Since my last communication to you, the governments of Ontario and Canada have continued to take unprecedented steps to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus. This includes public statements by Premier Doug Ford that schools will not be reopening on April 6 and as such, the St. Clair Catholic District School Board is continuing to plan for an extended period of learning at home for our students.
I want to assure you that we at St. Clair Catholic are doing our best in collaboration with the province, to ensure that your child is connected to ongoing learning opportunities. Over the course of this week and into next week, our principals and teachers will be contacting students and families to determine what is needed to support teacher-led learning and to support student learning at the Learn At Home website: https://www.ontario.ca/page/learn-at-home It is expected that distance learning will be the reality for the foreseeable future. Our teachers will utilize many forms of communication to achieve this purpose, including, but not limited to, online platforms, email, Canada Post mail services and telephone.
- Through the Learn At Home online portal, the Ministry is committed to creating and sharing learning opportunities for students from K-12 with plans to expand these resources.
- It is important to note that Learn At Home activities are not mandatory and will not be graded, but are meant as supplementary resources to support independent practice at home. In addition, supplementary resources for parents will be available at our new Parent Learning Hub, which goes live on the Board website at www.st-clair.net on Monday, March 30.
- In collaboration with the Ontario Ministry of Education, we will work to provide ongoing, meaningful learning opportunities to support students to successfully complete the current school year. Preparations are ongoing to enable other distance learning opportunities for our students. Further details will follow.
- To support families during the next phase of distance learning, teachers are reaching out to determine which families do not have access to technology. The Board hopes to deploy technology to these families over the next week. We will find ways to support learning opportunities for students who do not have internet access.
- Minister of Education Stephen Lecce has stated that no student will lose the opportunity to graduate as a result of the pandemic. The Minister has waived OSSLT literacy requirements for the current Grade 12 graduating class and is in discussions with colleges and universities regarding graduation requirements and the application and admittance processes.
Our Board website also has links to resources that support us as a faith community. During these challenging times Pope Francis calls us to “respond with the universality of prayer, compassion, and tenderness. Let us unite.” We will continue to post resources that offer meaningful ways to help us connect as a faith community.
I encourage you to continue to visit the Board website at www.st-clair.net for a full menu of mental health and wellbeing resources, which include coping strategies and ways to help you talk to your child about the COVID-19 pandemic.
Finally, I again urge you to closely follow all directives from our government leaders and public health professionals. Never before has our global community faced a threat to our health such as COVID-19. Only by doing all that we can to limit the spread of the virus can we hope to return to life as we knew it not so long ago.
Please be confident that we are here to support you and that we are working through difficult and challenging circumstances to implement the next phase of our distance learning strategies to support our students. Thank you again for your patience.
As a community of faith, let us walk together in the light of Christ toward the beautiful and Holy season of Easter, with all of the hope and renewal that it brings.
Blessings to you and your family!
Director of Education