Trustees with the Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB) met on Wednesday, May 13, for their regular Board of Trustees meeting. Trustees and senior staff joined the meeting by teleconference to ensure physical distancing, however full audio was broadcasted live. Trustees discussed several issues:
Professional Development Status Report
Staff presented a report on professional development priorities within the board for the 2019-20 school year. Trustees learned that professional development has focused on three areas: health and safety, training related to distance learning prompted by the COVID-19 crisis, and the New Teacher Induction Program (NTIP). Health and Safety training was completed online and focused on areas such as life-threatening allergies and concussion awareness. Preparation for distance learning involved training staff in the use of Office 365, Microsoft Teams and the Desire to Learn online learning platform, while NTIP training focused on topics such as knowing learners and creating mentally healthy classrooms.
UCDSB Response to COVID-19 Public Health Situation
Staff updated trustees on continuing efforts to manage the impact of COVID-19 on our board. Efforts have included, but were not limited to: providing limited access to school grounds for parents to safely collect medication and board devices to support distance learning. Staff are working on a plan for parents to access school grounds to pick up essential personal items from students’ lockers and classrooms. Other actions that have occurred include: a decision to hold 2020 graduation ceremonies in June 2021; planning for other ways to acknowledge 2020 graduates this spring that are within the parameters of public health restrictions; a parent survey to gain input regarding the board’s Learn at Home program; and planning for the safe completion of summer construction projects within our board.
Voluntary Redeployment Program
Staff told Trustees the board is participating in a provincial initiative that will allow education-sector workers to voluntarily redeploy to help institutions such as hospitals and long-term care facilities during the COVID-19 crisis. The local plan, once finalized, will allow board employees to voluntarily redeploy and still maintain their employment status and compensation with the board. The board must still negotiate the terms of the program with union locals, and reserves the right to deny applications if a staff member’s absence would adversely affect our students.