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

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Octoblocks: Trustees hear pros and cons of 22 days of only one class

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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Supply teachers will not be confined to just one school when students return in fall

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Octoblocks: Trustees hear pros and cons of 22 days of only one class
“Staff and student safety are paramount, but folks have to make an income," says Hahn.

Moving from school to school is something supply teachers (or occasional teachers) have always done, as they work to fill in the gaps in the system. It will continue to be an expectation of supply teachers, even during the pandemic – a reality that so far, the province seems willing to ignore.

The initial investigations of deaths at long-term care homes in Ontario pointed strongly to part time staff working at multiple facilities as a key part of the problem with virus spread.

Staff members acted as vectors for the novel coronavirus, carrying it from one facility to the next.

In an interview with Trillium Lakelands District School Board director of education, Wes Hahn, he said the board was “just starting to look at this issue.”

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Board re-opening plan faces trustee scrutiny

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Wes Hahn, the newly minted director of education for Trillium Lakelands School Board, presented to trustees an update on the board’s re-opening plan for Sept. 8 but faced a multitude of questions from the trustees who were present.

This included questions about bus safety, cafeteria protocols, upgrading HVAC systems, social distancing plans, and much more.

“We are living in unprecedented times,” Hahn began, “and we will try to present to you the most current information that we have.”

Hahn said they met for two hours with the deputy minister of education last week and believe a good foundation is in place. Keep Reading

Trustees opt for ‘fresh face and new ideas’ with incoming director of education

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Trustees opt for ‘fresh face and new ideas’ with incoming director of education

Many board of education watchers were pleasantly surprised when Trillium Lakelands District School Board trustees chose Wes Hahn as the new director of education.

Hahn hails from the District School Board of Niagara, a progressive board where he was known for his hands-on approach and frequent visits to schools.

Niagara board chair, Sue Barnett, says Trillium Lakelands will be fortunate to have him.

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