March 24, 2020
Dear HDSB families,
We hope that you and your families are doing well during these uncertain and unprecedented times. Since writing to you last week, the situation with respect to the Ontario school closure has evolved rapidly. Our staff have been working diligently to look at how we can best support our students and families in these unique circumstances.
Yesterday (March 23), the Premier of Ontario announced an extension of the school closure beyond April 5, however dates have not been released. We will inform families once we know the timing of the extension. In light of this announcement, we are sharing numerous cancellations which we know will be disappointing for our students and families. Below you will also find new information and resources to support students to continue their learning at home.
Connecting with our students
Our teachers and school staff are eager to connect with their students and support them during these challenging times. You can expect to hear from them in the coming days to check-in and ensure students have a sense of what resources are available online, as well as to share initial suggestions for areas of learning over the next two weeks.
Continuing student learning at home
Ontario Ministry of Education: Learn at Home
The Ministry of Education has introduced its 'Learn at Home' online portal. It can be accessed at www.ontario.ca/learnathome and provides resources so both elementary and secondary students can continue to engage in their learning independently during the initial two weeks of the closure. A link to these resources can be found at the top of the homepage on the HDSB website.
HDSB learning resources
We have posted
additional learning resources
for Kindergarten - Grade 8 students on the Board website (www.hdsb.ca
). Click on the slider at the top of the homepage to access these resources. In addition, teachers will be reaching out to students in the coming days and providing immediate learning suggestions for students to help guide their independent learning over the next two weeks.
Teachers will not be assessing and evaluating the independent learning that students will be engaged in during the next two weeks. Over the next two weeks, staff are preparing materials to support a distance or online learning approach that would come into effect for the period beyond April 5.
Should you choose to use third-party online resources, you are encouraged to review the privacy and security settings outlined in the user agreement to ensure you are comfortable with them.
Cancellation of student excursions:
All international and domestic student excursions have been cancelled until the end of June because of the health risk to students and staff due to COVID-19. Any affected families will be contacted directly by their school and provided with more information with respect to the process for refunds.
Cancellation of large group gatherings:
Should school resume in the coming weeks, there will remain a need for social/physical distancing and avoiding large group gatherings. Therefore the HDSB is cancelling/postponing any planned large group gatherings for the remainder of the school year.
This includes field trips, in-school presentations, elementary and secondary interschool and intramural athletics, proms, high school commencements, Grade 8 graduations, and our Student Excellence event on May 14. Schools will be sharing more information with their families in the coming days.
Cancellation of lunch programs:
To reduce the transmission of COVID-19, all lunch programs in elementary schools are suspended for the remainder of this school year (e.g., Pizza Days, Lunch Lady). Schools will be communicating these specific cancellations with their school communities.
Secondary school final examinations:
At this point, no decisions have been made with respect to HDSB secondary school exams. Information specific to secondary International Baccalaureate (IB) exams can be found
. This letter has been shared with families of students in schools with IB programs. Information specific to secondary Advanced Placement (AP) exams can be found
Sharing medical supplies with healthcare providers
The HDSB will be sharing our supplies of medical equipment (gloves, masks, etc.) with provincial healthcare providers as requested. This is being coordinated by the Ministry of Consumer and Corporate Resources to ensure these supplies are directed to where they are needed most.
Resources for families
Concerns about COVID-19 are impacting children and families alike. The following are a few ways to access additional information about supporting your child during these challenging times.
Mental health resources
Frequently Asked Questions
frequently asked questions (FAQs)
to help address concerns from families. We will continue to update this resource as we receive further information. Please check this resource frequently, and if your question is not answered, direct it to
Stay in touch
While schools are closed, we encourage families to continue to check for updates from us through email (SchoolMessenger),
, and the Board’s social media pages (Twitter
Thank you for your understanding during this unprecedented time.
Director of Education
March 24, 2020 - important update for HDSB families translations