COVID-19 Update 7: Director General Announcement for Staff and Schools
Updated: Sunday, April 5, 2020 @ 3:55 P.M.
TO ALL EMSB STAKEHOLDERS: STUDENTS, STAFF, PARENTS AND COMMUNITY MEMBERS
I hope you are all keeping safe and well! As we enter our fourth week of school closures, I write to wish you all well and to bring to your attention the new educational materials and supports that will be available this week.
MINISTRY OF EDUCATION WEEKLY LEARNING ACTIVITIES
As mentioned in previous Communiqués, the Ministry of Education will provide school boards with weekly learning kits (trousses d’apprentissage hebdomadaires). These grade level learning kits will be provided to the teachers, who will adapt or modify them to meet the needs of the students in their class.
This week’s learning kits will be sent to parents by Tuesday.
School Principals will work with their school teams to ensure that every student receives a call from at least one of their teachers weekly. Beyond being an academic check-in, the purpose of these calls is to ensure that the student and their family is doing well during these difficult times. Student Services professionals and other school resource and professional staff will also contact parents and students with whom they had been working prior to the school closure.
Parents and students can access the MEES Weekly Learning Kits by clicking on the dark blue link at the top of the page on the new online educational space.
NEW ADDITIONS TO THE EMSB WEBSITE
The new weekly activities prepared by the Educational Services and Students Services Departments of the EMSB for Pre-k to Grade 11 will be added every Monday. New activities for students in the Competency Based Approach to Social Participation (CASP) program as well as activities for students with special needs have also been added. These are available on our new online educational space accessed on the EMSB main page by clicking on the green link.
Also on our online educational space you will find a tab entitled We’re Here to Help where parents can find tips to support their children.
Many parents have expressed their regret that school materials cannot be retrieved from the school buildings as they would like their children to have their textbooks and workbooks at home during the closure. As such, the EMSB has made contact with several of our educational suppliers and have made arrangements for some textbooks and workbooks to be made available in PDF via the EMSB Website. As such, QEP-based content is now available. This includes online textbooks, online workbooks and other online subscriptions with easy access.
For elementary students, all math workbooks currently used in our system are now accessible through our new online educational space by clicking on the dark blue QEP-Based Content link at the top of the page.
Math Help Services, which is a set of detailed video lessons aligned with the Quebec high school program, is now available for free to all high school students. This resource is now accessible through our new online educational space by clicking on the dark blue QEP-Based Content link at the top of the page.
We are in the process of adding other subject area resources. These should be available throughout the week.
Some parents expressed that some of the best learning sites require a subscription and payment in order to obtain a username and passwords. As such, the EMSB contacted many of the website administrators and negotiated with them. We are delighted to inform you that many of these sites will be available to our students and parents for the next 90 days for free. We thank those website administrators for their collaboration and generosity. The usernames and passwords have been added underneath each resource link which can be found in the virtual library space and various subject areas.
For resources requiring the student’s EMSB username and password, please click here to fill out a request form if your child did not receive it at the beginning of the year.
FOOD AND NUTRITION
While everyone’s daily life has been disrupted during the COVID-19 pandemic, the financial impact on those who are currently unable to work or who have lost their employment is particularly significant. In an attempt to lessen the impact on the hardest-hit families, Food Banks and Community Organizations across the island of Montreal are available to help by providing food / nutritional support.
Principals will send a list of these resources to parents. This list includes a hotline number for various services, a link to all Food Banks and Community Organizations across the island and a list by district.
The memo also states that the EMSB wants to do its part to help ensure that our students have sufficient food / nutrition during this period of school closure. As such, Principals are in a position to be able to supplement what the community organizations and food banks can provide by ensuring that some additional meals are provided to students in serious need. For more information, please do not hesitate to contact your child’s Principal or EMSB Food Services by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
The EMSB continues to provide emergency daycare services to the children of employees in the very essential service sectors. As of this week, there will be four such daycare service centres: at Westmount Park South (at St-J-Bosco), at St-Monica, at Cedarcrest and at Dante. Due to few registrants, the daycare at Elizabeth Ballantyne will be closed.
I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to these daycare teams (Principals, Technicians, Educators and Caretakers) who are keeping the emergency services open. I appreciate the work that you do and the sacrifices that you are making – such that the doctors, nurses and other essential workers are able to go to work because they know that their children are being well looked after in your capable and caring hands. Thank you for your selflessness in stepping up to help others in these challenging days!
There are so MANY EMSB employees who deserve our gratitude. EMSB employees work days, nights and on weekends, behind the scenes, to provide services to our employees, parents, students and community. These include, but are not limited to:
- Those in Finance, Human Resources, Material Resources and other service departments, as well as the administrative and office staff teams in our Schools and Centres, who keep the payroll running and external invoices paid – which allows our suppliers and partners to pay their own employees and suppliers;
- Our central office team – especially Educational Services, Student Services, IT & Communications, Daycares Services and Food / Nutrition Services, who are doing their utmost to provide educational and auxiliary services to EMSB students and parents;
- School teams including Principals, Teachers, Support and Professional staff who are connecting directly with our students and their parents and responding as well as they can to their needs;
- Our schools may be closed and our central board employees may generally be working from home, but the EMSB is still very present in our English community and we are without a doubt doing our part during this COVID-19 crisis. So thank you to ALL involved!
- I also want to thank the EMSB Parents’ Committee for sharing their concerns with me and then inviting me to join their meeting last Thursday by ZOOM to begin to address them. I specifically want to thank Caroline Phaneuf, EMSB PC Chairman, for her leadership and collaboration.
I recognize that this COVID-19 crisis is difficult for everyone and it is easy to become frustrated. Having said that, I would like to thank those who have taken the time to send encouraging thoughts and messages to our employees via Facebook and other social media platforms. We read all Facebook comments and your words of appreciation and respectful suggestions are very helpful. More than ever, we must work as a team – school, home and community.
With that in mind, I conclude, and until my next communiqué, please:
Wash your hands often,
If you must go out, ensure appropriate social distances,
And don’t forget to call those who are alone or vulnerable.