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Dear friends,
As we move into late August, school planning is in full swing. On Tuesday, we held a Planning & Priorities Committee meeting centering around a Toronto Public Health/TPH presentation by Dr. Vinita Dubey, Toronto's Associate Medical Officer of Health as well as a presentation by TDSB senior staff. This meeting provided a significant amount of information, including extensive updates about what Back to School in September will look like. As staff continue to review the most recent Guidance from Toronto Public Health (which builds on the Government's Guidance for the 2021-22-22 school year, and their School Outbreak Management Guidance), staff will continue to update our framework for returning to school.
Highlights of the meeting are included below, but for a more complete picture of the latest, you may wish to go through the presentations themselves (links above), or, alternatively, (re-)watch the meeting in the TDSB web archive (here). Meetings are also often summarized (live!) by Trustee Shelley Laskin - including Tuesday's meeting. Trustees had a chance to ask questions, and many of those, as well as information from the meeting, are now summarized and posted on our website in a section entitled 2021-2022 School Year . Please check this area frequently if you are looking for information on back to school, as the Questions & Answers section is updated regularly (most recent update on Wednesday, previous versions August 11 and August 9). 
As mentioned in my newsletter last week, I had drawn up an emergency motion to present on Tuesday evening calling on our Director to work with TPH and employee groups and federations to develop a policy requiring vaccinations for all education staff. As the Province held a press conference a few hours before our meeting, where Dr. Kieran Moore announced that the Provincial Government would make vaccinaton policies mandatory for high-risk settings, including schools, I decided to put my motion aside for now so as not to busy staff with work that was likely redundant as the province appears to be issuing a similar framework. However, given the limited information we had regarding the government's policy at that point in time, I did request that our director provide an update on on the provincial plan for mandatory vaccinations/testing requirements next week at our August 24th board meeting, so that we can consider our next steps. As this is an evolving area, with developments regarding vaccine requirements emerging hourly in all sorts of sectors, I will continue to push to ensure our buildings are as safe as possible for students and staff alike. 
In addition, I want to draw everyone's attention to provincial-level advocacy on behalf of all publicly-funded school boards through the Ontario Public Schools Boards' Association (OPSBA), of which TDSB trustees are members. Last week, on August 13, OPSBA called on the government to make vaccination mandatory. This week, the Association also welcomed Tuesday's announcement regarding staff vaccination requirements, and urged that work continue to add Covid-19 vaccination to the compulsary list from the Immunication of School Pupils Act. To read OPSBA's statement, please click here.
The work of OPSBA ion all of our behalf is crucial in this regard, as they represent all Ontario Public School Boards. We are stronger when we work together!
2021-2022 school year banner
August 17 Planning & Priorities Meeting 

Below are various highlights from the Toronto Public Health presentation and the TDSB Staff Presention on August 17. 
  • Overall, 71% of the online selection forms were completed.
  • Of those, 86% in both elementary and secondary choose the in-person model.
  • Responses from families who made their selection via phone were not included in the presented numbers and will be provided in a later update.
  • Families who did not respond online or by phone have been placed in the in-person model
  • For those who selected virtual learning, families will receive more information from their home school prior to September 9.
  • Requests for a switch between in-person and virtual learning will not be possible until the February switch date.
  • For any questions, please contact your child’s school when it reopens - elementary (August 30) and secondary (August 23).
  • Emails will go out August 23 to families who have not yet returned borrowed devices. Devices can be dropped off at the nearest TDSB school starting August 30th.
  • Families who selected virtual learning and requested a device will be contacted by their homeschool to pick up devices between September 2-9
  • Continue with guidelines established last year, including: masking, assigned seating and cleaning, which follows Ministry guidance. Transportation to be phased-in: Special Education students (excluding gifted) begin September 9 and all other students begin September 15.
  • Elementary to continue to eat in classrooms or other spaces where physical distancing and effective routines can be maintained
  • Secondary lunch protocols are being developed and will nee to take into consideration school layout and size of space
  • Elementary students will continue to take breaks within cohorts with physical distancing
  • Protocols may be updated as status of pandemic changes
  • Virtual assemblies will continue. 
  • Assemblies will be allowed outdoors (weather permitting) with distancing between cohorts.
  • Protocols are being developed with Toronto Public Health & Ophea (Ontario Physical and Health Education Association) to address HPE during the pandemic.
  • Vocal music will be allowed indoors with masks and outdoors without masks. In both cases physical distancing will be required and cohorts maintained.
  • Protocols are being developed with Toronto Public Health and Ontario Music Educators Association (OMEA) to address the use of musical instruments during the pandemic.
  • Protocols are being developed for extra curriculars
  • A phased in approach is being developed for community use of schools, beginning after school procedures are well established.
  • Use of face masks by all students (JK to Grade 12) is required.
  • The implementation measures used successfully last year such as directional signs, cleaning routines and the use of HEPA filters in every classroom will augment the health and safety protocols outlined above.
  • All health and safety protocols will be reviewed and adjusted as appropriate in consultation with Toronto Public Health.
Visit the TDSB website for more information about ventilation in TDSB schools and other health and safety measures.
  • Instructional Model: In all elementary schools there will be in person classes and dedicated virtual learning classes. Where numbers are small in individual school, virtual classrooms will be created from a cluster of schools in the Learning Network/Learning Centre ('hub model'). 
  • Simultaneous learning (educators teaching lessons for both in-person and virtual students at the same time) may be used as a solution in exceptional circumstances to meet student needs.
  • Class Size: Regular classroom caps and system averages for in person and virtual are being honoured and all classes will be staffed, based on these caps.
  • Virtual learning classes will be comprised of straight and combined grades. There is potential for triple combined grade classes if required in some cases (as may be the case for in person learning as well).
  • All virtual learning teachers will work in person in a school and will be considered a member of the in person school staff. Educators will have the camera on during instructional time.
  • Virtual learning classes follow the daily schedule of the school to which the virtual learning teacher is assigned (e.g. start and end times).
  • Brightspace will be the learning management platform for all virtual learning classes (reporting, Principal access, etc). Google Classrooms can be used within the Brightspace platform. TDSB also supports other online web conferencing tools such as Zoom for educator use in virtual classrooms.
  • Programming (e.g., French Immersion/Extended French) will proceed only if there is sufficient enrollment to offer classes.
  • Programming may be provided to classes made up of straight and/or combined grades with the potential of triple combined grade classes, if required.
  • Virtual Learning classes will be assigned to specific schools that already house the specific French program(s) and may include students from the local school and/or a cluster of local school.
  • If a French Virtual Learning class is not available (i.e. due to insufficient enrollment), a student may be accommodated in In-Person Learning French at the student’s current French school of record. If the student would like to remain in Virtual Learning, they will be placed in an English Virtual Learning class, and given an opportunity to switch to an In Person French class at the February switch (if space allows).
  • Instructional Model: There will be in person classes, dedicated virtual learning classes,and classrooms with simultaneous learning to maintain access to desired programming andconnection to school communities.
  • Class Size: Regular classroom caps and system averages are being honoured.
  • All virtual teachers will work in person in a school and will be considered a
    member of the in person school staff. Educators will have the camera on
    during instructional time.
  • Classes follow the day schedule of the school to which the virtual learning
    teacher is assigned (e.g., start and end times).
  • Brightspace will be the learning management platform for all virtual classes (reporting, Principal access, etc.). Google Classrooms ca be used within the Brightspace platform. TDSB also supports other online web conferencing tools such as Zoom for educator use in virtual classrooms.
  • In Person Learning
    Students will be welcomed back into Specialized Programs with the intent of supporting continued progress in their chosen program this school year.
  • Virtual Learning
    If a school has sufficient requests to create viable Virtual Learning classrooms
    (FI, IB, AP, Alternative, Arts, etc.), they will be able to create a Virtual Class
    with a dedicated teacher.
  • Simultaneous
    If Virtual Learning classes are not possible, Simultaneous Learning (educators teaching lessons for both in-person and virtual students at the same time) will allow students to continue in their program of choice with peers.
  • In Person Learning
    Students receiving special education program and/or service in regular classes or students in an Intensive Support Program (ISP) will continue tobe supported by classroom teachers, special education teachers, support staff, and itinerant special education staff.
  • Virtual Learning
    Students in Virtual Learning regular classes receiving special
    education program and/or services or in an ISP, will be connected to their
    homeschool and receive support from the classroom teacher, special education
    teacher and/or support staff from their home school which may include simultaneou learning for students in elementary ISP classes (Gifted ISP model may differ based
    on the number of students who selected Virtual Learning).
Back to School: Supporting Transitions and Re-Engagement
Wednesday, September 1, 6:30 – 8 p.m.
The start of a new school year is always filled with anticipation, but this year, we recognize especially the anxiety, fear and uncertainty that comes with returning to learning. Let’s connect about some areas we can help support students with coming back to school, including routines, separation anxiety, and the social and emotional challenges of this new school year. Join us in our welcoming community circle as we connect, heal and hear diverse perspectives and experiences that allow us all to find new ways of moving forward.  
To join, closer to September 1, click the Let's Connect web page
Vaccines provide the best protection against COVID-19 and variants. The sooner you get both of your shots, the better for all.
Toronto's data is updated twice per week on Monday and Thursday by 4:00 PM, except on statutory holidays. As of August 16:
  • 81.8% of 12+ with at least one shot (which is 72.6% of all Torontonians);
  • 74.9% off 12+ fully vaccinated (66.1% of all Torontonians)
Among youth 12-17 years old: 
  • 79.1% with at least one shot. 
  • 65.8% fully vaccinated
More more details are available on the City's Vaccine Data web page

Vaccine Hunters Canada now has vaccine finding information by region / PHU, including DAILY POP-UPs, WALK-INs and APPOINTMENT options - and the information is updated nightly - please click
East Toronto Clinics: from August 19 to 29, there will be several pop-up vaccine clinics in East Toronto. Open to anyone age 12 and older in any “M" postal code for both 1st & 2nd doses. Walk-ins  often welcome. Click for Mobile and Pop-Up Vaccination Clinics in East Toronto, as listed by Michael Garron Hospital/East Toronto Health Network. 
TDSB: The TDSB COVID-19 Vaccines page also has information about daily pop-up clinics in TDSB schools and links to Vaccine Hunters and other resouces. Please visit the TDSB Covid-19 Vaccines page
The first day of classes for students is THURSDAY, September 9th.
The last day of class for elementary students is June 30, 2022.
The last day of class for secondary students is June 29, 2022
There are no classes for students on the dates listed below:

As we move towards reopening our schools, we strongly encourage all of those eligible for Covid-19 vaccines to please get vaccinated, including those born in 2009 who are now able to be vaccinated even if they are not yet 12. Let's all do our part to keep our students and staff as safe as possible!

There are many clinics open to those 12 and older (or turning 12 in 2009) near Ward 11/Don Valley West on a daily basis. To learn more about the many city, hospital, pharmacy and mobile clinics, click on the graphics earlier in this newsletter, or go to the Michael Garron Hospital website for a list of pop-up clinics located in close proximity to Ward 11, also available by clicking here.
In order to be fully vaccinated for the start of school, don't delay, get your shot today!

Warm regards,


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

Over the summer, or at any time, 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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