Some Good News... OPSBA Media Release
OPSBA/CTA Reaches Tentative Agreement with ETFO at the Central Bargaining Table
Toronto, March 20, 2020 – The Ontario Public School Boards' Association (OPSBA) is pleased to announce that OPSBA/Council of Trustees’ Associations (CTA) and the provincial government have successfully negotiated a tentative agreement with the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO) for both teachers and education workers.
“Despite the many challenges caused by the current pandemic situation, all of the parties continued to work towards reaching a deal that will help to bring some stability to our system during what is obviously an unprecedented and rapidly evolving situation,” said OPSBA President Cathy Abraham. “Teachers and education workers will be an important part of guiding our students through the challenging time ahead. This agreement is a recognition that we value the contribution they make to the educational experience of our students every day. We look forward to working together to ensure that we are able to provide an educational experience that is focused on the success and well-being of our students.”
The details of the agreement remain confidential until ratified by all parties. ETFO has agreed to suspend all job action while awaiting ratification of the deal.
For the education workers component of this negotiation, the Council of Trustees' Associations is a partnership the between OPSBA and the Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association (OCSTA).
Gratitude in Challenging Times
Thank you - these are unprecedented times - as the situation changes day to day your support for following the directions of public health to help "flatten the curve" is sincerely appreciated. And I know how difficult it is to keep to social distancing - or as some prefer to all it "personal distancing". It is difficult for all of us to not see and visit with family and friends - but this will matter... our individual actions matter. As Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto's Medical Officer of Health has said "The power to change the story is entirely in our hands. So thank you, thank you to the residents of our city, thank you to business owners, thank you all for doing this, but we can still do better, we must do better, and we need your help to get there."
In her media statement of March 18, she goes on to say - "People are asking questions on what social distancing looks like. Social distancing means:
- avoiding close contact with others
- keeping 6 feet apart to prevent virus spread
- staying home and only going out for food, or medicine
- reducing contact with others
- working from home
- helping your employees stay home
- grocery shopping online or having someone do this for you
Social distancing is a new concept for us, so I want to be clear:
- having friends over for dinner or coffee is not social distancing.
- arranging playdates for your kids is also not social distancing
- visiting friends and family in long-term care homes, or hospital is not social distancing.
- stopping at a grocery store to stock up after travel, including travel to the United States, is not social distancing."
The efforts of our health care workers, pharmacists, and those working with vulnerable populations... and to all working in retail to sustain us - the grocery store clerks and gas station operators - those working in restaurant kitchens or the takeout and delivery windows - to those cleaners and truck drivers...and to all others working so we can be home... thank you.
I will continue to respond to e-mails as best I can and I will continue to use twitter (@shelleylaskin) to share as much information as I can including links to activity sites. Let's continue to do our part - let's "plank the curve".
Please stay home.Please read with your child or have your child/youth read.
We are all in this together.
Director’s Update on the Continuation of Learning for Students, Student Graduation and Post-Secondary Transition
Friday, March 20, 2020
The continuation of student learning is our top priority as we return from March Break and face the challenges this poses in the current unprecedented situation where schools are closed.
Today, phase one of support for student learning was launched with the Ministry of Education’s Learning at Home
website. This portal provides supplementary learning materials in math and literacy for elementary and secondary students. The website will help keep students learning and engaged during the COVID-19 school closure period. The ministry has said that these resources do not replace what students have been learning at school, but are intended to help mitigate learning loss during the COVID-19 shutdown period.
In announcing this new initiative, Education Minister Stephen Lecce also stated that if school closures go beyond April 5, the Ministry of Education will launch a second phase of Learn at Home.
Also today, the TDSB is providing additional online resources that will support the Ministry’s Learn at Home initiative, covering a range of grades and subjects that may be helpful for students and parents during this time. It is important to note that these online resources
are not mandatory or graded and are meant for families to use as optional resources to support independent learning while students are at home.
In addition, the ministry has asked school boards to use the next two weeks to develop plans to re-establish the delivery of curriculum, and to explore ways to provide students with access to devices and internet connectivity in the event the closure is extended. In creating our plan, we are collaborating with school administrators, educators, and union and federation partners to explore a range of ways that teachers and educational workers will be supported to be able to reach students during the school closure period. These relationships are important in supporting students’ wellbeing and learning. School closures due to COVID-19 have created new stressors for some students and their families. Beginning on Monday, March 23, 2020, many members of the Professional Support Services staff with mental health expertise will reach out to the students with whom they have relationships. In a few days, a variety of mental health resources will be announced on the TDSB webpage. Students who require urgent support should contact the Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868. Alternative methods of contacting them are available at https://kidshelpphone.ca/call.
Their counsellors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days per week.
We understand that parents and students are very concerned about this interruption to student learning. We also understand the importance of teachers, administrators and all education staff to provide the learning opportunities and programs our students need. We ask for your patience as we collaborate with all stakeholders to finalize how this direct support to students will be offered over the next while. We are committed to working through all aspects of this situation quickly and effectively under these very difficult circumstances.
The TDSB has been working to resolve a number of challenges that lie in creating conditions where all students and teachers have access to devices and the internet and supporting our Special Education and English as a Second Language students. We are committed to working through all aspects of this situation quickly and effectively under these very difficult circumstances. We are working on our plan and once finalized, we will share it with staff, students and families.
These are the challenges that school boards are working on now with the Ministry of Education as we know the continuation of learning is top of mind for parents and students.
Finally, we also know that parents of students in their last year of high school are concerned about graduation. We heard from the Minister of Education today that no student will be denied graduation as a result of school closures due to COVID-19. Parents are also concerned about the impact of the disruption to learning on students’ post-secondary plans, the submission of marks and applications. We understand the Ministry of Education is working with the Ministry of Colleagues and Universities to ensure there is post-secondary transition contingency plan in place and more details from province will be provided soon.
We remain committed to keeping you informed as we strive to meet the challenges of supporting student learning during these most extraordinary times and conditions.
Originally signed by John Malloy
Please note - as the Director's message states, staff are working on a contingency plan to provide learning for students should this closure continue. Please note we cannot replicate "school"... and we know that whatever we do there must be multiple options as we consider the issues of equity and accessibility - students, parents and staff. TDSB Senior Staff are consulting with union partners regarding system expectations. There will be more soon... please bear with us as we work through these unprecedentedtimes with health and safety in mind and the learning of well-being of ALL our students.
Letter to Ontario Parents from Minister Lecce
Early Sunday Evening, Minister of Education Lecce tweeted a letter to all Ontario Parents. Click here to read the letter.
The health and safety of all students, staff and school communities is our top priority. In partnership with public health officials, the Toronto District School Board is closely monitoring the current situation with regards to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19)
If you have any health-related questions, you can call Toronto Public Health at 416-338-7600, Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., and on weekends from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Translation is available in many languages.
Other Important Links:
Event Cancellations – March 14 to June 2020
As per Ministerial Order from the Education Minister, the Ontario government is ordering school boards, including the TDSB, to close schools beginning on March 14 through to April 5 to minimize contact between people, especially children, in order to contain the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). During this time, all TDSB schools and sites will be closed and all other programs and services will also be closed/cancelled. This will include all meetings and ward forums planned during this time period, and meetings will be rescheduled when schools are once again open and it is business as usual.
Please also note the Education Minister has cancelled all remaining standardized tests for the 2019-2020 school year due to the Coronavirus Outbreak - these include the OSSLT Test that was scheduled for March 31, 2020, the Grade 9 Math scheduled for June 2-15, 2020 and the Primary/ Junior EQAO scheduled for May 19-June 1, 2020. For students who are graduating in the 2019-20 school year, the literacy graduation requirement as set out in Ontario Schools, Kindergarten to Grade 12: Policy and Program Requirements, 2016 will be waived. Students who are not graduating this school year will have the opportunity to write the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT) in the upcoming 2020-21 school year.
TDSB School Playgrounds and Structures
At the TDSB, the health and safety of all students, staff and school communities is our top priority. It is with this in mind that we would like to remind our communities of the importance of social distancing and minimizing contact between people, especially children, in order to contain the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
We know how challenging it can be for families to remain indoors and away from others and how important it is to continue to get fresh air and physical exercise. However, we have become aware that the play structures and equipment at some schools are being heavily used by many children at the same time. We would like to remind the community that it is incredibly important to keep your distance from others, including on playgrounds. Children should only be using this equipment when it is not occupied by additional children. Also, remind children regularly to avoid touching their face, nose and mouth and practice hand hygiene frequently while visiting playgrounds and after using playground equipment.
We continue to monitor the situation closely in partnership with public health officials and will let the community know if anything changes. They are the experts and they have been amazing colleagues to work with.
Thank you for your understanding and cooperation as we work together to maintain the health and safety of our communities.
Note - Director John Malloy has been working with Dr. Eileen de Villa, our public health leader in Toronto, regarding playgrounds. Although I am hearing from some of you to close our playgrounds, Public Health is still not providing that direction; rather, they continue to say that families need to get outside if they are well AND they need to practice Social Distancing AND they need to wash their hands. In her statement on March 21, 2020 Dr de Villa addressed this issue -
We have received inquiries about gathering in parks and playgrounds in the city. While exercise and enjoying the outdoors is important for those who are not self-isolating, these gatherings may pose a risk to the health of families and the wider community. To that end, the City will begin erecting signage near playgrounds reminding the public of the importance of social distancing and that playgrounds are not sanitized. Full statement here
We will continue to follow the direction of Toronto Public Health. But please, please practice physical distancing when in school grounds - and please wash your hands.
Special Virtual Board Meeting - Tuesday, March 24, 2020 at 4:30 p.m.
Special Virtual Board Meeting - Tuesday, March 24, 2020 -
The purpose of the meeting is to consider recommendations from the Finance, Budget and Enrolment Committee (Special Meeting) regarding School-Based Staff Allocation, 2020-21 and Three-Year Financial Projections. Please note that due to the closure of the Toronto District School Board until April 5, 2020 this meeting will be held virtually. Click here to follow -https://www.tdsb.on.ca/Leadership/Boardroom/Live-Webcast-of-Meetings
- 3.1 Staff Allocation 2020-2021: Non-Classroom and Support Staff - for details, please check the committee report here
- 3.2 Three-Year Financial Projections - for details, please check the committee report here
We Want to Hear From You
The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) is committed to open and inclusive policy decision-making and values community input and participation through consultation. Consultation is a two-way communication process between the Board and external participants, including students and their parents/guardians, school councils, advisory committees, community members, different levels of government, service agencies, professional organizations and union partners. The objective of consultation is to gather public input regarding options, alternative courses of action, as well as to identify unintended effects for various participants and to find solutions.
Policy development and reviews are carried out in accordance with the policy review schedule that is approved by the Board of Trustees and is revised on a regular basis. To view the latest policy review schedule, please click here
We would like to know your thoughts about our policy decisions by inviting you to our policy consultations. Please click on the policy of your interest to see the current draft. You are welcome to provide your comments, including suggestions on the wording and provisions of the draft policies, questions or recommendations using the contact information below.
Records and Information Management Policy - Deadline: By April 14, 2020 Draft New Policy
Objective: The Records and Information Management Policy supports the Toronto District School Board’s commitment to the effective, efficient and secure management of recorded information, regardless of format or media. The Policy is consistent with subsection 171. (1), par. 38 of the Education Act which states the Board may institute a program of records and information management.
To affirm the Board’s commitment to providing focused specialized programming in both local schools and in district-wide specialized schools or programs, and to improving access for all students to these programs. Learn more: https://www.tdsb.on.ca/High-School/Secondary-Program-Review
Parent and Community Involvement Policy (P023)
To establish a framework for building and supporting parent and community involvement in the Toronto District School Board. We are currently reviewing P023 – Parent and Community Involvement Policy
and are inviting feedback from our community as we develop the first draft of the policy. Learn more, and share your voice at www.tdsbengage.ca.
School Year Calendar 2020-2021 (TBC)
The 2020-2021 school year at the TDSB is recommended to begin on Tuesday, September 8, 2020 following the Labour Day long weekend. This is to be confirmed by the Ministry.
The un-official school year calendar for the Toronto District School Board runs from September 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020, inclusive.
- The last day of class for elementary students is June 29, 2021
- The last day of class for secondary (full year) students is June 27, 2020
- The last day of class for secondary (semestered) students is June 28, 202
School Year Calendar 2019-2020
The 2019-2020 school year at the TDSB begins on Tuesday, September 3, 2019 following the Labour Day long weekend. For more information about important dates and holidays for the upcoming school year, please refer to the 2019-20 School Year Calendar.
The official school year calendar for the Toronto District School Board runs from September 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020, inclusive.
- The last day of class for elementary students is June 25, 2020
- The last day of class for secondary (full year) students is June 23, 2020
- The last day of class for secondary (semestered) students is June 23, 2020
PA Days & Statutory Holidays
- Madatory Closure March 16 to April 5, 2020
- Good Friday April 10, 2020
- Easter Monday April 13, 2020
- Victoria Day May 18, 2020
- Elementary School PA Day June 5, 2020
- Secondary School PA Day (Full Year Schools only) June 24, 2020
- Secondary School PA Day June 25, 2020
- Board-wide PA Day June 26, 2020
Also please note -
- Passover begins sunset of Wednesday, April 8, 2020 and ends nightfall of Thursday, April 16, 2020
- Ramadan 2020 will begin in the evening of Thursday, April 23, 2020 and ends in the evening of Saturday, May 23, 2020 (dates may vary)
- Eid al-Fitr 2020 will begin in the evening of Saturday, May 23, 2020
EQAO - Cancelled for the rest of 2019-2020