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AIAI: COVID-19 Ontario updates on child care and education (closures, camps, teachers, post-secondary)

by ahnationtalk on May 22, 202094 Views

On May 19, 2020, the Minister of Education announced private schools, licensed child-care centres, and EarlyON programs will remain closed, except emergency child-care or front-line workers. Stage 2 reopening will involve opening daycares based on the public health guidelines. There will be strict health guidelines and protocols:
• no more than 50 people per center,
• every staffer needs to be screened,
• no individual outside of staff members or children may enter centers, and
• an outbreak plan approved and supported by the local public health officer.

Child Care Sustainability
The Ministry is providing funding for fixed overhead costs, such as rent and leases, for eligible licensed child-care operators.

For child care centres located in schools, the Ministry is encouraging the schools to assist child care operators in retrieving their laptops and files so they can implement sustainability plans and apply for federal supports.

Elementary and High School Updates
School Closures
On May 19, 2020, Ontario announced that provincially funded schools will continue to be closed for the rest of the school year.

Closures of private schools and First Nation/federally funded schools have been extended to May 29, 2020. First Nation/federally funded schools with specific questions relating to applicability of Ontario’s orders should consult legal counsel. Schools should discuss with local
leadership how they can minimize exposure risk and comply with physical distance and self-isolation measures.

Questions relating to First Nation/federally funded schools be emailed to IEO@ontario.ca.

Synchronous Learning
Synchronous Learning is when students are learning at the same time in a learning event. The Ministry of Education expects to have synchronous learning be on whole class instruction, in smaller groups of students, and/or in a one-on-one context. Alternate arrangements will be made for students lacking devices or internet connection or who need special education accommodations. The Ministry of Education stated that educators should be communicating with students more than once per week. They also stated that if synchronous learning is not
delivered, then boards and schools should move to a team assignment approach.

The Ministry wants boards to ensure privacy concerns (i.e. reminding students not to share passwords, and that teachers be the last ones to leave a synchronous meeting). The Ministry states that if parents choose to not have their child participate in synchronous learning, their
wishes should be respected.

The Education Minister, Stephen Leece will announce a re-opening plan in September before the end of June. This plan will include ways to ensure physical distance and restrict student movement.

Technology Access
The Ministry is identifying proposals that school boards may be interested in as a way to support students and educators to have access to the internet and devices (i.e. computers, tablets, and portable wi-fi hotspots). School boards may also want to consult with partners and
sources to consider similar services and goods.

Broadband upgrades will continue to prepared or students to arrive back in classes in the future. All Ontario students and educators in public funded schools will be provided internet services, including rural and northern communities.

Professional Development
Professional learning webinars are available on the following topics: supporting students with special needs, assessments and evaluations, and kindergarten/primary education. The webinars have been recorded and posted for teachers unable to attend the live session. There is also the Supports for Virtual Learning eCommunity that has resources for self-serve learning.

First Nations and Indigenous Partners
The Ministry of Education’s support during closures is provided to First Nation education partners through online education resource access, and connecting First Nation partners to supply chains to purchase of Chromebooks and iPads. Local school boards are encouraged by the Ministry to work with local First Nations and Indigenous partners.

First Nation educators will also have access to Ontario’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) and training for teachers. There is no cost for First Nation schools to access and use the VLE. To obtain VLE access contact Cathy Blacklock, Manager of Technology Enabled Learning by email at cathy.blacklock@ontario.ca to obtain her team’s assistance.

Education Updates for Summer Learning
On May 19, 2020, the Ministry of Education has expanded their summer learning plan for students. The summer learning plan includes:
• traditional summer courses,
• upgrading courses,
• vulnerable students support,
• focused programs assisting students with special education,
• mental health needs,
• volunteer opportunities,
• summer programs focusing specialized learning needs, and
• mapping out what next year’s learning will look like for compulsory, high demand and pre-requisite secondary courses.
Summer education is voluntary and offered to lessen the impacts of school closures.

Non-credit programs will be available to support vulnerable students. A two-week program for students with special education needs and/or mental health needs will be introduced as a way to close gaps in skill development and learning, and/or establish routines. The Ministry will be providing a top-up to boards for 2020 summer school programs.

Day Camps & Overnight Camps

On May 19, 2020, it was announced that overnight camps are not permitted this summer. Day camps may be allowed to open in July and August if they follow strict safety and health guidelines, and with the local health officer’s approval.

Updates from the Ministry of Colleges and Universities

Ontario University Application Centre & Ontario College Application Service
Continuation of learning plans can be detailed by Individual post-secondary institutions. Student application information is provided online by:
• Ontario University Application Centre (https://www.ouac.on.ca/), and
• Ontario College Application Service (https://www.ontariocolleges.ca/en).
OUAC and Ontario Colleges both have their own COVID-19 updates online:
https://www.ouac.on.ca/news/important-covid-19-update/ and
https://www.ontariocolleges.ca/en/covid-19.

Graduate student applicants should reach out to individual institutions for application process information and inquire about changes that have occurred as a result of COVID-19 restrictions.

Additional Changes to Student Financial Assistance
On April 22, the federal government made an announcement on changes to the federal student financial assistance for 2020-2021, they have increased Canada Student Grants for full and part time students, and those with disabilities and dependants.

These grants will be managed as part of OSAP. For more information please see:
https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/news/2020/04/support-for-students-andrecent-graduates-impacted-by-covid-19.html. The applications will be available in spring and students may request to receive grant only funding if they do not wish to take the loan.

RESOURCES

Child Care Service Managers and Their Service Areas
http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/childcare/websiteServiceManagers.html

Emergency Childcare Information
https://www.ontario.ca/page/child-care-health-care-and-frontlinestaff?_
ga=2.25448441.512500565.1589894722-2118189781.1585067222

Learn at Home Contact – If you have suggestions on resources that could be put the website
learnathome@ontario.ca.

News Release: Backgrounder: Voluntary Redeployment of Education Sector Workers During COVID-19 – March 20, 2020

https://news.ontario.ca/opo/en/2020/03/ontario-helping-students-learn-from-the-safety-oftheir-own-home.html

News Release: Government Supports Online Learning During COVID-19 Outbreak – May 19, 2020
https://news.ontario.ca/opo/en/2020/05/government-supports-online-learning-during-covid-19-outbreak.html

News Release: Health and Safety Top Priority as Schools Remain Closed – May 19, 2020
https://news.ontario.ca/opo/en/2020/05/health-and-safety-top-priority-as-schools-remainclosed.html

News Release: Province Supports Post-Secondary Students During COVID-19 – March 31, 2020
https://news.ontario.ca/maesd/en/2020/03/province-supports-postsecondary-studentsduring-covid-19.html

News Release: Voluntary Redeployment of Education Workers to Fill Staffing Shortages – May 13, 2020
https://news.ontario.ca/opo/en/2020/05/voluntary-redeployment-of-education-workers-tofill-staffing-shortages.html?ga=2.83068182.1861741141.1589377385-210030019.1584989645

Resources to Support Families During the Closure of Schools
https://smho-smso.ca/blog/how-to-support-student-mental-health-during-the-covid-19-pandemic/

School Mental Health Ontario
https://smho-smso.ca/covid-19/

The Indigenous Education Office – Link to Learning How to Use Chrome-Books Created by KPDSB Learning Technologies Administrator & KPDSB Learning Technologies Teacher
https://www.wevideo.com/view/1708312934

NT5

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