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Multiple bus cancellations could happen by Thanksgiving due to driver shortages

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Sinead Fegan, communications officer for the Trillium Lakelands District School Board, and Tim Ellis, superintendent of business, have shared publicly for the first time this week that the board’s transportation suppliers are finding it difficult to recruit bus drivers for fall 2020, and that this driver shortage may create serious issues later in October.

“Yes, currently the transportation operators are having an issue with finding drivers,” Fegan wrote in an email to the Advocate.

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Learning at home, HVAC funding among challenges for TLDSB

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Distance learning may be the new reality for Ontario students

Senior staff at Trillium Lakelands Board of Education made sure trustees were aware at their regular September meeting of the challenges they’re facing — including upgrading HVAC systems.

The challenge, according to superintendent of business Tim Ellis, is that although the board received additional funding for HVAC updates of more than $500,000, boards only have eight weeks to spend it or lose it.

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Fleming College scrambles for fall students, given nearly one in three were international

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Fleming College scrambles for fall students, given nearly one in three were international

Nearly a third of Fleming College’s student body is made up of international students – a large student segment now in jeopardy due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Typically, about 6,800 students are international learners who are willing to pay hefty tuition costs to study at a Canadian post-secondary institution.

For instance, for Fleming’s well-known Fish and Wildlife Technician program, a domestic student would pay $2,085 per semester. An international student must pay $8,147 per semester.

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2020: The year of living dangerously for educational workers in Ontario

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The Israeli system, which re-opened as parts of Ontario soon will be, was forced to quickly shut down.

I cannot imagine what my former colleagues are thinking about the 2020 calendar year.

This has probably been the toughest year ever for Ontario educational workers. The public seems to have forgotten that the year began with a series of job actions by unionized educational workers from across the province hoping to convince an intransigent government to negotiate in good faith.

Teachers were winning the battle for public opinion and the government was on the back heel until COVID arrived last March throwing the school system into chaos.

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Board adopts ‘octmesters’ — 22 straight, full days of same subject

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On Aug. 20, education minister Stephen Lecce instructed all non-designated boards to plan for a blocked semester school day for secondary schools. At the August 25 board meeting the Trillium Lakelands District School Board presented their new secondary school day structure along with voting mandatory masking for all students K-12.

Blocked semesters, also known as octmesters, will replace the quadmesters originally planned by the local board. Quadmesters were the option presented to parents earlier in August for their consideration as they and their children made decisions about whether their children would select in-person learning or remote learning.

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Catholic principals join call for slower re-opening

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Catholic principals join call for slower re-opening
“This will afford principals, vice-principals and staff to better prepare for the start of a new school year.”

The Catholic Principals Council of Ontario, representing administrators working for the Peterborough, Victoria, Northumberland and Clarington School Board, added their voices late last week to a call by public board principals represented by the Ontario Principals Council to keep schools shuttered across Ontario for one more week as staff prepare for schooling in the age of COVID.

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TLDSB commits $4 million from reserve to cover COVID expenses

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Local trustees approved the spending of up to $4 million of their financial reserve to cover COVID related expenses for the 2020-2021 school year.

The board voted unanimously “to access surplus funds up to 2 per cent of the board operating budget to come from the surplus to be used at the discretion of senior management.”

At the same meeting the board announced a $220 million dollar budget with a $995,000 deficit for the 2020-2021 school year.

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What the first day of school will look like, elementary and secondary

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Wes Hahn, director of education for the Trillium Lakelands District School Board, began to share with trustees last Tuesday at a Special Meeting of the Board what opening day for students is going to look like.

School signage

Signage is current being installed at all schools to indicate what access doors are locked and unlocked and what direction students are to walk in the halls.

Cleaning

“Enhanced cleaning” of facilities is planned for morning, mid-day and evening each school day. Hahn praised the “passion and commitment to making this work” shown by custodial staff right across the board.

Length of in-school day

300 minutes of learning time have been mandated by the province.

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85 per cent of local parents sending their kids back to school

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“There are limited buses available. There is also a driver shortage.”

At a Special Meeting of the Trillium Lakelands District School Board, director of education Wes Hahn said that the vast majority of parents have opted to return their children to regular full day learning beginning September 8.

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Ontario principals ask for more time for school openings

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The Ontario Principals’ Council (OPC) that represents over 5,000 school leaders in public elementary and secondary schools across the province has asked for more time to get their schools ready for opening in September.

Schools across Ontario are slated to be open Sept. 8, but the OPC, in a press release shared late last week, has recommended that the start of the school year be delayed until September 14 “to allow staff the time to train on matters such as PPE, outbreak management and tracing protocols.”

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