Christmas holidays may be extended with remote learning

Lori Wilder, Superintendent of Education for Bluewater District School Board (BWDSB) recently sent a letter home to parents and guardians of students.

“With the holidays just around the corner,” says Wilder, “I wanted to reach out with some important information in preparation for our return to school in January.”

The Ministry of Education recently sent a memo to school boards in Ontario this week recommending that students and staff be encouraged to take home any materials they may require for remote learning before leaving school for the holidays to ensure that students and teachers can continue to be ready for all scenarios with the ever evolving COVID-19 situation in the province.

“I want to reassure everyone once again that Bluewater District School Board continues to have contingency plans in place should the need arise for us to pivot, at any time, to full remote learning,” adds Wilder. “While we have been very fortunate to have low COVID-19 case numbers and no evidence of transmission in our schools to date, we must remain vigilant and prepared for every eventuality.”

In her October 19, 2020 letter to families, Wilder provided a list of tips to help prepare families in the event of any closures impacting the Bluewater area. Some of these tips included:

  • Ensure you are familiar with your child’s online learning environment (Office 365 suite, Brightspace) and can access it/them from home.
  • Know your child’s Active Directory login and password. Write it down somewhere at home.
  • Once communicated by your child’s teacher(s), review the expectations for submitting work online.
  • Limit the number of personal items you bring to school and be sure to take all of them home in the event of a closure.
  • Ensure your teacher/school has your up-to-date contact information (e.g., phone number, email).

The Board has been assessing the needs of families in each school community regarding access to technology and distribution of devices and is prepared to  communicate further on this matter should the need arise.

In the meantime, parents are being asked to ensure that personal student belongings, such as shoes, clothing, and/or any other items, are taken home prior to the start of the holidays.

“I want to emphasize that the intent of this letter is purely precautionary as there are no plans currently for school closures in Bluewater District School Board,” stresses Wilder. “Any decisions of this nature would be made through provincial and public health direction, and we would be sure to communicate with you accordingly.”

School is expected to resume on January 4, 2021.