Ottawa-area school boards to start 2021 with virtual learning

·3 min read

School boards in and around Ottawa are beginning to share some information about what school will look like under the upcoming, province-wide shutdown.

Premier Doug Ford announced that all of southern Ontario would enter a four-week lockdown starting on Boxing Day. School boards were told last week to ask students and staff to bring materials home in case in-person learning was suspended.

Ottawa area elementary schools will be closed for in-class learning until at least Jan. 11 while secondary schools will remain closed until Jan. 25.

As of late Tuesday morning, some local school boards had shared plans for next month, though a common theme was that additional details would be shared by the first classes on Jan. 4.

Ottawa-Carleton District School Board

Ottawa's English public board said elementary students will follow the same timetable as before, with Jan. 4 dedicated to the transition to remote classes.

Its secondary students plan is to put both its cohorts together for two learning blocks of just under two hours.

Students with special education needs will keep their teacher and blended learning model. The OCDSB said in-person learning may still be possible for them.

Extended day programs are closed that first week while Early ON and Family Centres will go virtual Jan. 4 to 8.

The board's Infant Toddler Preschool programs will be open and parents of children in similar third-party programs should check with their providers.

Ottawa Catholic School Board

The Ottawa Catholic School Board has so far noted it's going to be using Google Meet for all classes and moving staff and elementary students to the Hāpara software high school students have been using.

Conseil des écoles catholiques du Centre-Est

Parents who need a laptop to support at-home learning can request one on its website by Dec. 27 and pick it up at school Jan. 4.

Preschool daycares, its Petits Pas à 3 and Mon Atelier programs, will be open throughout.

Before and after school care for children in Kindergarten to Grade 6 will resume Jan. 11.

It too says students with special needs may be able to get some in-person support.

The idea is for its co-op or work placement programs to be virtual-only until Jan. 22.

Conseil des écoles publiques de l'Est de l'Ontario

Conseil des écoles publiques de l'Est de l'Ontario (CEPEO) says it will follow instructions from public health authorities and the government, advising parents to monitor email and social media for updates.

The board says all teaching will begin online when school starts in the new year, with computers and Chromebooks being loaned to students in need of one.

"The CEPEO and its partners' childcare [centres] will remain open for programs for preschool-aged children only," a statement to parents reads.

Other boards

Among those that have shared some specific plans, the Upper Canada and Limestone district school boards say their child-care centres in schools will be open.

Renfrew County's English Public Board says they will be open when they're safe to operate.

The UCDSB is another board telling parents with kids in third-party daycare programs to turn to those operators for updates.

The Kingston, Ont.-area Limestone board said its before and after school programs won't run the week of Jan. 4.