Letter to parents: Distance learning and staff reaching out to families (March 27, 2020)
March 27, 2020
Dear parents and guardians,
I hope this letter finds you and your family well and hope you are managing the challenging times we are currently living in.
As you know, information about the COVID-19 situation changes daily and it impacts our lives greatly. One of the recent announcements from Premier Ford is that students will not be returning to school on April 6, as previously thought. At this time, an alternate return date has not been determined.
School boards, in partnership with the province, are now working diligently to develop plans for distance learning. I am writing today to communicate preliminary information on the Upper Grand District School Board’s plan for distance learning, as I know there are many questions from parents regarding how to keep their children learning and connected to their school.
While we do not have all of the answers yet and recognize that there will be some bumps in the road, our staff are working hard to address potential challenges including access to internet and devices. While we already have many online supports for students in place, we have not had the challenge of having all of our students (more than 35,000) engaged in distance learning at the same time. We ask for your patience as we work through these challenges.
In the upcoming days, classroom teachers in the UGDSB will be contacting families to check in with them. Please note that phone calls may appear as “Blocked Call,” “Confidential” or something similar, if you have call display. Please answer, it might be us calling! At this time, classroom teachers will be doing a number of things:
- Asking about internet connectivity and available technology at your home
- Ensuring that students have the necessary logins and passwords to connect with UGDSB resources
- Ensuring that families are aware of the two main learning resources available online at this time: the Ministry Learn at Home website and the UGDSB website
Gathering the information above will allow us to better plan for the needs of all of our students and engage support staff. Please note that when contacting parents, teachers will not have answers to many of your questions. However, we will endeavour to get answers as best we can as we develop our plans.
Once we have gathered this information, we will be providing more information on what this will look like, and how parents and students will be interacting with their school.
What you can do right now:
- Visit the board website for UGDSB learning resources for students at https://www.ugdsb.ca/blog/learning-resources-available-to-ugdsb-students/ or the Ministry’s Learn at Home website
- Subscribe to email notifications to receive emails from your school: https://webapps.ugdsb.on.ca/casl
- Download the UGConnect app: https://www.ugdsb.ca/parents/ugconnect-app/
- Bookmark UGCloud and UG2GO, which provide access to UGDSB learning resources
- Write down your child’s usernames and passwords at home
- Bookmark the board website for ongoing updates: www.ugdsb.ca
The health and safety of our students and staff is always our number one priority. We are working hard to develop a plan to provide and support distance learning for our students.
Director of Education & Secretary-Treasurer