Admin

Frequently Asked Questions COVID-19 Closure

Limestone Learning Foundation
School Operations

Why are schools closed?

A Ministerial Order was issued March 12, 2020 indicating all elementary and secondary schools will close from March 14 to April 5, 2020 inclusive in response to the emergence of COVID-19. On May 19, 2020, the Premier and Minister of Education indicated that schools would remain closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. 

This decision was based on advice from Dr. David Williams, Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health, and the experts at the COVID-19 Command Table to help slow the spread of the virus. 

Are only students staying home?

No. All Limestone schools and Board sites are closed. This includes schools, alternative centres, Limestone School of Community Education, Educational Services, International Education, Gould Lake Outdoor Centre and the Board Office (Education Centre). Staff will work remotely from home where possible. 

Are child-care centres in schools open?

No. All child-care offered by third-party vendors in our schools will remain closed for now. The gradual reopening of child care is subject to the continuing progress in trends of key public health indicators.

Is Community Use of Schools running?

All Community Use of Schools is cancelled for the school closure period. Accounts will be automatically adjusted, and charges will be cancelled or refunded as are required. 

Can we go to school to retrieve our belongings?

No. No one is allowed in our schools right now. All of our schools have been deep cleaned and sanitized and are closed to traffic. Given the May 19, 2020 announcement regarding the closure of schools for the remainder of the school year, we are working with local public health officials to determine how students can safely return to school to retrieve any belongings that were left behind in March.We will share updates on how students and families might retrieve items at a later date. 

Can we play on school yards?

No. All outdoor play structures on Limestone District School Board school grounds were closed in late spring as a result of public health orders issued due to COVID-19. These outdoor play structures, including shelters, picnic tables and other items on school yards, currently remain closed as is our practice during the summer months while schools are closed. These items are not cleaned or sanitized, and families use them at their own risk. We continue to work on plans to reopen playgrounds for school use in September.

What will happen to extra-curricular activities like sports?

At this time, all extra-curricular activities including inter-school sports are cancelled for the remainder of the school year.

What will happen to field trips?

No. All out of country (international) and out of province trips are now cancelled for the remainder of the school year. Trips within KFL&A may be permitted if school resumes before the end of the school yeare. This is subject to change.  

Will field trips and extra-curricular activities be refunded?

Board-arranged field trips and any fees for suspended extra-curricular activities will be refunded at some point. Out of country and province trips may follow a different refund procedure. Your school will provide more information as they are able. We appreciate your patience as  regular business processes may be delayed during the closure.

Will the school year be extended?

At this time, there are no plans to extend the school year. Emergency remote learning will continue for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. Summer session (online) learning opportunities will go ahead as planned.

Does the Board have a pandemic plan?

Yes. The Board has a Pandemic Response Plan that outlines the actions the Board will undertake if a pandemic is declared by one of the public health authorities. The plan has been recently updated and we continue to work closely with KFL&A Public Health on any amendments or additions. The Pandemic Operations Committee, which involves key Board staff, has already met to review the plan and begin contingency planning. Meetings will occur regularly throughout this situation.  

What is the Board doing to deal with COVID-19?

We are in constant contact with KFL&A Public Health to prepare for local cases of COVID-19. Schools and sites in Limestone are taking the following steps to help prevent the spread of infection:  

  • increased environmental cleaning that sanitizes and disinfects surfaces daily with particular attention to high-touch surfaces such as desks, doorknobs and light switches; 
  • all schools and sites will receive a deep cleaning during the closure;
  • increased supply of alcohol-based hand sanitizer in all schools;
  • additional education to school population regarding infection control strategies such as importance of hand hygiene and proper respiratory etiquette (cover your cough); and  
  • cancellation of international student trips over the March Break period as a precaution.  
Learning

How are students expected to keep up their learning?

The Board has been working on an emergency remote learning strategy to support all students as per direction from the Ministry of Education. A remote learning plan will need to be phased as we work to identify local learning needs, develop resources, establish training, and consider logistics.

Ensuring equity of access to technology and the Internet, as well as support for our most vulnerable student populations, remains a top priority. Teachers may reach out to connect with students but there is no expectation for teaching and learning to continue right now.

Until this plan is released, you can access the Ministry’s 
Learn at Home resources, or a list of supplemental online resources compiled by LDSB educators. Or, simply do general literacy and math activities: read a book, talk, play games. 

When emergency remote learning begins, we urge students and teachers to ensure good online etiquette to ensure privacy, awareness of Board policy surrounding supported applications and websites, and good digital citizenship.

What about students who don't have technology or WiFi?

The Board knows not all students have access to technology or WiFi and we are working on a plan to equip as many students as possible. There will be other ways for students to engage in remote learning without technology. We will share more information when we have it.

What about students with special education needs?

Staff are working to create a plan that will support all students including those with special needs. It will not look exactly like the classroom but it will consider exceptionalities. More information will be shared as it is available.

Will students still graduate in June?

The Ministry of Education has stated that students who are on track for graduating in June 2020 will not have their graduation impacted by the developments surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. 

We encourage graduates to review the Grade 12 website where students will find updates and information about graduation requirements, midterm marks, and more. Please reach out to your Guidance Counselors if you have any additional questions.

The graduation requirement to complete 40 hours of community involvement is suspended for this school year. Students can still submit volunteer hours. Contact your school Guidance Counsellor for more information. For those students who have completed their community involvement hours it will be reported on their report cards. 

The Ministry of Education continues to work with the Ministry of Colleges and Universities and sector stakeholders to ensure no student’s graduation or transition to post-secondary is jeopardized as a result of the school closure period. 

Will this impact college and university applications?

The Minister of Education is having ongoing conversations with colleges and universities regarding admissions for the fall of 2020. We anticipate that OCAS and OUAC will provide additional information about the impact on applications and notifications. There may be some delays.

Will graduation ceremonies proceed in June?

Due to COVID-19 restrictions and physical distancing requirements, the Board cannot hold large, formal graduation ceremonies as planned. We know this is disappointing news for our graduates, families, and school staff, but we must adhere to all public health directives to ensure the safety and well-being of everyone.

After consultation with student representatives, many students indicated they wanted some kind of recognition in June before students go their separate ways. As a result, secondary schools have planned various options to honour graduates and celebrate this significant accomplishment in a different way which will include a virtual graduation event on June 25 specific to each school. Schools are also planning some unique, school-specific ways to recognize their individual graduates. Every effort is being made to ensure that students are celebrated respectfully, with inclusivity and consistency in practice across the district.

Our consultations with public health indicate that given the current state of the pandemic, even with relaxed physical distancing guidelines, it is unlikely that large gatherings such as graduations will be permitted in the fall of 2020. As well, we know from students, that they would prefer recognition in June, because they may not be able to attend fall graduation ceremonies.  Secondary schools have committed to holding a graduate reception when they are able to (likely in the spring 2021), to honour and celebrate our 2020 Graduates, and to give them an opportunity to come together and celebrate as a graduating class.

 

How will graduates get their diplomas?

Diplomas and transcripts will be mailed to students directly in the fall, once schools re-open.

How do I get a copy of my high school transcript?

During the Covid-19 pandemic extended school closure, the Limestone District School Board is not able to complete requests for printed official transcripts. The Board can provide an emailed copy as well as a letter indicating that the transcript is an official transcript. Visit our websitefor more information.

What will happen with International Baccalaureate (IB) students?

All IB exams have been cancelled. IB teachers will be supporting students' ongoing learning using revised guidance/expectations from IB.

What happens to International Education students?

Current international education students still in Canada will continue their studies remotely. Because of the uncertain circumstances of this pandemic and government requirements related to international travel, we anticipate that LDSB will host fewer students than usual in 2020-2021. We will share more information when it is available.

What is the status of the Dual Credit courses?

There will be no in-person classes happening after March 23, 2020 and students are reminded not come to campus. Dual Credit classes have resumed via alternate online delivery. Students are to check their Blackboard and/or student email for details. For more information, visit the Dual Credit webpage.

What happens to co-op, apprenticeships and SHSM?

Cooperative Education courses often involve a classroom component and a community placement component. The in-person community placements are suspended. These students will work with their co-op teachers to modify their learning plans so that they may work through the curriculum expectations. 

Apprenticeships that are arranged to obtain secondary credits are suspended. The Board has not control over paid apprenticeships.

The Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) program has an override request process already in place. Graduating students in the SHSM program unable to complete their SHSM requirements due to extenuating circumstances, including the impacts from COVID-19, will be supported through the override request process.  


Will adult and continuing education continue remotely?

Adult and continuing education teachers are reaching out to current students directly, and will work with them to continue their learning remotely/virtually wherever possible.



Is Teacher Assisted Self Study (TASS) still operating?

Yes. Teacher Assisted Self Study has resumed as of April 6, 2020. Please visit the TASS webpage for details on changes to programming.

Will EQAO and the OSSLT go ahead this year?

No. The Ministry of Education has cancelled all EQAO assessments for the remainder of the school year. This affects Grade 3, 6 and 9 reading, writing and math assessments, and the Grade 10 Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT). EQAO assessments are one source of information that provides information about a student’s learning that adds to the overall picture of their progress. These assessments do not affect a student’s grades or report card in any way. For students who are graduating in June 2020, the OSSLT graduation requirement will be waived. Students who are not graduating this year (Grade 10s and 11s) will write the OSSLT during the upcoming 2020-2021 school year.

Do I still register my child for Kindergarten even though schools are closed?

Yes. You can complete a registration application online.  When schools reopen, parents/guardians will then be required to visit the school during school hours to submit the necessary documents for verification and sign the registration application. You will find a list of the documents you need as well as answers to other frequently asked questions on the Register a Student webpage. All Kindergarten Open Houses at Limestone schools have been cancelled.

Will students get report cards?

For elementary students, teachers will use formative assessment approaches to gather evidence of how students are progressing in their learning.

Secondary students will be assigned learning tasks, projects and culminating activities that will be marked by their teachers for purposes of formative and summative evaluation. Teachers will communicate results of these marked assignments to students. Results will be used by teachers to inform students’ final course marks.

School boards will issue final report cards, including the Kindergarten Communication of Learning, for all students. The requirement to issue mid-year report cards for non-graduating secondary students is suspended for this school year.

How do I stay in touch with my student's teacher?

Parents/guardians will be able to connect with teachers about their student's progress during the closure. This may look different for each student and teacher. Schools will share this information with families once it is available.

Will Gould Lake summer programs go ahead?

No. The Ontario government announced on May 19, 2020 that summer camps are to remain closed this summer. This means that the Gould Lake Outdoor Centre will not operate its 2020 summer programming. Full refunds will be provided to those who have made a deposit. Families will have received an email with information on how the refunds will be processed. If you have any questions, please email the Gould Lake office directly.
 
Technology

How do students log in to Office 365 and Google?

There is a change to how you login to the system. You will now need to use your full email address for the username (e.g. username@limestone.on.ca), then your Active Directory password for the password in order to login. This change applies to all students and staff. You will also notice some background image changes while authenticating to the Microsoft Office 365 and G-Suite web services.

How do I connect an LDSB iPad to my home Wi-Fi?

There are several steps to connect an LDSB iPad to your home Wi-Fi. Please follow this setup process.

How do I connect an LDSB Chromebook to Wi-Fi?

There are several steps to connect an LDSB Chromebook to your home Wi-Fi. Please follow this setup process.

How do I work on Google Docs, Sheets, & Slides offline?

If you are not connected to the Internet, you can still create, view, and edit files on: Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides. Please follow this setup process.

How do students prepare for video conferencing?

The LDSB supports the appropriate use of video conferencing and virtual meetings for educational purposes, with a focus on privacy and security issues. There are several steps to prepare for virtual learning sessions. Parents and guardians can support their children by following this set up process. Students, please follow this set up process.

Where can I get support if I'm having difficulty with my LDSB account or device?

Information Technology Services can access the LDSB Student & Family Technical Help Page to access help documents for guidance on common topics. If students or families encounter an issue, they should first start with their teacher(s) to ask for assistance.

How does my family receive the Government payment to help with costs of schooling from home?

The Government of Ontario announced a one-time payment of $200 per child up to 12 years of age, and $250 for those with special needs to help families pay for the extra costs associated with school and daycare closures. Learn more and how to apply.
Mental Health & Well-Being

How do I help my child who is anxious?

Children and youth may experience a range of emotions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Parents, family members, and other trusted adults can play an important role in helping children/youth make sense of what they hear in a way that provides developmentally-appropriate and factual information about the local situation and helping children/youth to feel some level of control. We can also model for children and youth the importance of compassion, caring, and collective responsibility for the wellness of those around us.

Our mental health team has assembled some resources and supports to help families and those working with children to support our students.


Where can we get information on where to access food supports?

The Food Sharing Project is working closely with other local food-providing organizations to determine how they can make the greatest positive impact, particularly for students who would normally receive food at their schools through student nutrition programs.

At this time, Food Sharing will provide additional support to existing food providers, such as the food banks in Kingston (Partners In Mission, Salvation Army, and St. Vincent de Paul), Napanee, Sydenham and Sharbot Lake. Food Sharing will be providing these agencies with food and finances to supplement food hampers for families with children. This additional support will allow these agencies to add or increase items such as dairy, eggs, protein, fresh fruits and vegetables.

Emergency food/meal programs in the City of Kingston

Emergency/food meal programs in the Counties of Frontenac & Lennox & Addington

How is the Board helping in the community?

In the spirit of working together to support our broader community the Limestone District School Board has extended its support and resources beyond our schools. 

Limestone has provided both Kingston Health Sciences Centre, Providence Care, and the Lennox & Addington County General Hospital in Napanee with a variety of cleaning supplies (disinfectant wipes and bottled sanitizer) and a loan of specialty sanitizing equipment such as our electrostatic disinfection sprayers which deliver wider coverage in hard-to-reach places — including the side, underside and backside of surfaces. 

The Ministry of Education has now asked that we work with the Ministry of Government & Consumer Services to collect any available supplies and personal protection equipment (PPE) – gloves, masks, etc. – to relocate to health and social services. 

Staff have also been regular participants in virtual meetings to coordinate supports for vulnerable families in Kingston and area. 

If you would like to support local programs, you may do so through the United Way KFL&A COVID-19 Response Fund.

Public Health

How can I protect myself and my family?

There is no vaccine, nor antiviral available to protect against the 2019 novel coronavirus. There are, however, everyday actions you can take to lower your risk of contracting or spreading COVID-19 infection, which include:  

  • washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds;  
  • avoiding touching your eyes, nose or mouth, especially with unwashed hands;  
  • avoiding close contact with people who are sick;  
  • when coughing or sneezing:  
    • cover your mouth and nose with your arm or tissues to reduce the spread of germs;  
    • immediately dispose of any tissues you have used into the garbage as soon as possible and wash your hands afterward;  
  • cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces, such as toys, electronic devices, and doorknobs; and  
  • staying home if you are sick to avoid spreading illness to others. 

Should students and staff wear masks out in public?

No. KFL&A Public Health is not recommending the general healthy public wear masks during day-to-day activities for protection against COVID-19. Masks are generally recommended for health-care workers and those who are sick to prevent others from becoming ill. 


Where can I get more information?

In any potential crisis, rumors and misinformation are quickly circulated causing unnecessary panic. We are sharing this information with you, not to cause panic, but to reassure you that we are prepared to deal with a potential outbreak in our school community. We encourage you to stay informed by checking these sources often:  

We will post new developments as they become available, and we will inform you directly if we learn of a confirmed COVID-19 case in our schools. 

 

The Limestone District School Board is situated on traditional territories of the Anishinaabe & Haudenosaunee.