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June 22, 2020

Report cards and graduation

Dear Parents/Guardians:

This is it! It’s the final week of school in a school year that combined in class instruction with at home and teacher-led distance learning. On behalf of staff in Rainbow Schools, I would like to thank students and families for persevering. You did it and we are very proud of you.

For the Class of 2020, this is a graduation like no other. You have demonstrated that you have the capacity to adapt to changing circumstances which is a skill that will serve you well as you move forward in learning and in life. We look forward to celebrating your achievements with you, your family and friends when it is safe to come together again.

Until then, the entire community joins with us in saluting the graduates of Rainbow Schools. We asked community leaders to share their good wishes and words of wisdom with you. You can read this tribute to the Class of 2020 on our website later this week. We also invite you to take a look at our feature stories, bringing learning to life during school closures.

The end of the school year, as always, comes with report cards. This year, report cards will be mailed to all homes the first week of July as part of our ongoing COVID-safe practices. And we remind all students and families to remain vigilant and continue to follow the guidance of Public Health to limit the spread of the virus.

For students who are participating in the Summer Learning Program or e-Learning, our staff look forward to joining you online to further develop skills in literacy and numeracy and, at the secondary level, offer students opportunities to earn credits towards their diploma.

Looking ahead, we are planning for the safe re-opening of schools with three possibilities as guided by the Ministry of Education and Public Health – normal school day with enhanced public health protocols, modified school day to allow physical distancing and cohorts of students, and at home learning.

The adapted model could include alternate day or alternate week attendance, staggered bell times and recess, and different transportation arrangements, with safety first and foremost. We will share more information as we assess the situation closer to the start of school.

Have a safe summer!


June 19, 2020

Letter to parents from the Minister of Education


June 17, 2020

Devices on Loan to Students and Summer Learning

Dear Parents/Guardians:

As we enter the last two weeks of school in what has been anything but a typical school year, I would like to thank you for your resilience, your patience and, above all, your support as we made the transition from learning in class to learning at home.

Learning together while safely apart has taught us that we have the ability to adapt to change when called upon to do so. I am proud of how we have all responded to this new way of living and learning – always with safety first and foremost.

Of course, a key component of our continuity of education plan was access to technology. We very quickly and very safely distributed more than 2,000 devices to students in order to facilitate teacher-led distance learning.

We will be asking students to return their devices, but not just yet. We want students to keep them over the summer to continue learning on their own or, if they are enrolled in a summer learning program or secondary school course, continue learning with teacher support.

There are a few exceptions. Students graduating from Grade 12, moving out of Sudbury, Espanola or Manitoulin Island, transferring to another school board or attending Barrydowne College must return their devices after classes end on June 26. Schools will arrange for the safe return of devices. You may also email info@rainbowschools.ca and we will follow up.

In order to ensure students are on track to graduate, we are offering virtual remedial and upgrading courses for secondary students. We are also offering opportunities for students to earn new credits. To learn more, visit rainbowschools.ca.

While visiting the board website, I invite you to read our feature stories on bringing learning to life during school closures. Our staff responded with care, compassion and creativity. Our students and families embarked on this journey with an open mind and an open heart.

Stay safe and stay connected. We will chat again soon.


June 1, 2020

Collection of Personal Belongings at Schools

Dear Parents/Guardians:

Rainbow Schools are reaching out to parents/guardians in K to 8 schools and students in 7 to 12 schools to schedule appointments for the collection of personal belongings.

We have worked with Public Health on a protocol to ensure items from lockers, etc. are retrieved in a safe manner. The health and safety of students, parents/guardians, staff and members of the public remains Rainbow District School Board’s first and foremost priority.

With scheduled pick ups, there will be no crowding in classrooms or social gatherings in the school at any time. Where possible, only one parent/guardian or student should retrieve the personal belongings. There will be one point of entry to the school and another point of exit. Both will be monitored to track visitors who will be asked to sign in and out. Please bring a pen with you when you come to the school.

Visitors will receive a pre-screening questionnaire in advance that must be reviewed prior to entering the school. At the school, visitors must sign in confirming they are free of respiratory illness symptoms; have not travelled outside of Ontario and Canada within the last 14 days from the date of entry to the school; and have not cared for or had known contact with an individual with confirmed COVID-19, probable COVID-19 or COVID-19-like symptoms (fever, new cough, difficulty breathing).

Parents/guardians and students can be in the school for a maximum of 15 minutes. If parents are picking up items for multiple children, time may be extended as needed. Everyone in the building must maintain a physical distance of two metres or six feet at all times and follow proper hand hygiene and cough etiquette.

Each classroom will have a stock of plastic bags to collect belongings. Please do not bring your own bags or boxes to the school. Custodial staff will clean and disinfect classrooms, entrances, and other areas regularly.

Thank you for following the protocol for the collection of personal belongings. We appreciate your co-operation as we work together to keep everyone safe.


May 20, 2020

Schools remain closed for the rest of the school year

Dear Parents/Guardians:

Guided by health and safety, the Premier of Ontario and Minister of Education have announced that schools in Ontario will remain closed for the rest of the school year.

With the extension of school closures, we have now reached the mid-point of our journey. We have completed six weeks of teacher-led distance learning and have six weeks to go.

We have the technology, the team, the talent and the tenacity to maintain the momentum. We will work diligently to ensure students gain critical knowledge and skills for success. We invite students and families to, once again, take a deep breath and stay the course.

Teacher-led distance learning will continue until June 26, 2020, the last day of school. To maximize learning, secondary exams have been replaced with culminating activities. All students, from Kindergarten to Grade 12, will receive report cards at year end.

For the Class of 2020 whose destination is graduation, please remember that we will celebrate this milestone with you, your family and friends when it is safe to do so.

The Province of Ontario has already confirmed that schools will reopen in September. Protocols will be implemented to protect the health and safety of students and staff. We will share more information with you as plans progress – always with safety first.

In the interim, we are currently developing protocols with Public Health to allow for the safe collection and distribution of student personal belongings at school, such as items in lockers. Schools will communicate directly with students and families to facilitate this process.

Families juggle many demands and this new way of living and learning has been a tremendous transition. The school team nurses at Public Health Sudbury & Districts have compiled a list of resources to support skill building and mental health for families, staff, children and youth. Resources are available at rainbowschools.ca under mental health.

Keep well, stay active, keep learning and stay safe.


May 19, 2020

Letter to parents from the Minister of Education


May 15, 2020

Distance Learning: On reflections, relationships, resilience and rest

Dear Parents/Guardians:

As I reflect on how far we have come in a short period of time, I am most grateful for the guidance from Public Health, the leadership of trustees and school administrators, the efforts of teachers and support staff, and the response from students and families.

We have worked in partnership to make the best of learning together while safely apart and can be proud of how much we have accomplished since the extension of school closures. We safely distributed over 2,000 devices from chromebooks to laptops and continue to provide paper-based assignments for some 300 students to ensure continuity of learning.

Teachers and support staff are connecting with students daily for reading, writing, math, physical activity, creativity, subject-based learning and wellness check-ins to say hello and see how everyone is doing. Health and safety remains our first and foremost priority.

Students have been engaged with their teachers in real time learning through livestreaming, two-way dialogue, and applications like Seesaw, Google docs, slides, and read and write. Pre-recorded video lessons and online assignments are also being provided with ongoing teacher feedback. Collaboration and communication are the foundation for student success.

Distance learning has given parents/guardians a unique opportunity to observe their children’s progress and, more importantly, to support their learning at home. But we also know this transition has not been easy for everyone. No student will be adversely affected due to school closures. We are here to help in any way we can. Please continue to reach out to school administrators, teachers and support staff if your child requires assistance.

While we will not be able to host graduations this spring as we have in the past, please be assured that graduation ceremonies will be held at a later date when it is safe to do so. These celebrations are important to students and families, and they are important to us. Elementary and secondary schools will share more information with you as plans evolve.

Take time for relaxation and recreation this long weekend. Enjoy a well-deserved break.


May 4, 2020

DISTANCE LEARNING: ON MOTIVATION, MARKS AND MORE

Dear Parents/Guardians:

As we enter week five of distance learning, we celebrate Education Week. It’s an opportune time to thank students and parents/guardians for your ongoing commitment to learning together while safely apart.

Our shared goal is to ensure the successful completion of the school year for all students, and to support students to advance to the next school year, earn credits and to graduate.

We recognize the important role we all play in keeping students motivated and engaged. Teachers continue to have high expectations for students and we want students to continue to have high expectations for themselves. Distance learning is all about preparing for the future, so let’s take a deep breath and stay the course. We know you can do it.

As always, please be assured that our educators and support staff will reach out to students and families who may require extra support and encouragement. If you have any questions or concerns, please connect with your child’s teacher(s). We are here to help.

As we look ahead, we know you may have questions about final marks. Students will be graded on work completed prior to school closures on March 13th and, more importantly, can improve their marks from April 6th to the end of the school year with teacher-led distance learning. No student will be adversely affected due to school closures.

At the secondary level, exams are being replaced with culminating activities. Marks can only go up from what they were, so effort and performance count.

Grade 12 graduates will receive their Ontario Secondary School Diploma. In all likelihood, however, graduation ceremonies and proms will be postponed. Schools are considering options and will communicate directly with students and families.

During Education Week, I invite students to take time to reflect on how much you have achieved. Be proud of your accomplishments. We are certainly very proud of you.

Keep well and keep learning.


April 28, 2020

Letter to parents from the Minister of Education


April 27, 2020

RAINBOW SCHOOLS CLOSED UNTIL AT LEAST MAY 31, 2020

Dear Parents/Guardians:

Schools in Ontario will remain closed until May 31, 2020, and possibly longer, in order to limit the spread of COVID-19 and keep everyone safe.

Health and safety is the first and foremost priority.

The Ministry of Education has also announced that the remaining Professional Activity Days and examination days in the 2019-2020 school year will become instructional time in order to maximize teacher-led distance learning.

Rainbow District School Board will be reviewing and modifying its summer learning program with a focus on credit recovery, supports for vulnerable students, and course upgrading. We will share details with students and parents/guardians as plans unfold.

Visit rainbowschools.ca to access learning resources to supplement teacher-led learning. There is also information on distance learning K to 12, mental health and COVID-19.

Please continue to practice physical distancing, stay at home, and wash your hands. And take care of your well-being, including social connection, physical activity and fresh air.

Distance learning is bringing us together while keeping us safely apart.

Thank you for embarking on this journey with an open mind and an open heart.


April 20, 2020

PA DAY POSTPONED ON FRIDAY, APRIL 24, 2020

Dear Parents/Guardians:

The Professional Activity Day on Friday, April 24, 2020 has been postponed.

The PA Day will be rescheduled to a later date in the 2019-2020 school year.

Postponing the PA Day will provide more opportunity for teacher-led distance learning.

With distance learning gaining momentum, we want to stay connected as much as we can.

Our shared goal is to ensure the successful completion of the school year for all students, and to support students to advance to the next school year, earn credits and to graduate.

On behalf of Principals, educators and support staff, I would like to thank students and parents/guardians for your understanding, patience and resilience.

This has been a time of transition for all of us and we appreciate your support.

By learning together while safely apart, we can take comfort in knowing that we are engaging students in their education while limiting the spread of COVID-19.

Health and safety, as always, remains our first priority.

Take care, stay safe and keep well.


April 6, 2020

Ontario Government Supports Families in Response to COVID-19

Province Providing One-time Financial Assistance During School and Child Care Closures

April 1, 2020

RAINBOW SCHOOLS CLOSED UNTIL MAY 4, 2020 AT THE EARLIEST

Dear Parents/Guardians:

Schools in Ontario will remain closed until Monday, May 4, 2020, and possibly longer, in order to contain the spread of COVID-19.

To ensure continuity of learning, the Ministry of Education has launched the second phase of Learn at Home. Teacher-led learning will begin on Monday, April 6, 2020.

Please be assured that we are committed to your child’s education, from Kindergarten to Grade 12, and will explore creative means to make at-home learning a positive experience.

The principal of your school understands the needs of your community and will do their utmost to answer any challenges related to the implementation of the provincial framework.

Schools will work with your family to determine the best way to connect with students. Teachers will share more information with you directly so you know what to expect.

We also recognize that families are facing many challenges during these uncertain times. In collaboration with principals and teachers, support staff will follow up with students who require additional help and guidance, where needed.

Please visit rainbowschools.ca often, as learning resources are being updated. We have also posted links to information on mental health and COVID-19.

Also continue to practice physical distancing, stay at home, and wash your hands.

As always, the health and safety of students and staff is our first and foremost priority.

Thank you for your patience as we embark on this new journey.

Distance learning will bring us together while keeping us safely apart.


March 31, 2020

Letter to parents from the Minister of Education


March 26, 2020

RE: DISTANCE LEARNING

Dear Parents/Guardians:

During this period of unprecedented school closures, students in Rainbow Schools will continue to learn at home, on their own, with teacher guidance, and with family support.

You can already access Ministry of Education resources online at the link above.

We have also posted links to resources on mental health and COVID-19.

In the likely event that school closures extend beyond April 6th, teachers will engage students in lessons through a virtual learning environment.

Over the next two weeks, we will unveil a plan to provide distance learning to students in Kindergarten to Grade 12.

To learn online, your child will need a computer, tablet or other device and an Internet connection.

Where necessary, your child’s teacher will reach out to you in the near future to determine who does not have access to technology in order to participate in distance learning.

Our goal is to connect as many students as possible.

Where we are unable to do so, assignments will be provided by other means.

These unprecedented times demand creative solutions.

Thank you for your patience as we work through the details.

Distance learning will bring us together while keeping us safely apart.

As always, the health and well-being of students and staff is our first and foremost priority.


March 22, 2020

Letter to parents from the Minister of Education


March 20, 2020

EQAO UPDATE

Due to the extraordinary circumstances facing the province, the Ministry of Education has cancelled all EQAO assessments for the 2019–2020 school year.

As a result, the successful completion of the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test, which is a requirement to obtain an Ontario Secondary School Diploma, has been waived for students eligible for graduation this year.


March 13, 2020

RAINBOW SCHOOLS CLOSED MARCH 14, 2020 TO APRIL 5, 2020

Dear Parents/Guardians:

On order from the Ministry of Education, all Rainbow Schools in Sudbury, Espanola and Manitoulin Island will be closed from March 14, 2020 to April 5, 2020 in order to contain the spread of the coronavirus. Schools are scheduled to re-open on Monday, April 6, 2020.

This closure applies to all Rainbow District School Board facilities and programs, including programs and services in non-school locations. All child care centres in schools will be closed. Community use of schools, before and after school programs, athletics, field trips, dual credits and co-operative education are cancelled. The Centre for Education on Wembley Drive and the dome at Lasalle Secondary School will also be closed.

Parents of children of high risk connected to Rainbow District School Board’s mental health services will receive individual follow-up information. Parents of children who are connected to local community agencies for services are encouraged to contact those agencies to determine support that may be offered.

Today, the Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health strongly advised that “the people of Ontario avoid all non-essential travel outside of Canada.” He added: “In light of our recent positive cases in young children, if you decide to travel outside of Canada with children, they will be required to self-isolate for a period of 14 days upon return.”

The closure period includes the March Break as well as two weeks following the March Break, which would allow time for self-isolation before schools re-open on April 6, 2020. As always, the health and safety of students and staff is our first and foremost priority.

For up-to-date information about the coronavirus locally, visit www.phsd.ca/COVID-19. The Public Health Sudbury & Districts website includes hygiene practices that can reduce the spread of germs and help you and your family stay healthy.

The Ministry of Education will be posting resources online so learning can continue. We will link to these resources from the school board website.


Additonal Resources

Find out how to protect yourself, what to do if you’re sick after you travel and how to recognize possible symptoms.

Every week day at 10:30 am ET, the Ministry of Health will update its web page with the most current information on the status of cases in Ontario.