Frequently Asked Questions
The COVID-19 global pandemic has caused serious interruptions of travel, commerce and, in our case, education. We are relying on the expertise of some of the brightest minds in the world to guide us through this very challenging time, however, even they are in uncharted waters with this new and extremely contagious and dangerous virus. Please follow their instructions to wash your hands often, avoid touching your face and stay at home unless it's absolutely necessary.
We understand that there are many questions for families about how the extended school closures affect your child’s education. To assist you, we have put together this document with some of our most frequently asked questions.
ABOUT LEARNING AT HOME
What is At-Home or Distance Learning?
Just like it sounds, it’s learning that takes place outside a traditional classroom. In this case, learning takes place in students’ homes. It is not meant to replace regular classroom learning, and students will not have to follow a set schedule. The focus is on keeping minds and bodies active and students physically and mentally well. Students are expected to participate to the best of their abilities, and teachers will support all students in this new learning environment.
How long do students have to study?
The Ministry of Education has recommended the following time for learning:
Kindergarten - Grade 6 - Five hours a week
Grade 7 and Grade 8 - Ten hours a week
Grades 9-12 - Three hours per course each week
What should my child study?
Kindergarten - Grade 6 - Focus on literacy and numeracy
Grades 7-8 - Focus on literacy, numeracy, science and social science
Grades 9-12 - Focus on course studies
Will teachers assign work/homework?
Students will be assigned work, and both the Ministry and Niagara Catholic expect students to complete assigned work to the best of their abilities. If your child cannot complete an assignment, it’s important to advise the teacher so they are aware and can assist them.
Will there be accommodations for students with special needs/language barriers?
Classroom teachers continue to work closely with the Educational Resource Teacher in order to provide the best possible programming given the format choices that we have available. The school team will continue to work collaboratively with the Student Support Department to provide resources and strategies to support this. We remind all families that supports for students with special needs are available in the Niagara Catholic Virtual Learning Environment (NCVLE). Families can access the resources directly from there.
Should you have specific questions related to your child’s learning that cannot be addressed with their classroom teacher, please feel free to reach out the Educational Resource Teacher of your child’s school..
IEP/IPRC: More information regarding Individual Education Plans (IEPs) and Identification, Placement and Review Committees (IPRCs - if applicable) will be forthcoming
Transitions: Please know that the Student Support Department will continue to work on ways to facilitate transitions from grade to grade and elementary to secondary school (if applicable). More information will follow.
Formal Assessments: If your child has recently completed a formal psychological/educational assessment and you are awaiting feedback, please know that the school and the Student Support department is looking at ways to share this information with you in a timely and confidential manner.
IPRCs: If you have requested an IPRC (Identification, Placement and Review Committee) meeting for this academic school year, please know that the school and the Student Support department is working on completing these processes in a timely and confidential manner. More information will follow.
How can I help my child study?
There are many ways you can help your child settle into this new routine. These include:
- Setting aside a designated time every day for learning. Younger students may do better early in the morning. Secondary students may perform better with a late-morning start.
- Providing scheduled times for students to work if they work better independently.
- If possible, provide a place in the home where students can work free from interruptions.
- Communicate with your child’s teacher - or encourage your child to communicate with their teacher - if they need additional support to complete assignments.
Help! We’re having trouble signing into Google Classroom or other online learning sites.
*New* Please use our new portal, help.niagaracatholic.ca to get technology support.
How will my child do their EQAO/OSSLT Assessments from home?
Education Minister Stephen Lecce cancelled all EQAO assessments for this year in March. Students who needed to successfully complete the OSSLT this spring to graduate in June will be exempted from the test to fulfil their graduation requirements.
How long is this going to last?
*Updated* We don’t know. Education Minister Stephen Lecce announced May 4 was the earliest date that students could return to school for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. However, on April 14, the Ontario Government voted to extend the current State of Emergency by another 28 days instead of 14, until May 12. Schools would not reopen with the State of Emergency in place, so we are awaiting a new proposed date from Premier Ford or Minister Lecce.
My child forgot items at school. Can we get in to pick them up?
At this time, Niagara Catholic is not providing parents with access to schools to pick up items left behind by students. Exceptions may be made for prescriptions, Epi-pens or other crucial items on a case-by-case basis. Shoes and other personal items can be retrieved when public health officials determine it is safe to do so.
Will Journey Retreat, Confirmations and first Communions take place if schools reopen this spring?
Journey Retreat has been cancelled for the remainder of the school year. Bishop Bergie has closed all churches within the Diocese until further notice for the health and safety of parishioners and the broader community, and all special large celebrations, including first Communions and confirmations will be rescheduled.
Will graduations and proms proceed this year if schools reopen?
We are looking at events three to four weeks out from their scheduled dates. However, people should be prepared for the probability that proms may not take place this year, and graduations will likely take place in the fall. Those decisions will depend on access to the facilities where they are hosted and the ability to hold the event. You will receive information about these events from your child’s principal.
Will school trips continue if schools reopen?
We will evaluate any school trips if schools reopen in May.
When will we be reimbursed for school trips, milk money and pizza days?
We understand that many families need the money paid for school trips and pizza days to help at home. Once we establish the teacher-led learning routine for students, principals will turn their attention to administrative tasks, such as reimbursing families for events through the end of the year. Families should receive refunds within the next two weeks.
Can we take our children to schools to get exercise?
No. Niagara Catholic’s school yards and playgrounds are closed. We ask all of our families and communities to please obey signs posted and stay off the playgrounds at our schools and throughout the community for the health and safety of all.
*New* Will summer school sessions take place?
Niagara Catholic's Continuing Education Department continues its planning for a normal session of summer school in 2020, beginning on July 6. However, that decision may be revised as the situation in Ontario continues to evolve. Summer School registration opens on Monday, April 20, 2020, and students who wish to enroll are encouraged to do so, with the understanding that it may not be possible to run the program as normal this year, and revisions may need to be made to timetables in 2020-2021 and beyond. Summer School information and online-registration are available at www.summerschoolniagara.ca.
*New* I'm in Grade 12 and don't have 40 Christian Community Service Hours. Can I still graduate?
The requirement to complete 40 hours of Christian Community Service is suspended for graduating students for this school year. Any hours that have been completed and submitted will be reported on the report card. Students who have yet to submit their hours may do so by submitting them to the school.