Student Transportation Update:
General Manager and Chief Administrative Officer of Student Transportation of Eastern Ontario (STEO), Janet Murray, presented a report to Trustees about STEO’s Inclement Weather Zone Review. She shared that after a thorough assessment of zonal cancellation viability, STEO recommends that a system-wide cancellation model remains in place to support student and driver safety, driver engagement and continuity of service. Following the presentation, Trustees voted in favour of a motion to have STEO do further research into viable solutions and the cost of a zonal approach.
Student Mental Health and Wellness Update:
Superintendent Jennifer Perry presented to Trustees an update on student mental health and wellness. This relates directly to the Board Improvement and Equity Plan. There is a multi-tiered system of support for students, which is overseen and developed by the district’s Chief Psychologist, Dr. Jennifer Curry. Tier one is mental health promotion, tier two is targeted skill development services, and tier three is treatment and ongoing care supports.
Superintendent Perry also shared that including student voice continues to be crucial for the UCDSB. The district’s wellness goal is that all students will report that school is a safe and inclusive space, and positively influences their mental health, wellness, and sense of belonging. So far, over 4,000 students have been consulted by Principal of Equity and Inclusion, Dan McRae.
Masking in Schools:
Superintendent Marsha McNair provided an operational update to Trustees. She noted that after consultations with both local chief medical officers of health, they continue to support the Ministry of Education’s recommendation that masking remains optional. Both doctors recommended that families practice extra vigilance and consider public health measures, including encouraging masking in schools.
Following the presentation, Trustees passed a motion to strongly recommend masking at UCDSB for students, staff, and visitors.
Superintendent Chad Brownlee shared a staffing update. Covering staff absences continues to be a challenge in our schools and the school board is seeing a higher number of positions unfilled each day. System staff have been re-deployed to fill some of those daily vacancies. No school closures have taken place yet due to staffing, however, a total of seven classes had to be moved to remote learning for one or two days.