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School Opening

School Opening Updates

As you have heard, the first day of school will be Tuesday, September 8/20. The key to a successful school reopening is accurate attendance information. We are asking every Wellington Catholic family to fill in this Return to School survey before 5 pm on Friday, August 14/20. This will take 5 minutes to complete and will help us plan for September. In this survey, we are asking families to indicate their return to school intentions and their transportation needs. You can find the survey here


This is a link to our Return to School FAQ. We know that families have a lot of questions as we get ready for school reopening. We will be updating this document often as we connect your important questions with new and changing information from the Ministry and public health. Do you have questions that you would like us to hear? Drop us a note at  We will do our best to incorporate your questions into a future edition.


This is a link to the planning document that will guide our decision making. This document will continue to evolve and today (August 5) we are sharing version 5. This plan has input from all corners of WCDSB (from frontline staff to principals) and has been reviewed by our local public health and follows all provincial guidelines provided to date. We are sharing this document so you have access to the same information that our staff do.


While we have planned for much, we cannot anticipate everything that the fall may bring. As we continue to grow through this experience, you can count on our commitment to open communication. We will be posting regular updates here and on Twitter at @WellingtonCath



August 13 | Follow up Minister Lecce announcement


The Minister of Education, Stephen Lecce, and Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, announced updates on August 13 that will impact the reopening of schools this fall. The announcement outlined that boards may use reserves from their prior year accumulated surplus to support the board’s priorities with respect to return to school plans. In consultation with our Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health Unit, we will make any necessary adaptations to our reopening plan. 


The government will also be releasing a Policy Program Memorandum (PPM) outlining the expectations for teacher-led remote learning. The directive is expected to establish minimum expectations for engaging students in their learning, and have a predictable timetable for synchronous, live learning. It will include Ministry-set requirements for the minimum time for synchronous learning by grade, protocols for communicating with parents and students and access to technology. We will share the information in our regularly updated FAQs.


The Ministry also committed to working closely with public health and school boards to monitor and report on the health status of school communities as part of the government's COVID-19 outbreak management plan.


Our team is reviewing the new information and the impact on school reopening. Watch for an update from us in the days ahead.


As always, we appreciate your patience and understanding. We continue to respond to evolving information so that we can ensure a responsive and comprehensive school reopening plan that prioritizes the health and safety of our community.

August 11 | A Letter to our community
This is an open letter and update from Director of Education, Tamara Nugent to all Wellington Catholic families. It has new insights on two of the key themes we are hearing from families as they prepare for September:
1) What remote learning will look like? 
2) Will students be allowed to switch between online and in-person learning?
You can read a copy of the letter here. 

August 10 | Our back to school FAQ document

This is a link to our Return to School FAQ. We know that families have a lot of questions as we get ready for school reopening. We will be updating this document often as we connect your important questions with new and changing directions from the Ministry and public health.

August 5 | We need to hear from you! Fill in our survey today!

Survey header

Please take our Return to School survey now


The Ministry is providing families with two options for the return to school. Families can select one of the following for students:

  • Conventional learning: students attend school in person full time, five days a week
  • Online learning: students learn full time on-line from home


You can read more about these definitions on this page in the post dated August 4.

The Ministry has asked school boards to complete a preregistration process to allow parents to confirm their intentions for the return to school and to ensure accurate data for planning processes.

To help with our attendance planning, we are asking families to complete this short survey by 5 pm on Friday, August 14/20. Please complete the survey for each child you have registered with our board.

We look forward to welcoming you back on September 8, 2020!

August 4 | Definitions of ‘conventional’ and ‘online’ learning

The Ministry is providing families with two options for the return to school. Families can select one of the following for students:

  • - Conventional learning: students attend school in person full time, five days a week
  • - Online learning: students learn full time on-line from home


This is what we anticipate these options will look like.


Conventional learning: Elementary

These details may change and evolve with additional input from public health or the Ministry of Education.

  • Elementary schools will reopen with conventional in-person delivery of teaching and instruction, with enhanced health and safety protocols, province-wide.
  • Elementary school students in Kindergarten through Grade 8 will attend school five days per week, with 5 hours of instruction per day, remaining in one cohort (group) for the full day, including recess and lunch.
  • Cohorted classes will stay together and with one teacher, where possible. Students can expect to see changes in the timing of recesses, lunches, and bathroom breaks as they are staggered to support cohorting.
  • Specialized teachers, like French teachers, will still be able to go into classrooms to provide the full breadth of programming for students. Students will also be able to leave their classrooms to receive additional supports but direct and indirect contacts in schools for students should be limited to approximately 50.
  • School boards will provide the full range of elementary curriculum in this model.
  • Students in grades 4-8 will wear masks/face coverings while indoors at school.  Students in kindergarten to grade 3 will be encouraged, but not required, to wear masks/face coverings in indoor spaces. Reasonable exceptions on the requirement to wear masks will apply. Outdoor activity time will be scheduled throughout the day and can be used as an opportunity to provide students a break from wearing masks. 

Elementary On-line Learning

These details may change and evolve with additional input from public health or the Ministry of Education.

  • For students who are engaged in remote learning, attendance will be taken according to the school's daily protocol.
  • Students will be provided with a daily schedule of subjects/courses according to a 5-hour instructional day
  • Subject matter will be taught through a combination of models which include synchronous and asynchronous learning
  • Students will be registered at their home school.
  • Students will be assigned to virtual classrooms which may include students from different schools across the school district. Staff assigned to classes may not be from the student’s home school.
  • Note: If a student chooses to return to in-person learning during the year, considerable advance notice will be needed to accommodate a safe return to school.



Conventional Learning Secondary 

These details may change and evolve with additional input from public health or the Ministry of Education.

  • Secondary school students (grades 9 to 12) will attend school every day.
  • Courses will be organized in a quadmester with students taking two courses until the end of the first term (early November) and another two courses for the second term (at the end of January).
  • The day will be broken into two periods with appropriate breaks. Students will receive 300 minutes of instruction per day during the regular school day. 
  • Each course is considered a cohort. Students will have a maximum of two cohorts to limit direct and indirect contacts for secondary students (less than 100 students)
  • Enhanced health and safety protocols will be in place and students will be required to wear non-medical masks/face coverings while indoors.   
  • Students in Grades 9 to 12 will be required to wear non-medical masks/face coverings indoors on school property, including in hallways and classrooms.  


Secondary On-line Learning

These details may change and evolve with additional input from public health or the Ministry of Education.

  • Students registered for on-line learning will be enrolled in online courses. This will be organized through an e-learning course, an alternative education on-line course or another option where appropriate (e.g. Independent Learning Course). 
  • Students will be responsible for connecting with their teacher every day in both live, synchronous (real time learning with teachers) learning sessions and asynchronous (working independently on tasks). 
  • Students can expect a 300 minute (5 hour) day for on-line learning
  • Note: Students wishing to return to in-person attendance will need to wait until courses are complete at the end of the term (e.g. early November, late January)


July 31 | The Official Ministry Reopening Plan

The Ministry of Education has just announced their instructions for boards in support of school reopening on September 8, 2020. Our entire team is working hard to ensure that all Wellington Catholic DSB schools are safe, healthy and inclusive places of welcome for our students and staff.


The instructions from the Ministry (which you can read here) provide further direction on what needs to happen next. Our team will be working on detailed rollout plans throughout August. Today, we know this:


  • The first day of school will be Tuesday, September 8, 2020
  • Elementary and secondary students will be attending 5 days a week, receiving 5 hours of instruction plus regular nutrition breaks
  • Masks will be supplied for all staff in schools
  • Students in grades 4 – 12 will be mandated to wear cloth masks
  • Students in Kindergarten to Grade 3 will be encouraged but not required to wear masks


Enhanced health and safety protocols will be in place in each school. All school boards have been provided guidelines from the Ministry that outline the specific protocols we are expected to follow to ensure student and staff safety.


The Ministry also announced that a new school health monitoring system will be established through a partnership between the ministries of Health and Education, school boards and local public health to monitor and respond to reports of COVID-19 symptoms.


Next week we will be asking our families to confirm their child’s attendance at school and their transportation needs. 

We know this September is going to very different for everyone. We remain focused on plans that will ensure safe, healthy and inclusive learning environments for all students and staff. As a Catholic community of faith, we are called to accompany one another with patience and grace as we navigate the time ahead. After all, #WeBelongTogether.


I hope you enjoy a fun and safe long weekend,



-       Tamara

June 30 | Joint Media Release with Upper Grand DSB

Today the Ministry of Education shared their back to school plans with families and boards. With our colleagues from the Upper Grand DSB we have put out a joint media release with a summary of what we know today. Read that here and stay tuned for more details soon. 

July 15 | The School Calendar is Ready! 


Since the last day of school in June, the team at Wellington Catholic have been working hard to prepare for school opening in the fall. We have 11 working groups made up of leaders from across the board including principals, educators, secretaries, custodians, support staff and board administrators. These groups are having conversations about topics including: health and safety, mental health and well-being, student learning, scheduling, transportation, technology and special education. This group work will ensure that WCDSB has plans and protocols in place this fall to let our students and staff learn in safe, healthy and inclusive communities.


As of July 15, we do not know what the fall will look like. Here is what we do know:


  • The Ministry of Education is committed to giving boards direction for school opening by August 4. Once we have that clarity, our working committees will finalize our operational plans.
  • The first day of the new school year will be Tuesday September 8. You can download a copy of our finalized 2021/22 school calendar here. We won’t know until August 4 if students will be learning in the classroom, at home or a combination of both.
  • Following the Ministry announcement about the model in which schools will reopen, we will be sending a survey to all our families to confirm fall attendance and transportation needs. This information will be very important as we finalize our plans based on the ministry’s direction.
  • The uncertainly of what will be happening in the fall is hard for everyone. While we can’t take that uncertainty away, we are going to keep communicating what we know as soon as we know it.


Everyone at the board misses our students and are eager to get back to teaching and learning together.

June 29 | Year-End Thanks

Happy canada dayAs we get ready to celebrate living in a beautiful and democratic country, a few thoughts from a busy week at Wellington Catholic.


Let me start with congratulations to Michael Glazier on his appointment to Director of Education starting September 1/2020. Mike comes with a passion for Catholic Education, comprehensive experience and leadership in Kindergarten to Grade 12, and a strong understanding of the WCDSB community and culture. Mike’s dedication and heart of service to others are inspiring. I wish Mike and our amazing team of staff enduring success!


Updates from the Ministry

This week, the Ministry announced a new Math curriculum and accompanying report card changes for September 2020. Our Program Department staff will be working hard over the summer to ensure we can implement the changes as smoothly as possible.


The ministry also shared that EQAO Grade 3 and 6 will be cancelled in the 2020/2021 school year.


School Opening Plans

Families, staff and students are very eager to hear what school is going to look like this September. On June 20th all school boards in Ontario were asked by the Ministry of Education to prepare three separate work plans, each exploring a different return to school option:

  • Conventional: Students return to class with a normal routine and enhanced health and safety protocols
  • Adaptive:  Students return to class with a modified school day routine based on smaller class sizes, cohorting/groupings of students and alternative day or week delivery
  • At Home Learning:  Students continue with enhanced distance learning

You can read about the specific instructions from Ministry here:


As plans for school opening are developed, we are endeavouring to ensure alignment where possible with Upper Grand. The WCDSB working groups will start work the week of July 6 to further articulate our plans, based on the most current information we have from the Ministry and Public Health. We will continue to provide you with regular updates. We anticipate that by mid-August the Ministry will confirm which plan we are to use to re-open our schools. Regardless of the final instructions from the Ministry, we are committed to creating learning spaces that are safe, healthy, faith-filled and support student success and well-being.


- Tamara

June 26 | Thought Exchange Update

Thought Exchange

We launched a Thought Exchange in June to discover different perspectives and inform our decisions as plans are made for school opening. Thank you for the insightful feedback. You can explore the results of this exchange here.


The majority of responses were focused on plans to keep students and staff safe including:

  • Health and Safety; school cleanliness, physical distancing, use of personal protective equipment, prevention and containment of COVID-19
  • Teaching and learning, including special education resources and supports
  • Supporting mental health and well-being
The board will keep this feedback front and centre as we begin to build plans for school opening in the fall.