June 1, 2020

Important update on recent events, COVID-19 impacts and the Ministry Review of PDSB

Dear Peel District School Board Students and Families,

This weekend, we heard urgent calls for change, both locally and around the globe. We mustn't just watch the world respond to and confront anti-Black racism. Each of us must work to alleviate injustice and to dismantle systemic discrimination in our own communities to significantly improve the experiences and outcomes of students, families and staff, including members of the Black community and others who are marginalized and underserved. This work includes eliminating anti-Black racism in our schools and worksites.

As I read online this morning, we cannot let this weekend be the only time we cared. These times continue to be heavy and painful for many, and we will be working with psychologists, and social work and mental health teams to offer support and resources for staff in the days ahead. We know that student well-being is also important, so I have encouraged all educators and support staff to check in with students, particularly those who identify as Black, Indigenous or racialized at this time.

National Indigenous History Month and Pride Month  

June 1st marks the beginning of nationally recognized Indigenous History Month and Pride Month. All schools and worksites across the Peel board will raise both the Rainbow Flag and the Treaty Partner flag of the Mississaugas of the Credit for the month of June. 

In the Peel District School Board, staff will recognize these two months, affirm all diverse gender identities and sexualities, and honour Indigenous Peoples. I am pleased that staff will be able to continue to play an important role in instilling hope in the hearts and minds of the young people in our lives, from a distance.

Re-Opening Peel schools and worksites​

These continue to be uncertain times, and many questions remain about what re-start will look like. Although we don't have all the answers yet, as we await clarification and direction from the Ministry of Education, we do want to share what we know now.
  • Health and Safety

    In the coming weeks and months, we will work with the provincial government, Peel Public Health and other health agencies, Ontario school boards, and our education partners to plan for re-opening for the next school year. I want to assure you that every precaution and action will be taken to ensure that we are well-positioned to re-open schools for learning and working in a safe, effective and equitable manner. We take this responsibility seriously and the safety of staff and students remains a key priority.

    We will share our re-opening plan for the next school year with you when it's been finalized.

  • Report Card Distribution

    Board staff have been exploring ways to share Report Cards with students/families electronically, giving consideration to privacy, security and safety. Testing is currently being conducted to ensure that this can be done while ensuring confidentiality. When testing is completed, we will confirm with staff, students and families how Report Cards will be distributed.

    Please note that paper copies will be provided at the parent/guardian's request when schools re-open next school year. Report Cards will also be filed in students' Ontario Student Record (OSRs).

  • Device Collection

    At this time, devices will only be collected from students who are leaving the Peel board, i.e. students who are graduating or transferring to another school board. Students who are staying in the Peel board for the 2020-21 school year will hold onto their devices until further notice.

    We expect device collection to take place between June 3 and 19, 2020. Schools will be in touch with you directly to arrange for a drop-off time. If there are concerns, please speak with your child/teen's school.

    If you are ill or self-isolating, and unable to retrieve personal items or drop items off during this window, please let your Principal or Vice-Principal know and flexibility will be offered.

  • Student Access to Schools to Retrieve Personal Items and Return Textbooks

    We are currently working with Peel Public Health to develop a plan that allows students/families to safely retrieve personal items during the month of June. We expect to share more information with families tomorrow. The retrieval of belongings and the collection of devices/textbooks is expected to take place between June 3 and 19, 2020. If there are concerns, please speak with your child/teen's school.

    If you are ill or self-isolating, and unable to retrieve personal items or drop items off during this window, please let your Principal or Vice-Principal know and flexibility will be offered.

  • Mental health and community supports

    You can access a number of resources to help support student, parent/guardian and staff mental health on our website. For a comprehensive list of supports available in the community, including mental health, food, financial and shelter information, view this resource created by the Peel board's Social Work Department. A list of Food Banks and Community Meal Programs in Brampton, Caledon and Mississauga is also available.

Ministry of Education Review of the Peel District School Board

I would also like to take this opportunity to update you on our work to address the directives that came out of the Ministry of Education's Review of the Peel board. At the Regular Meeting of the Board on May 26, 2020, Peel board Chair Brad MacDonald shared a written report on governance actions taken since the last Board Meeting on May 12, 2020. This report includes an update on each of the nine governance directives (1 to 8, inclusive, and 13) from the Ministry's Review that the Board of Trustees are directly responsible to address.

At the same meeting, I shared a written report on operational actions taken since May 12, 2020, with the Board of Trustees. This report reviews each of the 18 operational directives (9 to 12, and 14 to 7, inclusive) that staff are directly responsible to address.

To date, all required documentation has been submitted according to the timelines set out in the Minister's directives. On May 29, 2020, submissions were sent to the ministry on deliverables due by June 1, 2020, for directives 5, 9, 12, 16, 19 and 20. Directives 16 and 19 were revised and resubmitted, as directed in a letter from Assistant Deputy Minister Patrick Case. A submission on directive 24 will be delivered later today.

Governance and operational updates on the board's progress on the Minister of Education's directives to the Peel board can be found on www.peelschools.org/ministrydirectives.

Stay up-to-date on the board's COVID-19 response

Please continue to check www.peelschools.org/coronavirus for the most up-to-date information, including supplementary online learning resources, mental health and community supports, and regularly updated Frequently Asked Questions.

Please continue to take care of yourselves and each other.

Peter Joshua 
Director of Education
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