Q&A: General Questions

general questions

How do I change my mind about my child participating in either the virtual school or in-class learning?

Changing your child's learning delivery model, i.e., opting in or out of face to face (in-class) learning, impacts classroom cohorts, staffing and transportation routes. School staff need time to organize, prepare and adjust staffing requirements and as a result we are unable to accommodate students moving from one delivery model to another.

In order to provide stability to our staff, students and families, requests to move between face-to-face and virtual learning are based on a wait-list system. Change requests will only be accommodated when there is room in classrooms (in-class or virtual).

It should be noted that students who have opted for in-class learning and are unable to attend school for any reason, including confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases or self-isolation purposes, will not be permitted to join a virtual classroom. Instead, the students will continue to connect with their classroom teacher to complete work as required - this is the same approach we have always used to address longer-term student absences.

Are schools open on snow days?

When school vehicle transportation is cancelled in your child’s weather zone, schools will be closed for all students in that zone. This means that all students, including those who walk or are dropped off,  will not be attending school in person on those days.

Instead, students will be expected to complete school work asynchronously on those days, by logging onto their virtual learning classroom environment, e.g., Google Classroom or Brightspace to access assignments and class exercises.

For more information, read the letter to families sent on November 27th.

What is a cohort? What will cohorting mean for my child?

Cohorting refers to the practice of keeping students together in a small group throughout their school day, with limited exposure to multiple teachers or a wide variety of classmates. By limiting the number of other students a single student has contact with, will make it easier to facilitate contact tracing should that be necessary.

This means that a student in an elementary school will be cohorted with their classmates and their homeroom teacher, with limited contact with other subject teachers for classes. The elementary cohort will be approximately 50 students. At the secondary level students will be limited to approximately 100 student contacts by introducing a quadmester timetabling model (see below).

Quad #1: Period 1&2 from September 10th until November 9th
Quad #2: Period 3&4 from November 12th until January 28th
Quad #3: Period 5&6 from February 3rd until April 16th
Quad #4: Period 7&8 from April 21st to June 23rd

Has SMCDSB been identified as a “Designated Board”? What does that mean?

No. SMCDSB has not been designated by the Ministry of Education, which means we will be running with a convention model. There are 24 school boards in areas where the number of cases of COVID-19 are higher that have been “designated” by the Ministry of Education, which means that additional restrictions will be in place.

Can I still register my child to attend school?

Our schools continue to accept new registrations. Please visit the registration section of our website for the application form and additional information.

If you have questions about the registration process, please contact the school directly via telephone.

Will use of facilities permits be available this school year?

The Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board has made the difficult decision to extend the cancellation period for community use of facilities.  At this time, it is unknown when the cancellation period will be ending. Permits already submitted will be put on a hold status and reviewed again at a future date. 

Visit the Use of Facilities webpage for more information.

What should my child bring to school?

Families should send students with a healthy lunch and enough snacks for two nutrition breaks as well as a water bottle (since water fountains will be decommissioned).