Public Health Information

Covid-19 & Distance Learning Information for Families

The Linden School building is currently closed. We are offering distance learning, pending further notice from government and health agencies.

Click Here to Read the March 19, 2020 Toronto Public Health Email to School Community Members

Scroll down for more FAQs.


March 26, 2020 
Update from Janice Gladstone:

Dear Linden Families,

We were disappointed, but not surprised, to hear that schools in Ontario would not reopen on April 6th. Teachers and students have been working hard to keep the learning going at Linden: sharing videos and activities; communicating by email and through online classrooms, and getting together for virtual meetings. The faculty and staff continue to work together to plan as much “normal” as we can for our students and their families in this time of great change and uncertainty. We thank you for helping us in this process, by adjusting with your daughters, by sharing feedback, and with the many offers of support we have received. We are so grateful for this outstanding community, and are committed to keeping it thriving.

As we have researched and experimented, we have been able to clarify some of our distance learning procedures: 

What will each student’s schedule look like in the coming weeks?

After a lot of research, discussion, and planning, we believe that the best approach to take with Linden students is through a mix of synchronous and asynchronous distance learning. What that means: teachers will post tasks that students can do independently on their own time, and also plan virtual meetings where classes get together. These will vary by age and class, as is appropriate. Tomorrow (Friday, March 27th) we will share a link to a collective schedule that students can begin referring to on Monday, to show them when these things will happen. (Scheduled activities already sent by teachers for this week can be followed until then.) Clicking on the links within the calendar will lead directly to virtual meetings. Independent work will be shared via email, Google Classroom, or Canvas, depending on the course.

How will the school know if a student is “present” or “absent”?

Teachers will be keeping track of how and when they engage with their students, and adding that data to a collective document. That will help us track who is able to work on virtual assignments, and who needs extra support. The school will be in touch if we are concerned about a student’s engagement. Please note that we understand that some students are experiencing circumstances that make engagement more difficult, and we are taking a flexible approach.

What should a family do if things aren’t working?

We think our most important task right now is listening and responding. We understand that different families have different needs and resources, and have tried to accommodate for as many of these as possible. If you are not able to access something you need, please let us know. We will do our best to work things out!

Can non-Linden students join in the distance learning being offered?

We understand that some Ontario students are receiving distance learning resources at this time, and that some are not. In the interests of our students’ privacy and our teachers’ resources, we are not able to invite non-Linden students to attend our virtual classes. So, please do not share Zoom or Google Hangouts Meet links with others. Teachers may be willing to share written and video resources that they have created. Please reach out to the teacher who created it for permission to share, if you receive something that you think others in your circles would find useful. As the situation evolves, we are actively looking for ways to support the wider community, as we believe equitable access to education is one of the most important social justice principles.

How will marks or credits be awarded? Is graduation in jeopardy?

No student will be put in danger of failing a course as a result of the closure, and all students slated to graduate in June will still do so. The OSSLT is cancelled this year, but this will not impede graduation. As of today, we have not heard anything about volunteer hours. We are awaiting direction from the Ministry about this and other specifics, and will communicate more detail as we are informed.

Online conversations with Janice and faculty members for parents:

An online version of Java with Janice will be offered more frequently during the school closure. Java with Janice is an informal get together with parents of students similar in age. The first of these conversations will be offered early next week, and you will receive a separate email with details. 

The school building is now closed per the latest directive from the Government of Ontario.

According to the Ministry, no one--staff or students--may enter the building until we hear otherwise from the Ministry of Health. We have made significant efforts to assist those in need of musical instruments or technology while assuring everyone’s safety. Once the situation changes we will update you as quickly as possible. 

Here are a few links we found interesting and useful this week:

Collective Vulnerability, the FFTs of Online Learning, and the Sacredness of Bored Kids

'Let Yourself Off the Hook': Advice for Teachers and Parents During COVID-19

That Discomfort You're Feeling Is Grief

We will be in touch again soon.

Sincerely,

Janice Gladstone
Principal


March 22, 2020
Message from Janice Gladstone: Toronto Public Health & Distance Learning Update + New FAQs

Dear Linden Community Members,

Please see the important reminders below from Toronto Public Health, as well as some updates of our own. We have also posted FAQs on our website (scroll down to read them).

Distance Learning 

Teachers are working hard preparing to start Distance Learning on Tuesday, and we look forward to reconnecting with students. Each teacher will organize times with their classes and those times will be based on Linden’s school day schedule. We will be mindful not to keep students glued to their computers all day long. Our aim is to find a healthy balance between working on their own and having enough virtual class time to feel connected to their teachers and to each other. Class structure will be appropriate to the grade and subject. 

Virtual Java with Janice

For parents, we will continue to offer Java with Janice, an opportunity to connect with faculty and staff as well as parents from your daughter’s grade. These will be held online for now, and dates will be announced very soon.

Technology Survey

Many thanks to all who have completed our survey to help us understand families’ available technology for distance learning. If you haven’t yet, please take a moment to complete the survey, and if you didn’t receive it, please email beth@lindenschool.ca

High School Credits for Senior Students

The Ministry of Education has advised that high school students will earn their credits as long as we deliver the requisite number of hours of learning. We will ensure that this happens.

Toronto Public Health Update

Please read the important information below from Toronto Public Health:

COVID-19 is a serious public health issue. Recently, all levels of government have put a number of measures in place to help reduce the spread of this disease. On March 17, 2020, the Premier of Ontario declared a state of emergency in Ontario in recognition of the seriousness of the situation.

We are asking members of our school community — students, parents, staff, volunteers and others — to do their part in helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19 by doing the following:

Social distancing: This is limiting physical interactions with others, and is especially important to protect those who are elderly or have a pre-existing health condition. Please visit the TPH website for more details on social distancing.

Self-isolate: If you have returned from travelling anywhere outside of Canada, including the United States, you must self isolate for 14 days after you return home.  Please visit the TPH website for more details on self-isolation.

Self-monitor: If you develop symptoms of COVID-19 (e.g. fever, cough, difficulty breathing), call Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000 or your primary care provider’s office (before visiting). Utilize the Ministry of Health's self-assessment tool to determine if you need to seek care.

This situation is changing rapidly, and the best way to stay informed is through our website at www.toronto.ca/COVID19. You will find resources on many topics as well as the City of Toronto's daily media briefings. 

Thank you for your assistance in helping us to reduce the spread of COVID-19. If you have any questions, please email Toronto Public Health at publichealth@toronto.ca.

Sincerely,

Janice Gladstone
Principal


Temporary School Closure FAQs for Families

Updated March 20, 2020

During this temporary school closure, all of us at Linden are working hard to assure the health and well-being of our students, the continuation of our students’ education, and to uphold our commitment to Linden’s values.   We have prepared the following FAQs to address concerns during this time. If you have further questions, please email jean@lindenschool.ca.

ACADEMIC

How will distance learning be implemented?

Beth Alexander, our curriculum and instructional leader, is working closely with faculty to develop teaching resources and guidelines for at-home learning during our closure. In all of these plans, we will keep in mind equity considerations, especially for those who might face challenges accessing technology. Families should have received a survey about this. Please expect more information on distant learning from your child’s teachers by Tuesday, March 24th.

Will students be at risk of not graduating?

This two-week closure will not impact student graduation. We will re-evaluate this, should the situation change.

Will third-term exams or assignments be postponed?

This two-week closure will not impact exams and assignments. We will re-evaluate this, should the situation change.

What about the OSSLT?

The Ontario Ministry of Education has announced that the OSSLT is cancelled this year, in order to reduce the burden on students in these extraordinary circumstances. The Ministry assures us that this will not impede graduation.

Will this impact third-term reports to be postponed?

At this time, with current timelines, we would expect third-term reports to go home as scheduled at the end of June. However, should the situation change, we will need to re-evaluate timelines.

My current mark is low and I was looking to improve it before the mid-term marks are in. Will this closure impact my marks?

Please discuss this with your individual teacher.

What supports are available for our students with Individualized Education Program (IEPs)?

We are currently working with the Leadership Team and will share more information when it becomes available on Tuesday, March 24th. If you have any specific questions please refer to your daughters’ teachers.

UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS

Will this impact college and university applications?

We do not believe there will be an impact, however, it's best that you check with your university’s admissions office.

ATHLETICS

Will athletic practices and tournaments continue to take place?

During our school closure, we will suspend all athletic activities and events, including practice. More information will be provided once we have had a chance to consult with our partner schools. The fencing workshop has been postponed.

FIELD TRIPS/TRAVEL

Will you cancel field-trips and travel?

We are cancelling or postponing out-of-province school excursions to the end of April, including the Copenhagen trip. This is being communicated directly to affected staff, students and families. We will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as information becomes available. As the COVID-19 situation continues to change and widen, it’s our obligation to take steps to ensure the health and safety of our students and staff. We hope our school is able to reschedule some of these planned field trips once the situation improves. 

BUILDING

What kind of cleaning is happening at Linden?

It is part of our normal operating procedures to implement a thorough cleaning and sanitizing of the building over March Break. Although we have no reason to believe that our premises have been exposed to COVID-19, this year we implemented additional cleaning measures and enhanced protocols for entering and leaving the building until school reopens to assure building safety. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Cleaning of all germs, dirt, and impurities from surfaces or objects. 
  • Cleaning using soap, detergent or bleach and water to physically remove germs from surfaces.
  • Wiping down walls and ceilings. 
  • The use of disinfecting wipes on electronic items that are touched often, phones, computers, etc. 

SCHOOL CLOSURE

How will The Linden School decide when to reopen the school? How far ahead will this be communicated?

The Linden School will reopen when Toronto Public Health deems it safe to do so. 

How will families be notified of any changes to the current plan?

We will continue to update families by email.

COVID-19 INFO

Where can I get more information about the novel coronavirus?

Government of Canada

Toronto Public Health

Toronto Region COVID-19 Assessment Centres

Useful article: Social Distancing: This is Not a Snow Day

Thank you, again, for your flexibility and patience during these difficult and uncertain times.


March 20, 2020
Message from Janice Gladstone: Distance Learning During School Closure

Dear Linden Community Members,

I hope everyone is safe and well. I wanted to update you on a few of the initiatives my colleagues and I have been working on over the break to assure the health and well-being of our students, our students’ education, and our commitment to Linden’s values.

I have been connecting with colleagues running schools around the globe. They are in various stages of dealing with similar school situations to us. Because we are behind other places with respect to outbreaks of the illness, we are the beneficiaries of their earlier experiences. One of my colleagues in Beijing has been running his school online for eight weeks now and shared all kinds of insights. I have also received word from the Ministry of Education regarding credit acquisition for senior students. The good news is that as long as we deliver the requisite number of hours of learning, our high school students will earn their credits. Based on what I have learned from my colleagues, I expect us to be able to deliver meaningful learning opportunities and also help our students remain connected with their classmates.

How We Will Do Linden Virtual Learning

Over the break, we have been working hard to ensure the continuation of your daughters’ learning in the best way possible. You will have already received a survey from Beth Alexander, our lead STEM teacher and Curriculum Leader, who is leading the implementation of distance learning. This will be implemented appropriately for each grade and class. Teachers will regroup for final planning on March 23rd, and each teacher will begin communicating with their classes on March 24th. In grades JK to 3, teachers will communicate via parent email addresses, and in grades 4 and up, teachers will use student email addresses.

Student Support

Our guidance leader, Elana Moscovitch, is busy preparing some links to online support materials, and some suggestions for parents to assist them in easing children’s anxiety and facilitating conversations about behaviour changes and coping strategies during this time when schools and many other supports and resources are not available.

Operations

It is part of our normal operating procedures to implement a thorough cleaning and sanitizing of the building over March Break. Although we have no reason to believe that our premises have been exposed to COVID-19, this year we are implementing additional cleaning measures and enhanced protocols for entering and leaving the building until school reopens to assure building safety.

We are developing an FAQ document that will soon be added to the information on our website, which includes useful links to Toronto Public Health’s updates and Government of Canada Advisories. (see below)

We are living in interesting times and have many choices to make. I am choosing to be optimistic and to embrace this as an opportunity for us to engage in new ways as families, learners, and citizens. We have been plunked unceremoniously onto an incredibly steep learning curve due to which we either grow or become overwhelmed. We can take a few deep breaths and embrace it all together. In our community, we find great strength.

Sincerely,

Janice Gladstone
Principal


March 12, 2020
Important Message to Linden Community Members

Soon after we sent you the Thursday, March 12 letter from Toronto Public Health (TPH), we heard breaking news that the Ontario government is closing all publicly funded schools across the province for two weeks following March break in an effort to contain COVID-19

Although independent schools are not mentioned in this news, the same risk of transmission applies to our school community when families and students return from March break related travel.

Given these developments, we have decided that The Linden School will remain closed for a further two weeks after March break, until Monday, April 5th, 2020, pending further risk assessment and notice from government and health agencies. 

We recognize this step will cause a great deal of inconvenience to our community members. We will do our best to mitigate the situation and ensure the continuity of operations and learning. We have been preparing for this temporary school closure and will share our plans for distance learning by the week of March 23rd once faculty return from March Break. 

Monday, March 23rd will be a planning day for teachers and we hope to implement distance learning by Tuesday, March 24th.

These are remarkable circumstances not just for us at Linden but also for the entire world. We will face this challenge with care, concern, and a commitment to the safety and well-being of our community.

Thank you for working with us through this evolving situation that impacts our entire community. 

Sincerely,

Janice Gladstone
Principal



General Information for Families