Plan for Re-opening Schools: Message from the Director of Education

Dear Waterloo Catholic Community –

We hope that you are well and finding ways to enjoy the summer, albeit a very different one.  At Waterloo Catholic we have missed seeing our staff and students in our schools – and we think that you would agree.  We also know however, that all of us feel very strongly that if we are to return to our schools, we have to do so in a very safe and thoughtful manner.  In the attached package, you will find a high-level introduction to all of the factors that we have been considering as we plan for the return of students.  We know that we all want good learning to happen, but we are equally motivated to ensure that all our staff and students are feeling both safe and healthy, in mind, body and spirit.

There are some discussions that are ongoing and which may cause minor adjustments to our models or plans, but in the main, the attached document should give you a solid start in understanding our plans for the fall.  Our new collective reality under COVID has tested all of us, and we know that things are evolving daily and understanding about best practices and the disease itself also continues to grow.  Our commitment is to be informed by new knowledge and learning as it is presented.

In June we outlined that there were three possible scenarios under which a return to school might happen, and yesterday the Premier of Ontario and the Minister of Education declared that all students of the province would be returning to schools for face to face learning.    The provincial decision has been informed by the Chief Medical Officer of Health, as well as the leading medical and health experts in the province.  At Waterloo Catholic we have been preparing for this announcement and have engaged in thoughtful planning to ensure that health and safety of our staff and students remains a top priority.  We are also prepared to “pivot” to any of the three scenarios, if we have to and remain confident that learning continuity will be possible.

We know that for elementary aged students the provincial announcement signaled a “conventional return”, which means attending school 5 days a week, full time.  To the extent possible, “cohorting” will be observed, which means that every effort will be made to limit the number of contacts any one staff person or student comes into contact with, in the course of their day.  Similarly – masks will be worn by students in grades 4 to 8, and remain an option for students in JK to grade 3, and to the extent possible physical distancing of 1 meter will be observed.

For secondary aged students, the province has indicated that all Waterloo Region schools will open under an “adapted return”, which means that students will attend face to face classes 50% of the time.  Waterloo Catholic has committed to a “quadmester model” which means carrying only 2 courses at a time (it is a 4 term model instead of a 2 semester model).  We have devised a model where students only see one cohort of students face to face on a given day, and access their second class remotely – from home.  We have built this model to ensure both 300 minutes of instruction per week, while still giving maximum consideration to the health and safety of our staff and students.  The attached document will provide you with more information.  https://www.wcdsb.ca/plan-for-re-opening-schools/

It is currently the end of July and we are all heading into a long weekend.  We still have five full weeks until the start of school and our planning will continue – at the board level and at the school level.  We want to offer our assurances that we will be prioritizing health and safety, learning continuity and equity of access for all our students.  Nonetheless, for some of our families, you may choose to have your child learn from home.  That is an option for you.  Please read the attached document carefully and then complete the survey that follows.  We need EVERY family to complete the survey for EACH child, as that is how we will prepare properly for the fall.  Please complete this SURVEY

Finally – as we have said before, we do encourage you to closely follow any and all directives from our governments and Region of Waterloo Public Health.  This has been a year and a summer unlike any other – and one we will all remember for some time to come.  Continue to enjoy a restful and rejuvenating summer, but let’s stay safe and healthy.  May our faith that grounds us as people of love and people of hope give you strength in these times.  We remain grateful for your trust in us to provide quality, faith-based, inclusive education.

Please reach out to us if you need help or guidance, and remain confident that we are here to support you, as we walk together as a hope-filled community.  #WCDSBTogether.

Sincerely,

Loretta Notten

Director of Education

July 31st, 2020|

WCDSB Trustees Approve $314.7 Million Balanced Budget

Waterloo Region, ON – Trustees of the Waterloo Catholic District School Board have approved the Board’s $314.7 million 2020-21 school year budget.

The budget presentation is available beginning on page 10 via this LINK.

Quick Facts

> The overall budget is as follows:

    • Total Operating: $294.3 M
    • Total Capital: $20.4 M
    • Total Operating & Capital: $314.7

> As always, budget decisions have been guided by the key priorities captured in the following plans:

> Budget decisions have also been guided by new and emerging considerations related to re-opening schools within the current COVID-19 reality – chief among them, health and safety considerations.

> In the spring of this past school year, the school board was able to deploy just under 3,000 Chromebooks to the WCDSB community to facilitate learning at home. The 2020-21 budget continues to invest in learning technology that will support the school system in its goal to continue as an innovation – and learning – leader.

> Also reflected in the 2020-21 budget is the change in class size at the secondary school level, from 22:1 to 23:1. There is no change to elementary school class sizes.

> Additional key budget impacts are as follows:

    • Return of funding to support special education needs and STEM learning through the “Support for Students” fund. This has allowed the restoration of most of the positions that were impacted in last year’s budget, when the Learning Priority Fund had been suspended.
    • Continued funding for the Ministry Learning Disability pilot project, which will further support the delivery of literacy programming, allowing continued service for students with special education needs.

The Waterloo Catholic District School Board, representing more than 96,000 Catholic school supporters, operates 48 schools and five adult education facilities serving more than 40,000 elementary, secondary and continuing education students in Waterloo Region – continuing a 184-year tradition of quality, inclusive, faith-based education. Follow us on Twitter: @WCDSBNewswire – #WCDSBAwesome.

July 20th, 2020|

Upcoming Board Meeting – Monday, July 20, 2020

The next meeting of the Board of Trustees is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. — Monday, July 20, 2020.

As a result of the current State of Emergency resulting from the COVID-19 epidemic, this meeting will be streamed live on Youtube:

Meeting Agenda

General Information About WCDSB Board Meetings

Information About the Board of Trustees

The Waterloo Catholic District School Board, representing more than 96,000 Catholic school supporters, operates 48 schools and five adult education facilities serving more than 40,000 elementary, secondary and continuing education students in Waterloo Region – continuing a 184-year tradition of quality, inclusive, faith-based education. Follow us on Twitter: @WCDSBNewswire – #WCDSBAwesome.

July 16th, 2020|

WCDSB Administration Presents Catholic Trustees with $314.7 Million Balanced Budget

Waterloo Region, ON – Trustees of the Waterloo Catholic District School Board have received the Board’s $314.7 million 2020-21 school year budget. The budget vote is scheduled for 6 p.m., Monday, July 20, 2020.

The budget presentation is available beginning on page 10 via this LINK.

Quick Facts

> The overall budget is as follows:

    • Total Operating: $294.3 M
    • Total Capital: $20.4 M
    • Total Operating & Capital: $314.7

> As always, budget decisions have been guided by the key priorities captured in the following plans: