Questions will be added to this page as we receive more information from the Ministry of Education and Region of Waterloo Public Health. If you have additional questions, please email info@wrdsb.ca 

General

Does my child have to return to school?

Your child does not have to return to school in person.  You can choose to have your child attend school via Distance Learning.   A Return to School Confirmation Form has been sent requiring families to decide whether their child/children will return in person or via distance learning. Please note that the form must be completed by August 13 for each child in your family.

How do I let the school know that my child will/will not return to school?

A Return to School Confirmation Form has been sent requiring families to decide whether their child/children will return to school in person or via distance learning.  Families are required to complete this form for each child by August 13, 2020. 

Will the school day be shorter?

Elementary school day schedules will look very similar to what families experienced prior to the school closure in March.  Secondary school day schedules will be shortened.   Please refer to the following for further details and sample school schedules.

If my child does not return to school in September, can they join at a later date?

For those families who would like to transition between in-person and distance learning, this option will be available to them at natural transition points throughout the school year. There are health and safety, transportation and staffing implications to requested changes and so we will need to respond in a way that maintains stability and consistency in the learning environment for our students, our staff, and our school communities. As always, in unique circumstances and on compassionate grounds, with the best interests of students and families in mind, we will accommodate family and student requests where we are able and in as timely a fashion as possible.

Over the course of the school year, where families would like to make a change to their child’s mode of learning, we would encourage you to reach out to the Principal of your child’s school by the deadlines outlined below. For Elementary students, there are two transition points. For Secondary students, this option will be available at the end of each quadmester.

Elementary

  • Start date of new mode of learning: Mid-October
    • The deadline for families to request a change to their child(ren)’s mode of learning will be September 25 at 4:00 pm
  • Start date of new mode of learning: February 3
    • The deadline for families to request a change to their child(ren)’s mode of learning will be January 15

Secondary

In secondary there will be three possible transition dates:

  • November 16 | Quadmester 2
    • The deadline for families to request a change to their child(ren)’s mode of learning for quadmester 2 will be October 23
  • February 4 | Quadmester 3
    • The deadline for families to request a change to their child(ren)’s mode of learning for quadmester 3 will be January 15
  • TBD | Quadmester 4
    • The start date for quadmester 4 and deadline to request a change to their child(ren)’s mode of learning will be communicated at a later date.
If I send my children to school in September and circumstances change, can I switch them to Distance Learning?

For those families who would like to transition between in-person and distance learning, this option will be available to them at natural transition points throughout the school year. There are health and safety, transportation and staffing implications to requested changes and so we will need to respond in a way that maintains stability and consistency in the learning environment for our students, our staff, and our school communities. As always, in unique circumstances and on compassionate grounds, with the best interests of students and families in mind, we will accommodate family and student requests where we are able and in as timely a fashion as possible.

Over the course of the school year, where families would like to make a change to their child’s mode of learning, we would encourage you to reach out to the Principal of your child’s school by the deadlines outlined below. For Elementary students, there are two transition points. For Secondary students, this option will be available at the end of each quadmester.

Elementary

  • Start date of new mode of learning: Mid-October
    • The deadline for families to request a change to their child(ren)’s mode of learning will be September 25 at 4:00 pm
  • Start date of new mode of learning: February 3
    • The deadline for families to request a change to their child(ren)’s mode of learning will be January 15

Secondary

In secondary there will be three possible transition dates:

  • November 16 | Quadmester 2
    • The deadline for families to request a change to their child(ren)’s mode of learning for quadmester 2 will be October 23
  • February 4 | Quadmester 3
    • The deadline for families to request a change to their child(ren)’s mode of learning for quadmester 3 will be January 15
  • TBD | Quadmester 4
    • The start date for quadmester 4 and deadline to request a change to their child(ren)’s mode of learning will be communicated at a later date.
Does my child have to wear a mask at school?

Students in Kindergarten to Grade 12 will be required to wear masks during the upcoming school year. This enhanced health and safety measure builds on the Provincial requirement for students in Grades 4 to 12 to wear masks during the school day.

Staff will also be exploring alternatives, such as face shields, for students who are unable to wear masks. Staff will work with and approach compliance among younger students with compassion and a focus on education. There will be no disciplinary action for students having difficulty complying.

What will school look like in the fall?

Elementary students will fully return to school with enhanced safety measures and a maximum of 30 students per class.  

Secondary students will return to school in a hybrid model, where students will attend in one of two cohorts on an alternate schedule that will include in-person attendance for at least 50% of instructional days.  

More information on schedules can be found in our return to school plan.

When would the learning format change?

If there is a change in the number of cases of COVID-19 and the Ministry of Education advises that there will be a change in learning format (ie: a shift to full distance learning, or a change to a full return for all grade levels), this change would be communicated to students, staff and families, and we would implement the necessary changes to our operations and learning delivery models.

Are all WCSSAA sports cancelled for the Fall season and/or the entire year?

The Fall season for WCSSAA has been cancelled. We will review the Winter season status and provide an update later this year.

What is the difference between Home Schooling and Distance Learning?

Home Schooling and Distance Learning are not the same.  

Distance Learning is an option available to families for those children who they decide will not return to school in person in September 2020.   Distance Learning is delivered through asynchronous (independent learning with online resources) and synchronous (together as a large or small group and teacher-led) learning by a qualified teacher.

Home Schooling is an option available to children of compulsory school age and the educational program is delivered by the parent.  Parents who wish to school their children at home are required to notify the Board, annually, in writing of their intention to do so. Home Schooling is a choice any parent may make for a child.  

Learn more about our Home Schooling procedure.

My child has Autism. Is there someone in the organization that works with children with Autism, that we could work with to make an educational plan if we choose the Distance Learning option?

Yes, we have a Central Autism Team that can be accessed to support planning for distance learning. There is a process to access these supports through a student’s home school.

What is a hybrid or adaptive learning model?

An adapted/hybrid delivery model includes a combination of in-class and distance learning for students.  In a hybrid model, students return to class with blended distance learning, which includes health and safety requirements that will limit the maximum number of students to approximately 15 per class. Each class would be divided into two cohorts, either A or B, with approximately 15 students per cohort (group). A combination of face-to-face instruction and distance learning, delivered through asynchronous (independent learning with online resources) and synchronous (together as a large or small group and teacher-led) learning, would make up the learning experience for our students.

How does full distance learning work?

ELEMENTARY: For those families who choose to have their child/children engage in Distance Learning and not return to school in person, distance learning will be provided by qualified WRDSB Teachers with programming based on the full Ontario curriculum.  Teachers will provide distance learning students with approximately 300 minutes of daily learning opportunities through daily asynchronous (independent learning with online resources) and synchronous (together as a large or small group and teacher-led) learning.  Students will be assessed and evaluated by teachers, putting an emphasis on conversations and observations in addition to the collection of student work submitted electronically or by mail.

Creating a sense of belonging and connections for students is critical in distance learning and a greater challenge compared to connecting in-person.  As such, teachers and other educational staff will provide 1:1 check-ins and connect with students and families to provide support, answer questions, and to continue to develop that ever-important educator-student relationship.  Students learn best when they know that the educator supporting them, knows them, cares about them, and is there for them.

SECONDARY: For those students who do not return to school in person, WRDSB Teachers will provide students with approximately 110 hours per course of learning opportunities through daily asynchronous (independent learning with online resources) and synchronous (together as a large or small group and teacher-led) learning.  Students will be assessed and evaluated by teachers, putting an emphasis on conversations and observations in addition to the collection of student work submitted electronically or by mail.

Creating a sense of belonging and connections for students is critical in distance learning and a greater challenge compared to connecting in-person.  As such, teachers and other educational staff will provide 1:1 check-ins and connect with students and families to provide support, answer questions, and to continue to develop that ever-important educator-student relationship.  Students learn best when they know that the educator supporting them, knows them, cares about them, and is there for them.

How can physical distancing be in place with full elementary classrooms?

Every effort will be made to ensure physical distancing in schools and to limit contact points for students. Changes to the normal daily routine will include a staggered entry for students, staggered recesses, limiting movement throughout the school, separating desks and clearing space in classrooms as much as possible.

Students in Kindergarten to Grade 12 will be required to wear masks during the upcoming school year. Staff will also be exploring alternatives, such as face shields, for students who are unable to wear masks. Staff will work with and approach compliance among younger students with compassion and a focus on education. There will be no disciplinary action for students having difficulty complying. 

Am I expected to teach my child at home?

The level of at-home learning necessary to support your child is completely up to the parent/guardian/caregiver. If enrolled in the distance learning model, lessons will be teacher-led (both synchronous and asynchronous learning) and will be provided by accredited teachers who are following the required Ontario Ministry of Education curriculum.

How do I find daycare that meets my needs?

The Region of Waterloo provides a listing of child care services in Waterloo region. Programs are subsidy-eligible for families who qualify and families can apply for up to 10 programs online at no cost.

What happens if your child has a psychological or medical condition that prevents them from being able to wear a mask?

In these circumstances as a result of a student’s exceptional need, there would not be a requirement to wear a mask. Staff will also be exploring alternatives, such as face shields, for students who are unable to wear masks.

Will the use of masks be enforced? If so, how?

The wearing of masks for students in Kindergarten through Grade 12 will be enforced as a classroom and school expectation. Educators and Administrators will work with students and families to comply with this expectation.

Staff will also be exploring alternatives, such as face shields, for students who are unable to wear masks. Staff will work with and approach compliance among younger students with compassion and a focus on education. There will be no disciplinary action for students having difficulty complying.

What will physical distancing look like in schools?

Classroom routines will change to optimize physical distancing. Some furniture and accessories will be removed to allow more space in the classroom. Clear signage and floor markers will be placed throughout the school to remind students and staff of physical distancing. Our educators and staff will support student understanding, at all grade levels, of the importance of physical distancing. It will take practice, but our educators and staff will work diligently to ensure that students are following physical distancing.

How are teachers going to teach kids to speak properly with masks (clear articulation)?

We know that communicating with masks may be a challenge for both students and staff alike. Speech may be muffled and facial expressions will be harder to read. School staff already use a variety of tools to help support and develop communication skills at school; visuals, gestures, and external cues are all a regular part of the learning environment. In addition, the WRDSB speech and language department is developing strategies to enhance communication while wearing a mask and physically distancing. They will continue to work closely with educational staff to support the development of speech and language skills in the classroom.

While many students have all the early sounds and language skills required to communicate effectively by school entry, some students may continue to struggle with the development of their speech and/or language skills. We have a team of speech and language professionals that are available to help support your child while they are at school. You can access these professionals by contacting your child’s classroom teacher to share your concerns.

How will Kindergarten Educators approach the use of masks?

Educators will support children as they learn about and become comfortable with the use of masks, using simple language to explain why we need to wear masks and how to use them safely. To ensure effective communication while wearing masks, both educators and children may find that they need to practice using more eye contact, slower speech, and body language (e.g., nodding).

Finally, incorporating photos showing unmasked faces of children and educators can support children to remember the kind faces of their educators and peers that are there behind the masks. The use of masks can be particularly challenging for young children, but with patience and kindness we will soon adjust to this new way of being together safely.

Where should students store masks when not in use?

A clean mask that is still in good condition can be stored in a clean, dry location. A labelled paper bag* will suffice, with thorough hand hygiene before and after contact with the mask. A labelled, clean, paper bag could serve as an individual storage container. Storage needs should be considered prior to any outdoor or vigorous activity.

*breathable fabric bag will work , as well

Can students use hooks in hallways?

Student can use permanent hallway hooks, considering the following factors:

  • Minimize items that are brought to school
  • A staggered approach must be taken to assigning hooks
  • Hand hygiene should occur before and after the use of hooks
  • Student use of hooks needs to be coordinated
Can students use Mask Lanyards or Mask Clips?

Mask lanyards should not be used. After consulting with Public Health, mask lanyards present a risk of cross-contamination and can interfere with proper mask-wearing.

Are volunteer hours required for secondary students to graduate?

Secondary students are required to complete 40 Community Involvement Hours to be eligible to graduate. Given the challenges presented by COVID-19, students will be permitted to complete these hours virtually.

More information on Community Involvement Requirements.