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Some reminders as you prepare for the first day of school

Some reminders as you prepare for the first day of school

​To help your family prepare, we're sharing some reminders of what you need to know before your child's first day of school. Don't forget, for a more detailed breakdown of the board's Reopening Plans, including answers to Frequently Asked Questions, please visit www.peelschools.org/reopening

​Dear Peel District School Board Families,

The week before school is traditionally a busy one, as students and families get back into old routines and get ready for some new ones. Even though this school year will be different than others, we are very excited to welcome you back for another year of learning together. To help your family prepare, we're sharing some reminders of what you need to know before your child's first day of school. Don't forget, for a more detailed breakdown of the board's Reopening Plans, including answers to Frequently Asked Questions, please visit www.peelschools.org/reopening

PDSB Online School families, you will be receiving a separate email today with more details about your new virtual learning experience.

School start dates and times

To help students and staff adjust to new school routines, the first day of school will be different than in previous school years. Rather than all students returning on one day, students will gradually return by attending orientation sessions during the weeks of Sept. 8 and 14. If you aren't sure which day your child will be starting school, please visit our gradual return to school webpage or contact your school directly. Unless your school has told you otherwise, orientation start and end times will be the same as your school hours for the year.

Secondary schools emailed families directly on Sept. 1, 2020 with orientation schedules and cohort groups. If you haven't received this, please contact your school directly. During Sept. 11 to 13, secondary students will receive an email from their school with timetables with courses for the quadmester.

Screen your child every day for COVID-19 symptoms

To help prevent COVID-19 from entering schools, parents/caregivers MUST screen their child(ren) for symptoms every day before they come to school. You can use the Ministry of Health's Ontario COVID-19 self-assessment tool to do this. If your child has any symptoms of COVID-19 or if they are ill, they should not go to school. 

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 include:

  • Fever (temperature of 37.8°C or greater)
  • New or worsening cough
  • Shortness of breath (dyspnea)

For other symptoms, please consult the Ministry of Health's COVID-19 reference document and to learn when different signs and symptoms of COVID-19 should be considered, particularly in children.

If your child will not be coming to school, please report their absence with Safe Arrival for elementary students or calling the school directly for secondary students. If your child is participating in full distance learning (PDSB Online School), you do not need to call in their absence, but should notify the online teacher.

Students who become ill during the day will be isolated and must be picked up from school as soon as possible. Students with symptoms will not be able to use student transportation.

Grade 1 to 12 students must wear a mask/face covering

As recommended by Peel Public Health, all students in Grades 1 to 12 will be required to wear a mask or face covering while indoors at school, including in classrooms and hallways. Peel Public Health has also indicated that the wearing of masks or face coverings is strongly recommended in Kindergarten. We ask that you practice mask-wearing routines at home, particularly with younger children, in preparation for reopening. Here are some tips. If your child is unable to wear a mask, please contact your school.

Follow new enhanced health and safety measures at your school

The Peel board is working closely with Peel Public Health to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our school communities. View a letter from Peel Public Health regarding the reopening of schools, as well as an overview presentation from Peel Public Health of the provincial school outbreak guidelines.

To reduce the risk, we have taken multiple additional health and safety measures, including enhanced cleaning, new hand hygiene routines, and reducing the number of contacts among individuals in the school. Your child will learn more about these routines during their orientation session(s) next week.

To help you become familiar with these new routines, we've created this "What to Expect" video to help you become more familiar with the practices that will be in place at schools this year. Watch the video here.​

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To learn more, visit our Enhanced Health and Safety Measures website at https://www.peelschools.org/schools/reopening/safety

Transportation

For families who are eligible, board-provided transportation routes will begin to run on Sept. 8, 2020. As in previous years, families can now access bus routes and information on Student Transportation of Peel Region (STOPR)'s website. Please log in to the STOPR parent/student portal to obtain your child's transportation information as times may have changed from previous years.

Mental health, well-being and community supports

We recognize that this has been a challenging year for many families and staff members. In so many ways, COVID-19 has disrupted and impacted our lives, and exacerbated the inequities that already existed in Peel communities.

To help with this, we've developed mental health and well-being supports and resources for students, staff and families, in consultation with child and youth mental health agencies. You can also access this resource for a comprehensive list of supports available in the community, including mental health, food, financial and shelter information.

Equity of access

Using our Guiding Principles to Reopening Schools, we will provide students with a high-quality educational experience with a focus on student learning and achievement, whether they are learning in person or at home. As we enter a new school year, we will proceed with care and compassion, to support every learner equitably, through culturally responsive learning experiences that honour student identity and lived experiences.

If your child/teen requires a board-provided device to support online learning, please contact the school. We encourage families who can afford to purchase a device for their children to do so. This will allow us to concentrate on using our limited devices to supply to families who are unable to afford to purchase technology.​

Switching between learning models

To help us better prepare for this school year, we are strongly encouraging families to remain in the learning model that they have selected, understanding that each family's lived experience and needs are unique. If you would like to switch learning models, please contact your principal directly by Sept. 10, 2020.

Protect yourself and others

The Ontario Ministry of Health advises everyone to take an active role in protecting themselves from COVID-19. Here are a few things that you and your family can do:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Sneeze and/or cough into your sleeve.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home and isolate if you or anyone in your household is sick.

For more information on COVID-19, please visit Ontario.ca/coronavirus.

Last, but certainly not least: Thank you

For many of us, 2020 has been a year of uncertainty and unimaginable challenges. We sincerely thank all parents and caregivers, staff and students for your understanding, patience and kindness as we've worked to plan for the safe return to school. We take this responsibility very seriously and will continue to always prioritize student and staff safety, health and well-being in all we do.

 

 

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