Welcome to Niagara Catholic’s COVID-19 Student Learning From Home Resource Page

*New* April 7, 2020

Niagara Catholic has launched an FAQ tab for students, parents and families, with answers to your most commonly asked questions. Scroll down for the tab.

Updated Tuesday, March 31, 2020, 3 p.m. 

Earlier today, Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce announced that all Ontario schools - public, Catholic and private - will remain closed to students until at least May 4. The Minister has advised that this date is entirely dependent upon the situation with COVID-19 closer to that date, and upon the advice of Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. David Williams. Read the government's announcement here.

The key ares of focus are:

    • Reconnecting students with teachers and other school staff, including mental health workers;
    • Re-establishing teacher-led learning by grade groupings with minimum hours of work per student in the suggested areas of curriculum focus: .
      • Kindergarten-Grade 3: five hours of work per student/week (focus on literacy and math);
      • Grades 4-6: five hours of work per student/week (focus on literacy, math, science and social studies);
      • Grades 7-8: 10 hours of work per student/week (focus on math, literacy, science and social studies);
      • Grades 9-12: three hours of work per course per week for semestered students; 1.5 hours of work per course per week for non-semestered students (focus on achieving credits/completion/graduation);
    • Teacher teams, including specialist teachers, to develop assigned work for students, including curriculum areas such as art, music, French as a Second Language, English as a Second Language and Health and Physical Activity, and to contribute to board identified resources for learning at home;
    • Students with special education needs should receive appropriate accommodations where necessary and be provided with assigned work by teachers, as well as feedback or assessment.  Modifications to reflect a student’s IPRC and IEP are encouraged and expected;
    • Leveraging digital resources and identifying alternative forms of teacher-student connectivity, such as phone and mail;
    • Developing a program of training for educators to support virtual learning delivery;
    • Requiring final report cards for all students;
    • Modifications to graduation requirements for the Class of 2020;
    • Prioritizing and supporting students on track to graduate; and
    • Distributing laptops and/or devices from schools as needed, while observing public health direction

To support this final point, earlier today, Niagara Catholic reached out to all families, asking for information about their access to technology while schools are closed. Families with WiFi and devices for students to use do not need to do anything. Families that have do not have access to the Internet at home, or do not have devices for student use (or both), are asked to please call their child(ren)'s school(s) and leave a message on the main phone line with what they need. Principals will receive these messages through email. We will then begin allocating resources as available.

We will also continue to update the tabs below with new resources as they become available.

Ontario’s Ministry of Education has provided resources to assist students with staying engaged while schools are closed due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

In such unprecedented circumstances, these at home resources can assist students. Please click on the tab below for access to grade-appropriate programming for your child, updates from the Ministry of Education and on COVID-19.

In addition to updating this site daily as new information is provided, we will continue to provide information to students and families through School Messenger and from our schools.

Pray, stay well and be safe.

Board and Ministry Communications

*New* - April 6, 2020

As we embark on a new path in Catholic education at Niagara Catholic, Director of Education John Crocco has reached out to parents about this unprecedented time for students, staff and families. Read his letter here.

March 31, 2020

Following today's announcement that schools will remain closed until at least May 4, Minister of Education Stephen Lecce has provided a letter to families. Read the letter here.

March 27, 2020 - 4:30 p.m.

Director of Education John Crocco has updated families about steps being taken at the system level during this extended school closure.

Read Director Crocco's letter. 

March 27, 2020 - 12:00 p.m.

Niagara Region Public Health has confirmed that a staff member at Saint Francis Catholic Secondary School has tested positive for COVID-19, and is Niagara's first community-spread case of the illness.

Read Niagara Catholic's media release, and a release from Niagara Region Public Health.

March 24, 2020

Niagara Catholic is aware of Premier Doug Ford's comments on Monday, acknowledging the likelihood of the current school closure being extended beyond April 6. Contrary to many media reports, this does not mean that schools are closed indefinitely. Nor does it mean that 2019-2020 school year has been cancelled.

Premier Ford and many members of the Ontario cabinet will address the province at 1 p.m., and we will be watching. If an announcement is made at that time, we will advise all families.

We understand that the need to get outside and have some fresh air and exercise is important at this time, and that families have been visiting parks and playgrounds. We advise all families and the community that all Niagara Catholic playgrounds are closed, effective immediately, to stop the spread of COVID-19.Thank you for your cooperation.

March 23, 2020, 10:30 a.m. - A Message to Our Families

On behalf of the Bishop, Board of Trustees and Senior Staff, we continue to pray that you and your family are doing well, as we all adapt and follow the directions of the Medical Officers of Health and the Ministry of Education, during this unprecedented time in modern history.

COVID-19 impacts us all; our families, fellow citizens, communities, daily lives and social interactions, education, and the economy. We know that the brightest scientific minds are working on preventative measures until an effective vaccine is created. In the meantime, they continue to provide their best advice on how to avoid coming into contact with COVID-19.

Follow the instructions of our government leaders and medical experts to flatten the curve on the spread of this disease. Wash your hands often, practice cough and sneeze etiquette, clean and disinfect surfaces often and practice social distancing. If you went away for the March Break, federal and provincial public health leaders have recommended that all travellers from outside of Canada self-isolate for 14 days. These efforts will contribute to slow the introduction and spread of COVID-19 in Canada. Follow the steps provided by public health if you feel unwell during this period.

The only thing we can control in the midst of the rapidly changing news and information is how we react to the situation. Our response during this very stressful time may impact our own physical and mental health, and the physical and mental health of our families. We will get through this together by following the directions of medical professionals, taking the best care of ourselves and our families and by reaching out and supporting each other.

While we are inundated with coverage on the virus from the various sources, reliable and otherwise, consider taking a break to pray, read, maintain a healthy diet, exercise, sleep and stay connected with family and friends through emails, video chats and social media for your mental and physical health. There is much we do not know, but we do know that through our faith, prayers, compassion, cooperation, patience and self-care we will get through this together. If you or someone you know is struggling in the midst of this crisis, please take a break from consuming media, go outside for fresh air, or engage in an activity with your family. If that is not enough, please reach out to your doctor for support. Pathstone Mental Health is also available for children and youth. Find the information about seeking help from Pathstone Mental Health here.

It is our continued responsibility to ensure all families receive timely and accurate information as it becomes available, and as decisions are made at the federal, provincial and local level. Information will be provided directly to students and parents on here, our social media, through School Messenger and also through Niagara Catholic Virtual Learning Environment (NCVLE). Here is the most current information we can offer:

  • With the current State of Emergency in Ontario and the importance of social distancing all Board buildings are closed. With the mandated social distancing, no access or activities are permitted in any school. We will communicate with parents if and when items left behind prior to the March Break can be safely picked up if the closure extends beyond April 6, 2020.
  • Discussions about how student learning will continue during a pandemic are taking place locally, provincially, nationally and with UNESCO. We will inform all families about any decisions made by the province for the 2019-2020 school year.
  • Amendments have been made to The Education Act, to permit virtual Board and committee meetings during a pandemic. To hear the Tuesday, March 24th Board Meeting, please call 1-647-484-1596 Access Code 644537931#.
  • School Mental Health Ontario has prepared a flexible COVID-19 response plan to assist boards with resources and support related to student mental health during the closure and upon return. Packages of information are being sent to boards this week. We are currently discussing ways to share this with students.
  • Grades 3, 6, 9 EQAO assessments and the Grade 10 Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test provincial assessments have been cancelled for the remainder of this school year. The OSSLT will not be a graduation requirement for students who are otherwise able to graduate in June 2020. Decisions on the mandatory 40-hour community service requirement for graduates is still to be made, and will be shared once confirmed provincially.
  • Discussions with colleges and university admissions are currently underway, regarding mark submission and applications for students who have applied to post-secondary education. Additional information to follow.
  • Due to the nature and speed of the changes in Niagara and the province, we are reviewing system and school-based events scheduled for the remainder of the year. All international field trips between now and June 30th have been cancelled or rescheduled for next year. Events and activities scheduled to June 30th are being reviewed individually. We will communicate all cancellations or postponements as decisions are made.

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we all go through these unprecedented times together. Please pray, be well, look after each other.

March 22, 2020, 7 p.m. - Letter from Minister of Education Stephen Lecce
March 13, 2020, 2 p.m. - Letter from the Director and Chair


March 27, 2020

Niagara Catholic has created a list of recommended websites for students and families to access to promote student engagement and student-directed learning during this prolonged school closure. We will add additional sites as they are vetted by Board staff.

Recommended elementary learn at home resources.

The information below is from the Ontario Ministry of Education’s Learn at Home page.

We have divided it for families to find information quickly.

Get resources designed to help young students learn at home, independently or with the help of a parent or guardian.
Additional resources are available in French through TFO.

Math story time
For Kindergarten to Grade 2
Using stories to explore simple math concepts, engage children in math and make learning at home fun, this resource is designed to spark conversations about math and its connections to the world of a child. You may be prompted to download the free Math Storytime app. No accounts or passwords are required.

TVO Kids
For Kindergarten to Grade 6
Award-winning, advertising-free videos, games and content that supports the Ontario curriculum.

TVO Kids offers educational programming throughout the day for school-aged children. Check out their broadcast schedule to what is on and when.

TVO Kids also has YouTube Channels dedicated to STEM and literacy programs.
Science and Technology
Supports the Junior Kindergarten to Grade 3 core science curriculum. Kids can learn from fun science experiments — and even try some of them at home.
Support the Junior Kindergarten to Grade 3 core curriculum. Kids can learn math in a way that is intriguing and fun!
Join in an imaginative world where learning language is paramount. View any of the specially chosen videos on this YouTube channel and witness the growth of language skills and the love of reading.

TVO mPower
For Kindergarten to Grade 6
Free, award-winning online games that support the mastery of math concepts and bolster understanding of STEM and the social sciences. Boost foundational math skills and inspire a love of math. Sign up can easily be done by a parent. With a free account, students can track their progress in the games. Check out a sample preview of mPower.

TVO Mathify
For Grades 6 to 10
Free, one-on-one online support provided by Ontario Certified Teachers, is available to help students improve their math skills. Now accessible Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday from 3:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Build math understanding and confidence with the help of a math tutor!


March 27, 2020

Niagara Catholic has created a list of recommended websites for students and families to access to promote student engagement and student-directed learning during this prolonged school closure. We will add additional sites as they are vetted by Board staff.

Recommended secondary learn at home resources.

The information below is from the Ontario Ministry of Education’s Learn at Home page.
We have divided it for families to find information quickly.

Get activities and resources for high school students to use at home to supplement their learning.

High School Courses — Keep up with studies
For Grades 9 to 12
Students can review, refresh and extend their learning. During this time of school closure, teacher-facilitated online courses are being temporarily adapted to allow for independent study (not for credit). You can begin when you like and work at your own pace.

TVO Mathify
For Grades 6 to 10
Free, one-on-one online support provided by Ontario Certified Teachers, is available to help students improve their math skills. Now accessible Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday from 3:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Build math understanding and confidence with the help of a math tutor!

Special Education

Niagara Catholic has created a list of recommended websites for our special education students and their families to access during this prolonged school closure. We will add additional sites as they are vetted by Board staff.

Recommended elementary special education sites.

Recommended secondary special education sites. 

Continuing Education

March 27, 2020

Niagara Catholic offers Continuing Education Learner Resources for the following programs:

  • Adult Day School Credit Courses
  • eLearning Credit Courses
  • Personal Support Worker Program
  • International & Indigenous Languages Elementar
  • Student Academic Assistance • (also known as P3)
  • Literacy and Basic Skills Program
  • Prior Learning Assessment Recognition (PLAR) for Mature Students
  • Career and Academic Counselling
  • Community Services Resources

Parents, Guardians and Caregivers

The information below is from the Ontario Ministry of Education’s Learn at Home page.
We have divided it for families to find information quickly.

A parent's guide to literacy and mathematics in kindergarten (PDF)
For Kindergarten
Learn how kindergarten is designed to give your child a stronger start in school and in life by providing an engaging learning program that is based on a child's natural desire to play. Children enter school capable, competent and ready to learn.

Doing mathematics with your child (PDF)
For Kindergarten to Grade 6
Find tips and activities to help keep your child thinking about math all year.

A parent's guide to the fundamentals of math (PDF)
For Grades 1 to 8
Make sure students have a strong understanding of the fundamentals of math to help prepare them for success, now and in the future. What students learn today will help them solve everyday problems and prepare for the future of work.

The Ontario curriculum
For Kindergarten to Grade 12
Browse the curriculum to find what skills and knowledge students learn by the end of each grade.

Faith-based Learning

Faith is about much more than religion classes at Niagara Catholic - our faith is alive in all that we do. The Religion and Family Life component of our curriculum is a very important part of student learning in our Catholic schools. With schools and parishes closed, Niagara Catholic will continue to offer faith-formation resources so students can continue their faith journeys at home.

*New* April 7, 2020

Easter Mass from the Cathedral of St. Catherine of Alexandria will be broadcast Sunday morning at 11:30 a.m. on Cogeco Channel 700. Mass will be concelebrated by Bishop Bergie and Father Lizzotti.

April 1, 2020

Live Streaming of Mass, Stations of the Cross, and the Rosary Available Online

The Cathedral of St. Catharine of Alexandria
(Live Sunday at 11:30 am)

Our Lady of the Scapular Catholic Church, Niagara Falls
(Live daily at 9:00 am, Saturday at 5:00 pm)

St. Mary of the Assumption Catholic Church, St. Catharines
Weekend Mass
-Saturday at 5:00 pm and Sunday at 10:00am
Weekday Mass 
-Monday to Thursday
-Rosary 8:30
-Mass 9:00
-Monday to Friday from 11:00am to 12:00pm
Stations of the Cross
-Friday at 6:30 pm followed by Mass at 7:00 pm

St. Alfred Catholic Church, St. Catharines
Weekend Masses
-Saturday at 6:00 pm, 7:30 pm (Spanish)
-Sunday at 7:45 am, 9:00 am (Italian), 10:30 am & 12:00 pm
Weekday Masses
-Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday at 8am
-Wednesday at 9:15 am, 7:30 pm (in Spanish)
-Saturday at 8:30 am
Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and recitation of the Rosary follow all of the above weekday Masses.
Stations of the Cross
-Friday at 6:00 pm followed by Mass<

Star of the Sea Catholic Church, St. Catharines

St. Joseph Catholic Church, Grimsby

St. Julia Catholic Church, St. Catharines
(Live weekdays at 9am and Saturday at 5pm)

Salt & Light TV
(Live daily at 6:30 am, 11:00 am, 3:00 pm, 10:30 pm)

Faith Formation Resources for Students and Families

Virtual Tour of St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City
Just because we need to stay home physically doesn’t mean we can’t travel virtually! Explore the beautiful St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City and witness Renaissance art and architecture and the centre of the Catholic Church.

Daily Lenten Activities (K-12)
Daily activities and reflections for the forty days of Lent for children and adults.

Catholic Icing
Crafts and activities for K-4 on the Liturgical Year, Sacraments, Saints, and Prayer.

The Catholic version of Netflix, Formed, is offering a free 40 day trial. Lots of great movies and resources for the family.
The Elementary Chaplaincy Leaders recommend the Brother Francis series for K-3 students.


March 23, 2020

Through Pearson Publishing's Growing in Faith, Growing in Christ student-home website, students, parents and guardians have access to videos, stories, activities, and songs all anchored in the celebration of their Catholic faith.

To access the site, please use the following login:

username: GIFGIC_student99

password: Student99


Mental Health Resources - Families

Mental Health and COVID-19

*New* COVID-19 Youth Mental Health Hub

School Mental Health Ontario

Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) – Mental Health and the COVID-19 Pandemic

Canadian Psychological Association – Psychological Impacts of COVID-19

National Child Traumatic Stress Network – Helping Families Cope with COVID-19

Has COVID-19 Affected Your Mental Health

Covid-19 Toolkit


Talking to Kids About COVID-19

Child Mind Institute


Anxiety Canada

Pathstone Mental Health: How to Talk With Your Kids About Coronavirus

Talking to Teens and Tweens about Coronovirus

A Comic Explaining the New Coronavirus to Kids


Specialized Supports

Autism Canada – How to Explain COVID-19 to Your Child with ASD

Tourette Association of America – COVID-19 Resources for Tourette Syndrome

International OCD Foundation – COVID-19 and OCD Resource Page


Addressing Stress and Anxiety

Anxiety Canada – What to Do if You're Anxious or Worried about COVID-19

Dealing With Stress and Anxiety During a Pandemic


Fun Ways to Engage Kids and Build Connection

Random Acts of Kindness

Home Art Activities

TED Talks for Kids

The Globe and Mail’s Tips for Keeping Kids Occupied

Physical Activity for Children and Youth


Mental Health Resources-Students


Learning From Home FAQ

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.


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 - One hour a day/five hours a week
Grade 7 and Grade 8 - Two hours a day/10 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. 
Please report any issues with logging into online learning platforms to your child's teacher.

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?
We don’t know. Currently, schools are closed to students until May 4. However, that date could be pushed back later if Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. David Williams, determines schools must be closed longer for public safety. Minister of Education Stephen Lecce will advise all Ontario residents whether schools will reopen or remain closed closer to that time.

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.

Will summer school sessions take place?
At this point, we don't know. The Minister of Education has advised that schools will remain closed to students until at least May 4, and possibly longer if necessary. E-learning classes will take place this summer, and we will look at the possibility of running in-class summer school once we have more direction from the Minister, likely by late April and will let families know.

I need a transcript for my university/college application. How do I get one?

Current students will have that submitted automatically by their school.

Past students will be asked the school they attended when applying to university or college and an electronic request will be sent to the school for the transcript submission.

I graduated from high school many years ago and I need my transcript for a job/apprenticeship. How do I get one?

Please contact the secondary school you last attended for assistance.

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