Message to Parents & Guardians from Director of Education

Posted on Thursday July 30, 2020

July 30, 2020

Dear Parents and Guardians, 

I hope you are enjoying a peaceful summer, along with some fun activities with family during these warmer months.   

I wanted to connect with you about the most recent update on the province’s return to learning plan for September. Today the Minister of Education announced that in September 2020, Ontario school boards will open their doors to students.    

This means that students can return to in-class learning with enhanced protocols and routines in place that will support the health, safety and well-being of all members of our Catholic learning community.

While we continue to work through the details in consultation with public health officials and recommendations from Sick Kids Hospital’s Guidance for School Reopening, here are some of the things that students and staff can expect to see at our schools as of Tuesday, September 8, 2020.  

  • Elementary schools will be open to students for regular instruction five days a week as per the established school calendar. 
  • The secondary school model will be based on a quadmester system (two courses per timetable) with 15 students per class attending on alternate days.  
  • In partnership with families, schools will be working alongside the board’s Student Services Department and Regulated Health Professionals to plan for a safe return to school and the provision of safe and appropriate support for students with special education needs in both elementary and secondary. More information will be forthcoming. 

For elementary and secondary schools: 

  • Self-assessments are to be performed at home for COVID-related symptoms, 
  • Students or staff members who are exhibiting symptoms will be expected to stay home. 
  • Hand hygiene and physical distancing will be emphasized and age appropriate signage will be placed throughout the school as reminders. 
  • Hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies will be placed throughout the school. 
  • Enhanced cleaning protocols will be implemented in schools. 
  • Access to school facilities will be limited to students and staff only. 
  • Non-medical masks will be mandatory for staff and for students from Grades 4-12.
  • Public health nurses will be hired regionally to provide training for school staff and additional support as needed.  

We recognize that some families will opt to keep their children at home and continue with remote online learning when schools open. To determine class placements and timetable scheduling, we will begin gathering that information from parents and guardians next week. You will receive an e-mail that will require a response by a specified date in order to ensure your child’s enrolment.   

In addition, parents of students who are eligible for busing through Durham Student Transportation Services (DSTS) will be asked to complete a separate online survey to assist with bus planning for the fall.    

It is our goal at the Durham Catholic District School Board to implement protocols and precautions that will ensure a positive experience for students and staff as they return to schools. For ongoing updates, please visit  

Lastly, I extend an invitation to families to participate in two live forums hosted in partnership with the Durham Catholic Parent Involvement Committee (DCPIC) and our Student Senate. It is my hope that this will be an opportunity to?respond to questions based on the most current situation as we transition to the 2020-2021 school year.

Return to Learning Online Forum for Parents and Guardians

Question and Answer Session with DCPIC and the Director of Education

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Click here to access this virtual event.

Parents and Guardians can submit questions by August 14, 2020 to:

Return to Learning Online Forum for Students

Question and Answer Session with the Student Senate and the Director of Education

Thursday, August 27, 2020

4:30 to 5:30 p.m.

Click here to access this live virtual event.

Students can submit questions by August 14, 2020 to: 

Please continue to stay safe over the summer, and I look forward to sharing more information in the coming weeks.

Yours in Faith,

Tracy Barill
Director of Education

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