - current titles & graphic novels
    • Global Issues for grades 7-12
    • Teen Health & Wellness for nonjudgmental, straightforward articles on a wide variety of topics
  • Search Resources by Grade - https://www.tdsb.on.ca/library/HOME/Find 
Toronto Public Library
Websites for Education resources, podcasts, and apps
French Immersion Resources:
  • TFO - French language TV, games, and resources - https://www.tfo.org/
  • Idello -  A variety of certified resources in French, relevant and categorized according to subject matter and school grade - https://www.idello.org/en/explore-resources?persona=parent  
  • Duolingo - my teen recommends this the Duolingo app as a fun way to stay engaged with language learning. free mobile app or web and a few minutes a day, everyone can Duolingo. Learn 30+ languages online with bite-size lessons based on science.
Arts & Culture:
Virtual Tours of Museums, Parks, and Attractions:
Crafts & Activities
Tweens and Teens can find social isolation and distancing particularly challenging and unfortunately are not as easy to entertain as younger children. A number of suggestions for activities from local parents include:
  • Set up a "remote house party" or "remote movie party" using an online meeting or group social app such as Netflix Party, Facetime Party, Google Hangouts, Zoom meeting, or Houseparty
  • Helping with household projects (repairs, painting, yard work) that take on more responsibility
  • Online cooking classes (many are currently being offered for free)
  • Cooking a meal for the family
  • Put in charge of household duties like online grocery shopping
  • Taking younger siblings for walks
  • Help them develop daily routines and exercise goals (example here)
  • Teach them to drive
  • Reorganize their room and purge old clothes, trinkets, and toys (if needed make this an exchange for a later shopping excursion or room redecorating)
  • Share your expertise - Help them learn a new skill from creative writing to carpentry to automotive maintenance to sewing/knitting/crochet.
Outdoor and Physical Activities.
Google Classroom - Those students with access to Google Classroom (or similar online resources via their school/teacher) can connect with teachers and classmates for networking and support. This can be a good resource to stay connected with peers and maintain a sense of wellbeing. The tDSB is working to ensure equitable access 
Well-being Resources
Ministry of Education
  1. Learn At Home. The Ministry of Education has posted a webpage with links to TVO and TFO resources that are education based. For younger children the links are mostly television or math based resources. For teens there is access to tutor-assisted Mathify and a selection of reformated e-learning courses - course selection will be updated over the next 2 weeks.  Click here to access Learn At Home.
  2. Phase II of Learn at Home - The Ministry has indicated that they are still working towards remote learning resources that include local Boards and Teachers. 
  3. EQAO:  The Ministry of Education has announced that due to the school closure period and the uncertainty beyond that point, all EQAO assessments for the remainder of this school year are cancelled. 
  4. Secondary Graduation and Postsecondary Pathways - The Ministry of Ed is working with School Boards, Colleges and Universities to ensure that secondary graduation and acceptance to postsecondary programs is not jeopardized by school closures.
Public Health Updates
The most accurate and current source of information and resources for Toronto families is Toronto Public Health. There are daily updates on status and protocols and links to daily announcement from our Medical Officer of Health (MOH). I have also included links to the corresponding Ontario and Health Canada websites:
Toronto Public Healthhttps://www.toronto.ca/home/covid-19/ 
  • The COVID-19 Assessment Centre provides screening, assessment and testing for individuals in East Toronto who are experiencing possible symptoms of COVID-19. Call for an appointment or to speak to a support team member. More informaiton HERE.  
Ontario Public Health - Corona-Virus Update Page; and Resource Page
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