Dear International Students and Parents,
I hope that you are all well in this challenging and uncertain time.
The Province and the District continue to adapt student learning to ensure that all students will be able to continue their studies online until schools reopen, and if necessary, for the remainder of the school year.
Yesterday the Minister of Education, Stephen Lecce, announced that the closure period has been extended. This means that schools will not reopen before May 4th for students. There remains the possibility for future extension of the closure period. It is important for families to be aware that there continues to be a great deal of uncertainty and that we are following the guidance of our Health Officials. The province and the OCDSB are adapting to this unprecedented situation to ensure that all students have the opportunity to complete the school year through e-learning and distance learning even if schools do not reopen. I have copied the Director's recent letter to students for the parents who may not have seen it below. In it the Director describes two phases of adjustment that the province has introduced for school districts to follow across Ontario.
We are in phase 1 now until April 5th. This phase is a period of adjustment that includes some online learning opportunities; time for teachers to connect with students; and time to prepare more detailed learning plans for phase 2. Google classroom, D2L (Desire to Learn) and VLE (Virtual Learning Environment) are the main online learning platforms that will be used in phase 2.
For international students who have decided to remain in Canada, the online learning platforms will be accessible and easy to join since there will be no time zone difference. Students who have returned home for the remainder of the school year will also be able to access online learning. For countries where there is a significant time difference or where access to online learning platforms may be difficult, accommodations will be made for students to complete their courses from a distance using other learning strategies and tools.
We have considered the various needs and circumstances of our diverse population of international learners so that none will lose out on completing this school year and earning necessary credits and/or co-validation as a result of the school closures.
There is still the possibility that schools might open again before June and should that happen, students who have returned home would NOT need to come back to Ottawa to complete their year. Flight restrictions will make travel between countries and a return to Ottawa very difficult for the foreseeable future. For this reason, students planning to return next September should consider staying in Ottawa over the summer and doing some summer courses online.
Students who are unable to take advantage of the opportunity to continue their studies online are asked to formally withdraw from their school. To do so, parents are asked to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to say that they are formally withdrawing their child from school. Parents are asked to include their full name and their child's full name and the name of their school in Ottawa in your email. If students are unable to take advantage of the online learning, parents can submit an application for a partial refund of fees which will be formally reviewed and assessed on a case by case basis. Parents who wish to apply for a refund can request a refund application form through their agent or to email@example.com if no agent is supporting you.
Next week students will receive more details from their teachers as to how their learning will continue. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for your patience and understanding during this difficult time.
Director, Ottawa International Student Programs
Ottawa-Carleton District School Board