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Dear friends,
Although only a month into 2022, things are busy as ever at the TDSB. With students back onsite, our buildings are bursting with life and the playgrounds are full of children excited to see their friends and teachers.
Last week also saw the observance of two sombre days of reflection and remembrance: International Holocaust Remembrance Day and National Day of Remembrance and Action Against Islamophobia, the latter marking the anniversary of the attack on the Islamic Cultural Centre in Quebec City. 
With the start of February, TDSB kicked off our annual African Heritage Month with an online event (soon to be posted to our website for those who missed it), and tomorrow, Thursday, February 3, will mark the start of second semester for our secondary students with the long-awaited return of the traditional semester schedule! 
To those celebrating Lunar New Year, we wish you a happy and healthy New Year. Although it has been a wintery and challenging start to 2022, seeing pictures and learning of ways students and staff are finding creative and fun ways to celebrate and learn about the Lunar New Year has definitely given me the feeling that things are looking up! One of my favourite 2022 Lunar New Year stories comes from our kindergarten team at Northlea, where one young student wrote a book, complete with photos, all about her family's new year traditions. She and her classmates then made paper lanterns, and a group of students, along with their teacher, Ms. Constantin, brought some of the lanterns to the principal's office to help her decorate. A parent had kindly sent in some bubble wrap to mimic the sound of fireworks, so upon learning of this, the principal shared her secret stash of bubblewrap with the students. The group was, quite understandibly, thrilled to discover even more bubble wrap, so decided to hold a meeting to determine the best way to divide up the bubblewrap between the rest of the kindergarten classes. These young leaders and their educators are taking every opportunity for learning, and having so much fun in the process!  
The TDSB continues to work with Toronto Public Health (TPH) in supporting the rollout of vaccination clinics for students, specifically those in the 5 to 11 age bracket. TPH and local health partners have prioritized areas within the city and are offering a number of clinics at individual schools and in hub models to help make vaccinations as accessible as possible for students and their families. Included below is a list of upcoming clinics being offered in East Toronto, all of which are open to families from any M postal code and will have first and second doses for anyone 5 and up, and boosters for those who are 18+. 
In addition, as directed by the province, we are continuing conversations about how to safely offer clinics during the school day for students age 5 to 11 with written consent from their parent/guardian. More information will be forthcoming as the logistics of these clinics are worked out. 
I know many parents have questions about the vaccines, so to support the above efforts, I will be hosting a Ward 11 Virtual Forum tomorrow evening, February 3, from 5:30 - 7:30pm. For the first hour we will be joined by Dr. Janine McCready of Michael Garron Hospital. She has been an instrumental leader in Covid-19 infection prevention, testing, and vaccination efforts, as well as a tremendous resource and support to schools in East Toronto, including many Ward 11 schools. She will provide us with the most recent data on Covid-19 vaccines for children and answer questions from parents and caregivers. During the second hour, we will be joined by our two Ward 11 Superintendents, Andrew Howard and Roni Felsen, and open the floor to a more general discussion and information-sharing session about school reopening and the 2022 school year. Check out the event flyer, or register here
See below for more information about events, deadlines and announcements, including an important survey regarding interest in Before and After-School Program interest (BASP childcare). I hope to see as many of you as possible Thursday night at the ward forum, and wish everyone a great rest of the week! 
Warm regards,
Rachel Chernos Lin, TDSB Trustee, Ward 11, Don Valley West

February is Kindergarten Registration Month

Registration for all TDSB Kindergarten programs begins in February 2022. You may choose to register using the online registration system or Virtual Face to Face, via Zoom.
Children who will be four by December 31, 2022 (born in 2018), can start Junior Kindergarten in September 2022. Please note: Only parents or legal guardians can register a child for TDSB programs. 

Before-and After-School Program (BASP) Interest Survey for Students K - grade 6

In alignment with P.022 Early Learning and Care Policy, the TDSB recognizes Before-and After-School Programs (BASPs) are an integral part of Early Years learning. These programs also play an important role in supporting our students, families and school communities. 
Under the Education Act, O. Reg. 221/11, school boards are required to offer Before-and After-School Programs (BASP) in all elementary schools serving students in grades JK to 6, where there is sufficient demand or viability. More information about these requirements can be found in the Ministry of Education Before-and After-School Programs Kindergarten-Grade 6 Policies and Guidelines for School Boards.
The TDSB Child Care Services team conducts a parent BASP Interest Survey to determine if there is sufficient interest in developing a viable fee-based BASP in schools that currently do not have a program. More information about the survey will be posted on our website and the BASP survey is available for the month of February.

Return to regular High School Semesters

Following consultations with Toronto Public Health (TPH) and after receiving feedback from students, families and educators, it has been determined that all secondary schools will return to a regular timetable of a four-period day effective the first day of Semester 2 on February 3, 2022.
In Semester 2, the school day will continue to begin at the current time of 9 a.m. and will end at 2:55 p.m. Based on guidance from TPH, the current length of the lunch period will remain the same (45 minutes), however it will be reviewed as we enter warmer weather in Semester 2 and as COVID-19 circumstances change.
Students learning virtually in Semester 2 are expected to have their cameras on during class time. Zoom Backgrounds are available for students for privacy. Students can speak with their guidance counsellor, Vice-Principal or Principal about any concerns. Students who are learning virtually, and require a device with a camera and/or mic, can make arrangements by speaking with their school vice-principal or principal.  
Read more: here.

Optional Attendance 2022-2023

Students who reside within the City of Toronto have the right to attend a school which is designated to serve their residential address. The "Find Your School" section of the website identifies the designated schools for each residential address. Students also have the opportunity to access schools outside of the school that is designated to serve their residential address by applying for optional attendance. Acceptance at these schools is subject to space availability and program suitability. Most schools in Ward 11 are closed to Optional Attendance.

If you are planning to apply to a TDSB Elementary school through the Optional Attendance process, please visit the TDSB Optional Attendance webpage to get up to date information.

Elementary Optional Attendance – Key Dates:

  • February 11, 2022: Optional attendance forms due at elementary school
  • March 04, 2022: Deadline for parents/guardians to be informed of the status of the application request
  • March 25, 2022: Parents/guardians must inform the requested school of their acceptance of the offer

Secondary Optional Attendance – Key Dates:

  • February 11, 2022: Date for parents/guardians of students to be informed of the status of the application request (forms were due January 28)
  • February 22, 2022: Parents/guardians must inform the requested school of their acceptance of the offer via email and submit course selections via MyBlueprint

TDSB Student Senate 2022/2023

On January 20 and 21, students in Grades 7-11 from across the Toronto District School Board participated in an online election for members of the Student Senate.
Check out the slate of elected members in the Student Senate news article on the TDSB website.

Student Equity Initiative - Students Grades 7-11 needed

TDSB is launching a Student Equity Collective. This is an opportunity to not only sit at the table, but to design what the table looks like, drive the conversation, and bring ideas, solutions and recommendations forward that address what you want to address. 
If you are a TDSB student in Grade 7 to 11 with an understanding of, and commitment to, addressing racism, hate and all forms of discrimination; if you bring a passion and enthusiasm for collaborative problem-solving, idea generation and change, please apply by February 11, 2022 at 4pm.

TDSB International Baccalaureate Program/Fee Update

In 2019, the TDSB instituted International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma annual program fees of $1,500 for Grade 11 and 12 students enrolling in the program, beginning in the 2020-21 school year. 
Due to the pandemic, the IB program fees were suspended for the 2020-21 and 2021-22 school years. Families who had submitted payments were refunded in full. As the future status of the pandemic remains uncertain, TDSB will be extending the suspension of fees for the 2022-23 school year. 

Community Use of Schools update - Permits resume February 22

The provincial government recently announced a three-step plan to ease COVID-19 
restrictions which will include resumption of indoor recreational activities. As a result, community permits will resume on Tuesday February 22, 2022. A letter is sent to all permit holders this week to notify them of this plan. The resumption will include swimming pool permits, weekend permits and weekday evening permits that were initially scheduled to commence on January 17, 2022.
Usage will be restricted to common areas such as gymnasiums, cafeterias, and auditoriums. Similar to the fall permit structure, there will be a limit of one group per school per night and 2 groups on the weekends, to allow time for enhanced cleaning to occur between and after each permit use. Priority will be given to Not for profit groups serving children, youth, and seniors.
Permit holders will be required to submit an Vaccine Attestation form for every permit use and all participants must provide proof of vaccination to partake in a permit activity. 

Policy Consultation: Naming Schools, Special-Purpose Areas, and Teams (P047)

Please read the current draft of the proposed policy and complete the survey. You are welcome to provide your comments, including suggestions on the wording and provisions of the draft policies, questions or recommendations. The Survey is open until March 14.

Covid-19 Vaccines for children ages 5-11

Prior to the winter break, Trustee Trixie Doyle (Don Valley East) and I organized a Joint Ward Forum about the Covid-19 Vaccine for children aged 5-11. Supported by Michael Garron Hospital (MGH)/Toronto East Health Network (TEHN), it was geared to the Thorncliffe Park and Flemingdon Park communities. It was so well-received, I decided to organize a second forum on Thurday, February 22, this time for the whole ward (see flyer).
You can also read notes from the December meeting that are likely of interest to anyone with children 5-11, so please feel free to check out the Joint Forum Meeting Notes/Q&A. 

Learn more about vaccination for children 5-11:

How to book an vaccine appointment:
  • Book an appointment online at the dark blue “Book a Vaccine” button on or by calling the provincial vaccine booking line at 1-833-943-3900 (TTY 1-866-797-0007).
  • Watch for emails from your school for information about school pop-up clinics in your neighbourhood.
  • Michael Garron Hospital and East Toronto Health Partners oversees the Thorncliffe Hub Vaccination Centre and a variety of pop-ups clinics in Thorncliffe Park and Flemingdon Park as well as East Toronto. For more information, click: wwww.tehp/VaccinePopUps.
Vaccine Hunters - Do-it-yourself resource for finding vaccine related info. Find details on eligibility, appointments, walk-ins, pharmacy search tools, vaccine receipts + more!

Winter Well-Being Guide

As parents and caregivers, we may be wondering what we can do to help keep our children active and healthy, and to positively support their mental health and well-being. Within this guide (click to download the online document) you find a variety of culturally responsive resources and accessible activities to help make this winter a little easier and fun for you and your family. Information on where and how to reach out for help is also included.
Mental Health & Well-Being Supports

TDSB Professional Support Services offers virtual drop-in hours for parents and caregivers to discuss strategies to help support the mental health and well-being of your child.

There are sessions open to all (Tuesdays 10-11am; Thursdays 7-8pm) and a special drop-in for parents/caregivers of students with special/complex needs (Wednesdays 7-8pm). 

Learn more about Virtual Mental Health Support and/or click on the images above for the session links. 

February is African Heritage Month
During the month of February, the Toronto District School Board proudly recognizes African Heritage Month. It is an occasion to celebrate the many achievements and contributions of peoples of African descent to Canada and the world. The chosen theme for 2021-2022 is NIA: Walking in Our Purpose.
For more about African Heritiage Month, activities, and resources, read the AHM news article on the TDSB website, and/or follow on Twitter @tdsbAfricanHM and Instagram @tdsb_african_hm.
February is Chinese Heritage Month
The Toronto District School Board is proud to recognize Chinese Heritage Month (CHM) during the month of February.
This year CHM coincides with one of the most important Chinese celebrations, the Lunar New Year which begins on Tuesday, February 1st. Lunar New Year is also known as the spring festival and begins with the first moon of the lunar calendar and ends on the first moon of the lunar calendar 15 days later. We encourage everyone to participate and make our Chinese Heritage Month spectacular. This year’s theme is YEAR OF THE TIGER– Brave, Compassionate, Adventurous, and Optimistic.
For more about Chinese Heritiage Month, activities, and resources, read the CHM news article on the TDSB website, and/or follow on  twitter @tdsbChineseHM.
February 2 is Winter Walk Day & Global School Play Day

Global School Play Day

Almost 4,000 schools have already registered for Global School Day on February 2, 2022! This free event bringing awareness to the importance of unstructured play! #GSPD2022.
For more information -

Winter Walk Day

Winter Walk Day (WWD) is an annual celebration of winter walking that takes place on the first Wednesday of February. Schools across Ontario will celebrate WWD with special events on Wednesday, February 2nd, or throughout the month.

Share your WWD Stories on Twitter (@OntarioAST) #WinterWalkDay #WWD2022 #JourneyOutside #WinterWalk2School 
2021-2022 School Year Calendar
The first next Board-Wide PA Day is Friday, February 18 (Monday, February 21 is Family day). 
The last day of class is June 30 (for elementary students) or June 29 (for secondary students).
There are no classes for students on the dates listed below.

Wishing everyone good health, and hope to "see" many of you virtually next Thursday, February 3 at 5:30pm! 

As always, feel free to reach out to me with any questions, comments or concerns!

Rachel Chernos Lin, Ward 11 TDSB Trustee, Don Valley Wes

If you notice anything at a school that concerns you, please call the TDSB Security Call Centre (416) 395-4620 and the Toronto Police - non-emergencies can be reported by calling ‪416-808-2222.

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