A Safe and Successful Return to School at the DSBN

Jul 30, 2020

Today, the Ministry of Education announced their return to school plans for students. We are working with the Ministry and Niagara Public Health to ensure a smooth, safe, and successful transition for back for the first day of school on Tuesday, September 8.

Keeping our students, families, and staff safe and healthy is at the core of the plans we have developed. Our goal is to head back to school in a way that maximizes safety and best supports successful student learning.

“This summer our focus has been ensuring we are ready to launch learning models where our students, staff, and families feel safe, prepared, and assured when they return to school.” says DSBN Director of Education Warren Hoshizaki.

The final details of the learning delivery models are being completed, however the following is a short overview of what learning will look like in September:

Elementary School Students – Regular School Day with Enhanced Health Protocols Model

This model has elementary students back in their homeroom classes, however this year includes the implementation of enhanced health and safety protocols. This includes the mandatory wearing of masks for all school staff and for grade 4 to 8 students.

DSBN is well-positioned to welcome students back in September while keeping students and staff safe. Our COVID-19 health and safety protocols include physical distancing signage such as directional arrows and spacing in areas such as foyers and entrances. Students will be taught to clean their hands properly and to try and avoid touching their face, eyes, nose and mouth as much as possible. All school staff will be wearing masks. There will be age-appropriate signage placed throughout elementary and secondary schools to remind students about handwashing and hand hygiene. Cleaning protocols, and new systems such as restricting the use of lockers and limiting the sharing of school supplies are also in progress for September.

Secondary School Students - Adaptive Model – A Combination of In Class and Online Learning

The adaptive model is a hybrid of the in-class and online learning models. This model also includes enhanced health and safety protocols.

The adaptive model organizes students into two main groups or cohorts. Each cohort has designated days to attend school in class and assigned days to learn online from home within a cycling timeframe.

The DSBN adaptive model is based on decreasing the number of interactions between students and staff, as well as maximizing student learning. In-depth details of the secondary adaptive learning plan will be shared with parents shortly.

“With both of these models, students will be back in school learning with their friends and reconnecting with their teachers,” says Hoshizaki. “It also offers some predictability for families for planning. This return to school plan enables all students and staff to transition back to school in as safe an environment as possible.”

We know that school will look very different this year. To best support parents in transitioning their student(s) back to school, families can expect:

  • Updates on our Return to School Updates web page and social media channels as they come
  • Online FAQs which will be updated as we receive information from the Ministry of Education and the DSBN staff finalize guidelines based on the July 30 announcement.
  • A ‘Parent Guide’ will be available to elementary school parents (K-8) to help support families through the back to school process

This plan could change if the Ministry of Education and Niagara Public Health determine it is necessary based on how the COVID-19 pandemic continues to trend.

The first day of school at the DSBN is scheduled for Tuesday, September 8, 2020.