Director's Message to Families March 2022

Limestone Learning Foundation
Director's Message to Families March 2022
Posted on 03/11/2022
March 2022 Message to Families

Dear Families,

This is a follow up to the update you received yesterday regarding a number of changes to provincial health measures in schools.  While we are cautiously optimistic about a return to more normal school circumstances, we also acknowledge and fully understand the range of responses to these changesAlthough some are relieved, others are concerned.  While masking is no longer mandatory under the provincial directive, we strongly encourage those wanting to continue wearing masks to do so, and particularly, immediately following the break.  I know my own family will continue to mask after the March Break. Masks will continue to be available for all staff and students who want one for the balance of this school year.

I would note that returning from March Break on March 21, will be the fifth or sixth transition point during this pandemic. At each point of transition there has been heightened concerns that risks were too high to return to school/work or to face changes. In the previous situations, these concerns dissipated within a short period of time after returning to school or work and a ‘new normal’ was established. Whatever your reaction is to these changes, it is justified. Change is difficult at the best of times. Everyone’s experience of these past two years has been personal. Respecting and accepting individual choices will continue to be critical on the path ahead. We also recognize that these provincial changes may result in some families wanting to either return to in-person learning, or to move to the virtual school.  Please ensure you connect with your school the week of March 21 if you would like to make a change.  We will do our best to accommodate requests within our existing staffing constraints.  

I also need to provide some information on a number of other items as we enter the final three months of this school year, and continue to plan for the 2022-2023 school year.

The 2022-2023 School Year calendar has been sent to the Ministry for approval. For details on our proposed calendar for next year, please visit the LDSB website.

Registration for Kindergarten is underway, and the online process can be accessed through our website.

Virtual School 2022-2023: The board has begun planning for September 2022 including the continuation of our Virtual Schools for K to 12 students who learn best in the online environment or require a virtual environment due to underlying medical conditions for themselves or for family members. 

Families wishing to have their elementary school student(s) enrolled in the LDSB Elementary Virtual School for September 2022, will need to complete the EVS Survey to confirm their interest by March 21, 2022, even if their student was in the Elementary Virtual School this year.

Registration is now open for the 2022-2023 LDSB Secondary Virtual School (grades 9-12). Program information can be found here. Families/students intending to register for Secondary Virtual School are asked to complete the following registration form: Secondary Virtual School Registration Form by Friday March 25, 2022. You can also reach out to Secondary Virtual School directly by emailing virtual912@limestone.on.ca or by calling the school at 613-542-7369

Budget Survey: 2022-2023 school year: Trustees are seeking input and feedback to support the budgeting process to ensure students’ needs are best served. Please consider providing your ideas by completing our budget survey. The link to the survey is posted on our LDSB website.

New Secondary Online Learning Requirement: The Ministry of Education has issued a new online learning graduation requirement for secondary students effective February 1, 2022.  This change requires students to complete two online courses prior to graduation.  Students in grade 10 during the 2021-2022 school year are the first group of students required to complete this new e-learning graduation requirement.  It should be noted that this cohort of students have been deemed by the Ministry to have completed one of the two required online learning courses due to the online learning period that occurred in the spring of 2021.  Most students will take online courses during their grade 11 and/or grade 12 year, but some may elect to complete the online learning requirement during Summer School. Families who determine that online learning is not appropriate for their student(s) will have the opportunity to opt out of this requirement in their graduating year. Opt-out forms will be available through school guidance departments beginning September 2022. Please refer to the LDSB website for further details. If families have questions about the new eLearning graduation requirements, they can email program@limestone.on.ca

Extra-curriculars: Due to the changes in COVID-19 protocols, spectators are now permitted for school activities. Vaccination attestation is no longer required for participants and spectators in our schools. 

Short-term Virtual SchoolSince returning to in-person learning in January, we have been offering a short-term virtual option to those who wanted to temporarily learn from home. We saw a very significant decrease in the number of families accessing this option for the past few weeks.  However, we also recognize the lifting of some provincial health measures may result in some families wanting to access this option immediately following March Break for a short period of time.  In addition, students who cannot attend in-person learning due to COVID-19 symptoms, or isolation requirements, will continue to be supported by their teachers for the recovery/isolation period.  We will continue to assess the need for this option later in March/early April.

Tutoring: We are currently developing a variety of tutoring models that will start in April. These tutoring supports will include summer learning, a focus on reading, math, and other foundational skills as well as targeted initiatives to support student learning.

The release of the Ontario Human Rights Commission Right to Read Inquiry Report focuses attention on the importance of targeted, explicit, and research-based literacy instruction. In Limestone we will continue to align our teaching of reading with instructional approaches based on research and commit to pursuing the recommendations provided by the Right to Read inquiry report. 

The continued Russian invasion of Ukraine is very concerning. We will continue to provide support and resources to those who require it. I want to extend my thoughts and sympathy to anyone directly affected by this conflict.

March Break often marks the beginning of spring for our school communities, and with spring comes the opportunity for renewal and rejuvenation. ILike all seasons, spring is a season of change, and we are certainly entering a period of transition in schools.  We will communicate any updates that may occur over the next week. I wish all Limestone families a restful and safe March Break. 

Be well,

Krishna  

The Limestone District School Board is situated on traditional territories of the Anishinaabe & Haudenosaunee.