Bluewater school board issues note to parents
The following letter has been issued by Alana Murray, Director of Education with the Bluewater District School Board
As you may have heard in the media, the provincial government has launched a new online portal to assist families with student learning during the current closure of schools due to COVID-19. Details are available in the provincial government's media release, Ontario Helping Students Learn from the Safety of Their Own Home.
Please find attached a letter from Minister of Education Stephen Lecce with further information on the new online portal, and provincial planning that is happening to ensure student learning continues should the current school shutdown period extend beyond April 5, 2020.
Bluewater District School Board is working in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and other Ontario school boards, on a regular basis, to strategize ways in which to support students and families should an extension to the school shutdown period occur. Our board's Learning Services staff are actively investigating a number of possible options to support our schools in delivering programs to students. As I am sure you can appreciate, there are many questions and logistics for us to consider regarding content, methods of program delivery, and accessibility for all. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we work through this unprecedented situation to find creative and effective solutions, while ensuring the safety and well-being of our students and staff.
As new details unfold, we will communicate our plans with parents/guardians accordingly. In addition to SchoolMessenger notifications, we will continue to post ongoing updates and resources on our dedicated web page, http://www.bwdsb.on.ca/Parents/COVID-19_Updates, and on our Bluewater District School Board Facebook and Twitter pages.
During these challenging times, I once again thank all our students, staff, and families for continuing to practice social distancing and other important recommendations by our local, provincial, and federal public health officials. Take care and stay safe.
And here is the open letter from Education Minister Stephen Lecce
Dear Ontario parents,
I am writing to you in unprecedented times.
The foremost priority of the government is to keep all Ontarians safe, including our students and educators. Working with our partners and all levels of government, we will do whatever it takes to deliver on this imperative.
Since we first learned of COVID-19, Ontario has been diligently monitoring the developing situation to protect the health and well-being of all Ontarians. We have also taken decisive action to ensure the province is positioned to be ready for any scenario.
That is why on March 12, 2020, based on the advice of Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, I issued a Ministerial Order to close all publicly-funded schools in the province until April 6, 2020. Our government took decisive action — one of the first jurisdictions in the industrialized world to have closed schools — with the aim of preventing the spread of COVID-19.
We are also the first province in Canada to declare a state of emergency. This declaration under Ontario’s Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act enhances the province’s ability to support our heroic frontline workers as they continue to confront this challenge fully.
While this period is marked by uncertainty, I hope that this letter can, in some part, provide answers to some of the questions I know many parents have.
Although this virus has been characterized and spoken about largely in terms of physical impacts, I believe we need to acknowledge and respond to the sense of fear and concern that your children may be feeling, especially for our younger learners. We have heard from many of them and their parents directly that these reactions come from a place of uncertainty and heightened media exposure that leads to more questions than answers. During this time, I encourage you to continue to have open conversations with your children about COVID-19 and acknowledge that their reactions to this period — however emotional — are understandable and normal.
There are many resources available to you and your children, notably Kids Help Phone, which is Canada’s only 24/7 national support service. They offer professional counselling, information and referrals and volunteer-led, text-based support to young people in both English and French.
Please visit their website: www.kidshelpphone.ca, call: 1-800-668-6868, or text CONNECT to 686868.