A reminder that families must complete one form per child, using the form sent by the child’s school. If you have children enrolled in different schools, please use the form sent by the school your child will attend in September 2021. If you do not complete the form, your child will be assigned to in-person learning.
Deciding What is Best For Your Family
While many families are keen to get back to school in-person, there are many things to consider in your decision. These Elementary & Secondary resource guides are designed to support families and explain in-person and virtual learning options and outline some of the learning, programming, safety and well-being issues that families will want to consider.
We know it seems early for families to make this decision, but we’ve already delayed the timing as much as possible. One of the things families appreciate about the OCDSB is the rich variety of program offerings, but that’s also what makes the planning process even more complex. School planning starts in January and is based on enrollment projections. Once we know who will be attending by school and program, we can assign the right staff and place students into the classes and/or programs which best meet their needs. Getting things right at the planning stages reduces the chance of having to reassign classrooms, grade configurations, teaching assignments, or timetables after school starts. We all want a smooth and stable start to September.
Are Changes Possible?
Yes, change in some circumstances is possible, on request, where there is a change to your family situation. For example, medical accommodation becomes necessary, there is a change in the student’s learning needs, a job change makes supervising virtual learning difficult - these kinds of changes happen and we will work with you to find a way to best support the needs of your family. But, we’re asking families to reflect on your child’s needs and make the decision that best supports your child for the entire school year so that we can minimize the impact of such changes on all students.
The OCDSB offers a full range of programs and all of these will be available for in-person learning. There are some limitations on program availability in virtual school. There are a few reasons for this:
Programs with smaller enrollment or unique program offerings are more challenging to offer when the students are spread across both virtual and in-person learning. This can lead to more combined grade classes, increased need for specialized teachers, and in some cases increased class sizes in the program or in other programs;
Our experience this year has shown that in-person learning is the best format to support students with special education needs and/or English Language Learners. For this reason, in the 2021-2022 school year specialized program classes and ESL/ELD classes will return to in-person delivery only.
Considerations for Students with Special Education Needs
For learners with special education needs, the academic and non-academic needs of students are best met in-person. In exceptional circumstances, it may be necessary for a student with special education needs to engage in virtual learning. In assessing the appropriateness of this option, parents/guardians/caregivers should carefully consider the following:
Specialized program classes provide an intensive level of support (teachers, education assistants, and professional supports such as speech and language pathology or occupational and physical therapy) for both academic and non-academic needs;
Virtual learning requires considerable at-home support varying by the needs of the child and their level of independence;
The range of accommodations available to educators to meet the needs of learners is limited. For example, educators aren’t able to use proximity, hand-over-hand prompting, and provide the same level of individualized support, when needed.
Students and parents are eager to know what the daily schedule will look like in secondary schools. This is one decision that does not have to be made immediately. Recognizing that, we will continue to monitor the COVID-19 safety precautions. We hope to start the year and/or move to two classes a day and a lunch break between classes as soon as possible.
There is more information on our website, and in the Elementary & Secondary resource guides. If you have questions, please contact the school (613-722-6551) and we will be happy to assist.
Please complete the confirmation of attendance form by 11:59 p.m. on March 14, 2021.