'No one's year will be jeopardized,' but school year could be extended
TVDSB director of education Mark Fisher says the board is looking at different options
The Thames Valley District School Board hasn't decided if students will be able to return to the classroom this year.
"I'm hopeful that they'll reopen but this situation is so fluid and it changes virtually daily. It's really hard to know when and if schools will reopen this school year," said director of education Mark Fisher.
Nonetheless, Fisher is assuring students that they won't lose their year, especially those who are graduating.
"No one's year will be jeopardized," he said. "Accommodations will be made to ensure that every student who is scheduled to graduate, will graduate. They have waived the literacy test requirement for students that have been unable to meet that at this stage."
The board is looking at other options, too, he added.
"We will figure this out. Whether we extend the school year or whether we look at different alternatives."
And while students are out of class, Fisher said custodians have been deep cleaning the schools.
We owe a huge thank you to our amazing <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TVDSB?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TVDSB</a> Facility Services staff who are working this week to disinfect our buildings and ensure that they are safe, clean and ready for our students and staff. <a href="https://t.co/I1jVeIZNEz">pic.twitter.com/I1jVeIZNEz</a>—@DirFisherTVDSB
Laptops and iPads likely available for low-income students
Fisher said the province is offering online resources to students: literacy and numeracy help for elementary kids, and a number of courses are available through the ministry's website for secondary school students.
"I think we can anticipate that there will be a lot more active engagement between students and teachers starting on April 6th," Fisher said, adding that provincial labour leaders have been working with the union to outline what that will look like.
"We are waiting for direction from the ministry about what those expectations will be for teachers, in terms of their formal interactions with students for the period beyond April 5th," he said.
The board is also taking stock and cleaning all of its laptops and iPads, Fischer said, in the hopes of delivering them to students who need them.
"We have to be really careful from an equity perspective not to leave anyone behind during this crisis," he said.
"We're also looking at developing paper resources for students in those areas where Internet access is problematic."