BROCKVILLE – Class may not be back on September 4th as originally planned. Instead, the Upper Canada District School Board is discussing delaying the start of the school year by a week and putting in place a staggered start to the year.
The plan, being presented tonight at a special UCDSB trustee meeting, would have small clusters of students attending school over three days.
According to board documents posted to its website, beginning September 11th, Kindergarten to Grade 8 elementary students whose last name begins with the letters A through G, and Grade 9 secondary students, would start school. Then on September 14th, elementary students with the last name beginning with the letters H through P, and Grade 10 secondary students, would join the first group in school. The last group, elementary students with the last name beginning with the letters R through Z, and Grade 11-12 secondary students would begin classes on September 15th.
Students who are learning through the distanced learning model from home will receive a digital “check-in” by school staff between September 4th and 10th.
“The delayed start to the school year will be discussed tonight at the board meeting,” said April Scott-Clarke with the UCDSB.
It is not known if the co-terminus Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario is also looking at moving to a staggered start for its school year.
Last week, the Ministry of Education informed school boards that implementing a staggered start was allowed, so long as students were in class by September 18th.
The special UCDSB trustee meeting begins tonight (August 26th) at 6:30 p.m. Unlike the August 19th public meeting, no questions from viewers are allowed.
In an email sent to parents August 26th, the board also advised families that due to the large amount of students opting for at home learning, it may not be possible to switch to at school learning as originally planned.
“We had previously planned to allow students to move between learning models at set intervals, however, after receiving [survey] data and assessing our staffing and funding, moving between delivery models once school has started may not be possible. It may have implications on class sizes and staffing requirements,” said the board.
The UCDSB surveyed families and one-in-five students have opted for at home learning.
The provincial government has released $30 million for new teacher hires in Ontario. This morning, another $70 million is going to boards through a fund paid for by the federal government.