What Back to School Planning is Looking Like Here

By Sara-Lynne Levine August 27, 2020

I'm a planner by nature. I like lists, predictability and knowing what's coming up. So, you can imagine, all this uncertainty around back to school has been a bit stressful, not just for me, but for everyone.

Our family has several people with health issues and because of that, we have reluctantly selected the remote learning option for our youngest son, who was supposed to start high school this fall. He is not a happy fellow. Social, outgoing and athletic by nature, his high school plans are not what he or any of us could imagine. We have, however, tried to put on a brave face and are all aiming to make the best out of a lousy situation.

What we know about remote learning

  • Students in OCDSB schools have had their start date pushed back to Sept. 8 to allow for more planning time. 
  • This will look and feel different from the sudden online school from this past March. 
  • A new "virtual school" is being set up, complete with principals, vice-principals, guidance counsellors, IT and resource staff and teachers, who will all be teaching in a dedicated location (not from home). 
  • Students with IEPs will continue to be supported
  • Virtual classes will consist of students from several schools in the same grade or similar grade levels; these students will engage with each other online at specific times.
  • More remote learning info can be found here.

I admit, I'm uneasy. Am I making the right decision? Is this what's best for my kid and our family? There are no easy answers. The best thing we have done is talk... and talk... and talk some more. We are listening to all the concerns, all the feelings and doing our best to assuage fears and reassure that things will be ok. Is this how I thought things would go? Nope. Is this tough on everyone? Yup. Does this suck? Yup again.

So what to do moving forward? We've done a bit of online shopping, slowly gone through school supplies to see what we need, reorganized learning spaces and put on a brave face and read... a lot from the schools, the district and online. Staying informed is helpful and important.

As I've said before, there is no right answer. What is right for my family is probably not right for yours, and that's ok. This is where the empathy piece comes in. We all need to be kind and compassionate towards each other. Kids are going through a hard time and our job as parents is to use this as a teaching moment around kindness, awareness and understanding. 

Let's show our kids how to support people who are choosing different paths, how to be there for our friends who may be at home and not in person with their friends, who have health issues that prevent them from participating and who are all trying to acclimate to how different this school year is from any other.

Good luck - we are all in this together. 

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