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Elementary Virtual School created for ALCDSB remote learners

Photo by August de Richelieu from Pexels

After data from the Return to School Survey suggested that 10 per cent of families in the Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School Board (ALCDSB) will be opting for remote learning in September, the school board is opening a new elementary virtual school for Remote Learning. 

Read our coverage of the ALCDSB survey here.

According to a release from the school board, dated Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020, the majority of the families choosing remote learning are at the elementary level. Because of this data, ALCDSB has created a virtual school for elementary aged remote learners. 

This virtual school will be staffed by Principal Dan Finn and ALCDSB educators from across the Catholic school communities.  Most recently, Dan Finn has served as the principal of St. Francis of Assisi Catholic School, and had an integral role in the transition and opening of ALCDSB’s newest Catholic elementary school, read the release. Dan Finn has also had the role of principal of ALCDSB Summer School and Online Summer Learning for many years.

The school board says they understand that, due to COVID-19, Remote Learning is a temporary choice for students. They also stressed in the release that where possible services that students previously accessed in schools related to their learning needs and wellness will be available to Remote Learners (e.g child and youth worker, special education).

Key information about the Virtual Elementary School, as stated in the release:

  • The first day of school for the Virtual School will be Monday, September 14 (please note this is different than In-Person learning)
  • The school day will begin at 9:00 a.m. 
  • For students in Remote Learning wishing to return to In-Person learning, the earliest date of return is Tuesday, October 13. This must be done in consultation with your home school principal. Please note that this return may not be immediate and is dependent on individual school scenarios
  • The following are entry points for families who wish to change between to the two models. Families may only change between the two models at these times due to time required for appropriate staffing.
    • Tuesday, October 13
    • Monday, November 16
    • Monday, January 4
  • The units of study will not necessarily match up, allowing for gaps or overlap in a student’s programming if they move between the two modes of learning; therefore, it is beneficial for students to remain in the same modality
  • Educators for the virtual school will not be the same as students’ home school teacher, but all educators are ALCDSB staff
  • Remote Learning will be available through Desire 2 Learn (D2L), which is accessible through the student’s my.alcdsb.on.ca page
  • French Immersion will not be provided in the Remote Learning program. All students will receive a minimum of one period of Core French per week of 40 minutes
  • Remote Learning will consist of a combination of synchronous (live) and asynchronous. Synchronous learning will include a combination of whole class, small group and one on one instruction. Asynchronous  learning is not delivered in real time and may include activities such as watching pre-recorded video lessons, completing assigned tasks, independent work or contributing to online discussion boards.
  • There are minimum time requirements depending on student Grade level.
Grade Level of StudentsDaily Minimum Synchronous (in real time) Learning Time Required
Kindergarten180 Minutes
Grades 1 to 3225 Minutes
Grades 4 to 8225 Minutes
  • During Remote Learning, students and parents/guardians will be provided with a daily schedule that includes a combination of synchronous and asynchronous learning activities. Programming will be based on the overall expectations of the Ontario Curriculum
  • If there are course access or synchronous technical issues, support will be available through [email protected]
  • Technology devices may be available to families who chose Remote Learning but do not have access to their own devices. If you require a device for Remote Learning, please click here to complete this survey

Remote Learning for Secondary Students

Secondary students will not be part of the new virtual school for Remote Learning. According to the release, these students will participate in Remote Learning through their classroom teacher at their home school.

Key information about secondary students, as stated in the release:

  • All secondary Remote Learning will begin on Tuesday, September 8th
  • As per the Ministry of Education guidelines, Grade 9-12 students will receive a minimum of  225 minutes of synchronous learning
  • Remote Learning will be available through Desire 2 Learn (D2L), which is accessible through the student’s my.alcdsb.on.ca page
  • For students who wish to return to In-Person learning, students must do this at the beginning of an octomester (e.g at the start of period 2, October 13 or start of period 3, November 13) and in consultation with the home school principal
  • Educators of Remote Learning will be the same as the student’s home-school teacher, who will provide synchronous and asynchronous learning activities
  • The school day will be in the same time frame as the student’s homeschool. Please confirm your start and end times here
  • As each course will be 22 days, followed by an exam date, it is imperative that students are participating in the form of a regular school day, unless specified otherwise by their classroom teacher
  • In classes that require experiential learning, teachers will provide remote learners with choices of activities
  • Technology devices may be available to families who chose remote learning but do not have access to their own devices. If you require a device for Remote Learning, please click here to complete this survey
  • If there are course access or synchronous technical issues, support will be available through [email protected]
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