Public school board in Simcoe County working on plans should school closures be extended

Board chair says they are putting an inventory together of what students need to continue the curriculum

A massive undertaking at the Simcoe County District School Board to deal with a situation board chair Jodi Lloyd said is something they never imagined they would have to deal with.

The board is preparing plans should schools remain closed beyond April 6.

The Ontario government extended March break by two weeks to combat COVID-19.

Lloyd said there has been no formal notice to school boards that the closure has been extended, but she notes Premier Ford did announce at a news conference recently that schools would not be going back.

“We are looking to what the delivery of the curriculum and credit accumulation will look like should the closure be extended and we are planning for extension on the closure.” said Lloyd.

Teaching staff will be reaching out to students and families to get an inventory of what students have in terms of technology and access to the internet, so as Lloyd puts it, they can put a plan in place for every student.

She admits it won’t be perfect and cannot replicate the classroom or what takes place in the classroom.

“Once the board has an inventory of what students have and what they need, then we can put in place the plans we need to get them the technology they may require.”

Lloyd said in some instances where internet may not be available or a reality, the board may have to look at delivery of written material to those students.

She said the Ministry of Education has assured all parents and students that students will move on to the next grade in the fall and those students who are graduating this year, the effects of COVID-19 will not prevent them from graduating.

In developing the plans, Lloyd said they do have to take into account there are many parents who are front line and essential workers, such as working in health care, trucking, working with the elderly and working in grocery stores.

“It’s very stressful and we are aware of that in the planning.”

Lloyd said the board is going to rise to the challenge and is going to put in place what they need to allow learning to continue.