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Directors’ Message

School year 2019-2020 is undoubtedly one for the record books. This year we faced adversity and the unknown with resiliency and responsiveness. I want to thank you for your ongoing support. We are committed to partnering with you throughout the summer to ensure you and your family are well prepared for the coming school year. I know there continue to be many questions regarding report cards, the school year calendar, return to school plans, and more. I hope this email addresses some of these concerns.

Report Cards and the OCSB Parent Portal

Report Card Access

Due to the school closures, final report cards will be distributed online this year through the OCSB Parent Portal. Instructions for registering for the parent portal are posted on the Board website at ocsb.ca/parentportal. We have also developed a list of Frequently Asked Questions to help you with the process. 

To date, over 16,400 parents have registered for the OCSB parent portal. We are aware that some parents have experienced difficulties registering even though they have entered the correct information. We have identified the cause of the problem and are working with the vendor to fix it. Please try again today. If you are still unable to register, send an email to parentportal@ocsb.ca. Please include your first and last name, your child’s first and last name, and the name of their school.

Report Card Grades

Report cards will look a little different this year, based on the direction we received from the Ministry of Education. Students’ marks will not go down from the marks that they had on March 13.  

Kindergarten to Grade 8: As a starting point to determine a final mark, teachers will review the student’s results from before March 13, 2020 (last day before school closure). Teachers may also consider work completed during the school closure before assigning their final grades. Students’ marks will not go down from the marks they had on March 13. In many cases, some subject strands for grades 1 to 8 did not begin until after March 13th.  In these cases, the student will receive an “I” on the report card, indicating insufficient information to determine a mark for that particular strand. Students receiving an “I” will still advance to the next grade level.

Grades 9 to 12: As a starting point to determine a final mark, teachers will review the student’s results from before March 13, 2020 (last day before school closure). Teachers may also consider student work during the closure, and may adjust the weighting of assigned tasks based on what is in the best interests of students before assigning their final grade. Students will receive an “I,” indicating insufficient evidence, if they were not passing a course before March 13, and did not show progress during school closure. An “I” is not a failing grade, but students who receive an “I” have not earned the credit. Students who receive an “I” should contact the school guidance department to learn if credit recovery is an option for them.

Report Card Availability

Parents will be able to view their children’s report cards in the Parent Portal at the end of the month. We will send an email once the report cards are available.

School Year Calendar

We have not yet received the Ministry of Education approval of our 2020-2021 school year calendar.  While we had originally planned for one PD day at the start of the school year (August 31) We are now considering two PD days before the return of school for students.  The focus of these days will be to ensure that all staff receive the added professional development needed in health and safety requirements, addressing well-being, and to be prepared for the selected mode of instruction. Once we receive the approval of the school year calendar, and can confirm the start date of the school year, we will share this with you and post it on our website.

Return to School Plans

Our return to school plan addresses key areas such as school site preparation, hygiene and cleaning, and preparing for a safe and welcoming return for staff and students.

Three Possible Scenarios

The Province is working with public health and medical experts, school boards, unions and associations, and parents to develop a plan that will see students and staff back in schools/worksites in a safe manner.

We have been asked by the province to prepare plans for three possible scenarios for September:

  1. Regular delivery of instruction with enhanced health and safety protocols.
  2. Distance learning with daily online instruction/support.
  3. Adapted delivery of instruction that will involve a combination of student cohorts with up to 15 students per class and physical distancing. This will involve alternate attendance for cohorts, for example, classes split in half and attending on different days.

Here is the Minister’s complete letter regarding the Return to School Plan. A decision as to the selected delivery model will be made at the beginning of August. The goal will be to return to regular instruction as soon as Public Health and medical experts advise that it is safe to do so. The chosen delivery model that we start the year with, will be reviewed by the end of September and will need to be adaptable based on provincial and local conditions. Our goal will be the eventual return to regular school and classroom instruction, as soon as it is safe to do so.

Preparing Our Schools to Welcome Our Students Back

We are addressing enhanced health and safety measures such as school signage and markings, plexiglass separation where needed, ordering of specialized equipment where required for staff, access to hand washing, sanitizer and disinfectant wipes.  Enhanced cleaning protocols and attention to good hygiene practices will be a focus at all sites.

Once we know what the distancing and cohorting rules will be, we will need to make final decisions regarding classroom instruction, timetabling, activities, including assemblies, field trips, extracurriculars, parent and volunteer access to schools. We are working closely with the Ottawa Student Transportation Authority (OSTA), who will need to make adjustments if physical distancing rules continue to apply for September. Our plans will require Ministry of Education and Ottawa Public Health approval.  All of these final decisions will be communicated to parents once we have an approved model.   

The Ministry of Education has provided Boards with funding to support transition planning for students with special education needs, as well as ongoing support for mental health needs during the summer months. Our Special Education and Student Services Department is developing a plan to support our students.  Schools will be communicating with parents these plans if they are applicable to your child.

Parent Survey

We will be sending a survey to parents in July to determine your plans for sending your children to school.  Rest assured that in addition to ensuring the health and safety of our students and staff, we will focus on mental health and social-emotional learning as ways of supporting our students in their return to school. If you haven’t registered your child for school please register now.

Ongoing Communication

Updates will continue to be posted on our Board website over the summer and we will reach out to you directly as plans develop and are finalized.  All return to school plans will be designed to safeguard the health and well-being of our students and staff. 

As a school board, we have always counted on the partnership we have with our parents. This year, more than ever, we appreciate whatever support you were able to provide. We recognize all of your efforts and the additional time it takes to guide your child in a distance learning environment. We are truly grateful for your patience and understanding as we navigated this unprecedented time during the school closure period. Your support has been invaluable and very much appreciated. While our school communities came together so creatively in a virtual way over the past few months, we hope to bring our students and staff together face-to-face in the not too distant future. I pray that you and your families continue to be safe and healthy and that you find time to enjoy the beauty of God’s creation during the summer months.