Further Information on the reopening of PVNC Secondary Schools

Aug. 19, 2020

Dear Parents/Guardians of secondary students, 

A number of inquiries and concerns have come into the board related to the decision to re-open secondary schools and the reasons and implications for the particular model designated at Peterborough Victoria Northumberland and Clarington (PVNC) Catholic District School Board. 

From the outset, our primary concern has been the health and safety of all of our students and staff. 

The model with which we are reopening our secondary schools is based on the Ministry of Education directive that we are to open in a conventional model with all students returning to school every day in both elementary and secondary schools. In secondary schools, we have been directed to plan for student-to-student contacts of no more than 100. This means that we cannot run the usual four-period day in two semesters. Instead, we are using a quadmester approach which means that the year will be divided into four blocks of approximately 48 days each, with students taking two subjects in each quadmester. By mid-November, the first two subjects would be completed and the next two would commence. 

The dates of the four quadmesters are as follows:

  • Quadmester 1 – Sept. 8 to Nov. 11
  • Quadmester 2 – Nov. 12  to Jan. 29
  • Quadmester 3 – Feb. 2 to April 21
  • Quadmester 4 – April 22 to June 29


Within this model, we have elected to have students take the first subject all day on one day, alternating with the other subject all day on the next. As stated earlier, our primary concern remains the health and safety of all of our students and staff. An important factor in our decision is that it is not possible to clean all of the classrooms in a high school between classes if they were to occur on the same day. This can be accomplished overnight.  To create a long enough break to clean all of the classrooms, even with extra custodial support, would potentially have students mingling at school or off-site in larger groups and this, we believe, creates an unacceptable risk. This is the primary reason for our decision. So a single class will remain together with their teacher for the entire day. 

Further to this, each day would be structured so that there would be a variety of teaching and learning activities in the one subject throughout the day. There will be three scheduled breaks of 20 minutes each, for fresh air and nutrition, as well as other short breaks and mental health support activities as needed. One teacher was quoted as saying, “It’s exciting to think of the possibilities of what could be accomplished with a group of students with a full day to focus on the learning and reinforcement of new concepts in one subject area.” 

We believe this is the best model for the secondary students of PVNC and we are committed to working with them for their success, which is always our main focus. There will be a bit of an adjustment, but we are confident that students will adapt quickly. 

For those who choose online or remote learning, the Ministry of Education has set expectations that teachers of these programs will be online with their students for 225 minutes per day. Guidance personnel will work with students and parents to select appropriate and available elearning courses.  

If students and parents wish to move from in-person attendance to online learning, or from online learning to in-person attendance, it will only be possible at one of the three re-entry points –  November 12, February 2, or April 22. 

In accordance with Ministry of Education consultations, students at PVNC will begin school this year in a staggered entry approach. Final details are being worked out and will be communicated to families early in the week of Aug. 24. 

Finally, we have been fielding many questions from families and today have released a newly revised Return to School Parent/Guardian FAQ.

A reminder, that the deadline to fill out our PVNC Return to School Registration Form is tomorrow at 4 p.m. 

We hope this message helps in understanding the model for return to school and assists with your decision-making. 

 

Sincerely, 

Michael Nasello
Director of Education