Trustee Update

Zakir Patel • Ward 19: Scarborough - Guildwood
Toronto District School Board
Tel: 416-395-8787 • Cell: 647-709-7973
Zakir.Patel@tdsb.on.ca
portrait of Zakir Patel
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April 8, 2021

Stay at home order

The Premier has just announced new measures to slow the spread of COVID-19, including a province-wide stay at home order. The news release has just been posted here:

Toronto Public Heath Orders Toronto Schools to Close to In-Person Learning

This is a very important update about the status of in-person learning at the TDSB. Toronto Public Health (TPH), has just announced that all schools in Toronto, including those at the TDSB, will be closed to in-person learning as of Wednesday, April 7, 2021 and remain closed up to and including Sunday, April 18, 2021. This TPH order is being made under Section 22 of Ontario’s Health Protection and Promotion Act in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.
For the remainder of this week, students and staff will move to remote learning and the April Break scheduled for next week will continue as normal. Please note that, unlike the closure in January and February, this applies to all TDSB students in all TDSB schools. School-aged children will not be permitted to attend daycares located inside TDSB schools during the closure, however, pre-school-aged children will continue to be permitted to attend.
While we recognize that you may still have a number of questions, please know that we will share additional information once we receive it. In the meantime, we wanted to ensure you received this initial information as soon as possible. We know that this TPH order will impact our families in a number of different ways but we will do all that we can to support students and staff through this period. Teachers will be connecting with families about next steps on remote learning in the days ahead.

Letters from the Chair of the Board 

Chair of the Board Alexander Brown issued the following letters to the Government of Ontario to advocate for the Community Use of Schools Grant, Focus on Youth Summer Program, Access to Paid Sick Days and COVID-19 Funding for the 2021-21 school year:

Prioritizing COVID-19 Vaccinations for Education Workers

On March 19, 2021, Interim Director of Education Karen Falconer sent the following letter to Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health, the Toronto Central LHIN and local health partners about the urgency of prioritizing COVID-19 vaccinations for education workers in our Board:

Education Development Charges Hearing

On March 25, 2021, the Toronto District School Board made arguments to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice (Divisional Court) before a panel of three judges about changes to the Education Act to allow the TDSB to collect Education Development Charges, which could generate about $500 million in additional revenue over the next 15 years to make investments in schools.
Lawyers for the Government of Ontario and Building Industry and Land Development Corporation also participated in the hearing and argued against the changes proposed by the TDSB.
As expected, following the three-hour hearing, the Court reserved judgment and will render its decision at a later date.

OPSBA Advocacy Day 2021: TDSB

The purpose of Ontario Public School Boards’ Association (OPSBA) Advocacy Day meetings are to re-introduce OPSBA and its priorities to the government and the opposition parties. It is also an opportunity to increase and elevate the overall awareness of the association and its advocacy efforts. Following the provincial meetings, OPSBA Directors representing the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) reached out to their local government MPPs to set up a virtual meeting. The following document was developed to highlight various issues that are impacting the Board and ways that government could help alleviate them:

  • OPSBA Advocacy Day 2021: Toronto District School Board (PDF / Word)

TDSB Action Plan to Combat Discrimination Outlined in Human Rights Report

The TDSB has recently released its first-ever Human Rights Annual Report. The report underscores a continued commitment to create welcoming schools, classrooms and spaces free from discrimination, informed by the collection of data on incidents of racism, hate and bias. The report also lays out a comprehensive plan to address the serious issues identified, including all forms address all forms of racism.

TDSB Reaches Tentative Local Agreement with Professional Support Services Staff

The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) has reached a tentative agreement with Professional Support Services Personnel (PSSP) District 12 which is represented by the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation.

The tentative agreement must still be ratified by both the TDSB and OSSTF (PSSP) with a vote expected on or before May 15, 2021.
For more information, please read the news release.

School Excursion Forms Are Now Digital 

School excursion notifications and permission forms are now digital! The TDSB has launched a new online system to replace the current paper-based model.
While in-person excursions and athletics are not taking place right now, there is still a wide variety of virtual excursions available to our students.
When a teacher creates a virtual excursion for their students, parents/guardians will receive an email notification from tdsb.excursions@tdsb.on.ca about the upcoming event. As these opportunities are happening virtually and during the school day, permission is not required, but it is to let parents/guardians know what their child is engaged in.
When in person athletics and excursions resume, all related forms and communication will also be available through this online process, which will include a secure login process for parents/guardians to provide consent.
Elementary Summer School 2021
The focus of the 2021 Elementary Literacy and Numeracy Summer School Program is to address student learning gaps and to continue student engagement through the month of July. Programs, embedded in Literacy and Numeracy, are developed by the local summer school principal to reflect the local school focus. Programs are offered to students in K to Grade 8, from July 5 – 30, 2021.
Learn more about Elementary Summer School 2021.

Student Registration 2021-22 

The TDSB Online Registration links are now available for current and next school year. Please ensure you select the form called “20212022 TDSB Online Registration.”

Online registration is for students new to the TDSB. Please do not complete an online registration for a current TDSB student. For further information and instructions, contact the school where you would like to register.

Need help? View the Online Registration Video Tutorial for more information. For any browser related technical issues using the OLR application, view the Browser Technical Issues for Parents document.

Student Virtual Learning IT Support

Please visit: https://www.tdsb.on.ca/In-Person-Learning/Student-Virtual-Learning-IT-Support 

Mental Health and Well-Being 

The Toronto District School Board is committed to providing mental health and well-being support for students, their families and staff. For more information, including helpful resources and coping strategies, please visit the TDSB webpage for Mental Health and Well-Being.
Reminder: Ontario Government Delays March Break
The Minister of Education announced that March Break — originally scheduled for March 15 to 19, 2021 — has been delayed by approximately a month in hopes of reducing community transmission of COVID-19. On the advice of public health officials, the break is now scheduled for April 12 – 16, 2021.
Hispanic Heritage Month
During the month of April the TDSB recognizes Hispanic Heritage Month. In March 2010, our TDSB Board of Trustees voted that April be designated as Hispanic Heritage Month at the Toronto District School Board.
As stated in the Hispanic Heritage Month Act, (May 5, 2015): "Ontario is home to more than 400,000 first-, second- and third-generation Canadian of Hispanic origin. As early as 1914, Canadians who originated from 23 Hispanic countries began immigrating to the province and today the Hispanic community is one of the fastest growing in Ontario. Hispanic-Canadians represent a dynamic community that has made significant contributions to the growth and prosperity of the Province of Ontario.
By proclaiming the month of October as Hispanic Heritage Month in Ontario, the province recognizes the rich contributions of Hispanic-Canadians to our social economic, political and multicultural fabric. Hispanic Heritage Month is an opportunity to remember, celebrate and educate future generations about the outstanding achievements and contributions of Hispanic people in the province."
Latin-America History Month
During the month of April, the Toronto District School Board proudly recognizes Latin-America History Month. In April 2016, our TDSB Board of Trustees voted that April be designated as Latin-America History Month. The motion was a result of advocacy on behalf of TDSB students, educators, parents/caregivers as well as community organizations within LAEN-The Latinx, Afro-Latin-America Abya Yala Education Network. Together, hundreds of community members called for the TDSB to take up the work of addressing social inequities harming TDSB school families with ancestry from the Lands that are known in Western mainstream culture as Latin-America.
Since its creation in 2016, the planning committee has grown in its breadth, depth and scope, searching every year for more intentional ways of working in solidarity with Indigenous nations of Turtle Island (Canada) and ways to bring Elders, Knowledge Keepers, educators and families together to decolonize understandings of Latin-America. The Latin-America History volunteer planning committee is comprised of TDSB students, staff, parents/caregivers, community educators and activist. Committee members are pursuing intentional partnerships with the TDSB Urban Indigenous Education Centre, Dodem Kanonhsa among other community partners to ensure that there is a collective building of initiatives to achieve healthy, transformative, restorative, equitable, caring, culturally responsive and reflective educational spaces for all.
This year’s theme is entitled, “(DeColonizing) Latin-America History Month & Beyond: Learning together about our collective pasts, alongside our relatives of today, the Eagle, the Quetzal and the Condor.” Through the representation of the Eagle, the Quetzal and the Condor, April marks our efforts to go deeper into the histories/herstories/theirstories that have not been told through mainstream education narratives about Latin-America. The visual for our month depicts the coming together of the Eagle representing the Lands of North America, the Quetzal representing the Lands of Central America and the Condor representing the Lands of South America. During the month, we will learn about the large extent of diversity of human experiences found within Central and South America and those who claim ancestry to these Lands. Connections to Indigenous sovereignty and solidarity with other BIPOC communities within Turtle Island (Canada) will also be uplifted and highlighted as key elements of decolonizing education on Latin-America. Decolonizing Latin-America refers to a deep dive into teachings that will reveal many factual, but not wide known truths, such as why it is that Latin-America can also be referred to as Afro-Latin-America, Amerrique, Abya Yala and Pachamama, to name a few. The TDSB community at large will have the opportunity to learn about the diversity in languages as well, with over 500 languages spoken in Latin-America, including Popti, Garifuna, Quechua, Kuna, Nahuatl, Aymara Guarani, Spanish and French.
Continuing in our equity journey as a system and specifically connected to learning and unlearning narratives about Latin-America, the TDSB staff, community members and partners of the volunteer planning committee will curate and hold space for students to engage in artistic expressions, virtual youth-to-youth forums, virtual community circles, as well as offer the co-creation of culturally responsive and reflective curriculum, staff professional development sessions, data gathering related to addressing student and family needs arising from covid-19 and more! We aim to grow stronger as a TDSB community by sharing our stories of resilience, struggle and success, in relation to intentionally honouring and co-creating with the many territories and peoples over which the Eagle, the Quetzal and the Condor fly.


Sikh Heritage Month

Sikh Heritage Month is proudly recognized at the Toronto District School Board during the month of April. On March 22, 2016, the Board of Trustees voted to designate April of each year as Sikh Heritage Month, making the TDSB the first school board in Canada to do so. This designation matches the recognition by the province of Ontario that proclaimed the Sikh Heritage Month Act in December 2013.
This year our theme is Growing our Future: The Legacy of Sikh Farmers.
Sikh Canadians have lived in Ontario since the turn of the twentieth century. They have made significant contributions to the growth and prosperity of Ontario and their traditions and culture continue to be a vibrant part of every aspect of life of Canadians today. This includes many Sikh families who are engaged in farming throughout Canada.
Upcoming Meetings
The next Regular Board Meeting is on Wednesday, April 21, 2021. For a list of upcoming meetings, please click on the calendar on the main webpage of www.tdsb.on.ca.
COVID Testing Update
Maps showing active cases and cumulative resolved cases: Please find attached two maps that show the geographic distribution of current active cases compared to cumulative resolved cases. Current cases are widespread and occurring in most parts of the city.
Asymptomatic testing: Next week, there will be two asymptomatic testing hubs supported by LifeLabs:
  • Thursday, 8 April 2021, at Brebeuf College, 211 Steeles Avenue East; and,
  • Friday, 9 April 2021, at Richview CI, 1738 Islington Avenue.
These hubs are open to all students and staff of schools of the four school boards in Toronto. The testing is voluntary. The students and staff must not have symptoms in order to participate in these testing opportunities. The asymptomatic testing sites are posted on the TDSB website; this page will continue to be updated as new sites are identified.

Scarborough COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic

For more information, visit https://www.scarboroughcovidvaccineclinic.ca/
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