Archive | August, 2020

A message from our YRDSB Trustee David Sherman

31 Aug

As we begin a rather different start to the school year, I want to take this opportunity to welcome all new and returning students and families. Whether you are returning to school in person or participating in remote, online learning, we look forward to welcoming you into safe, inclusive and engaging learning spaces. 

Staff members have been working hard over the summer months with the Ministry of Education and public health experts to develop a reopening plan that prioritizes the health, safety and well-being of our students and ensures that important health and safety measures are in place. 

Please know that whatever learning model you chose, we will continue to provide your children with high quality education, and to support their learning, achievement and well-being. Our school staff are prepared to help your child transition back into our learning environments, and we will continue to partner with families to support your child’s success. 

We know that families have many questions about what to expect as their children return to school. You can find information about what to expect at the start of the school year on the Board website, including frequently asked questions that you may find helpful at

As your school board trustee, it is my role to advocate for quality public education in York Region, and to ensure that our students remain at the centre of all of our decision making. The Board of Trustees makes policy and budget decisions, and communicates with the public, among other responsibilities

We are also responsible for setting direction for the school board, through our Multi-Year Strategic Plan. This plan sets out four priorities: Foster Well-Being and Mental Health, Build Collaborative Relationships, Champion Equity and Inclusivity, and Empower Ethical Leadership. 

The relationship that we have with families is important, and I will continue to keep you informed of our work and priorities. You can also find the message from the Chair of the Board on the Board’s website. You are welcome to contact me if you have any questions or concerns. 

I hope you have a great start to the school year and wish you a happy, healthy and successful year ahead. 

School re-opening- important info from the YRDSB Director of Education

28 Aug

Dear elementary school families, 

We look forward to welcoming students back to school, whether they are attending in person or participating in online learning. Following updates from the Ministry of Education, we are sharing some additional information about the start of the school year and elementary school classrooms. 

Supported Entry 

The Ministry of Education is allowing school boards to stagger the return to school during the first two weeks of school. This will give school staff additional time to prepare the school for your child’s return and give students time to learn and practice new health and safety measures in smaller groups. Welcoming students back in smaller groups will enable educators to better help students transition back to school and to new school routines. 


You will receive information from your child’s school by September 2, 2020with specifics regarding attendance associated with last names. In determining groups, consideration will be given to siblings, transportation, and before and after care programming. While unlikely, please note that in the event of unforeseen or emergency circumstances, these start dates may change – if this occurs, we will notify you immediately. 

Grades 1-8

  • Students will start school onThursday,September 10 orFriday, September 11, 2020.  
  • Students will be divided into two groups by last name alphabetically and go to school on alternate days for the first four days (i.e. your child will attend school on September 10 and 14 or September 11 and 15). 
  • All students in Grades 1-8 will begin attending school every day on Wednesday, September 16.  
  • All students in a community class, with the exception of gifted community classes, will be invited to attend all day, every day beginning on September 10th.  Students in gifted community classes will attend in cohorted groups.

You will receive information from your child’s school by September 2, 2020with specifics regarding attendance associated with last names. In determining groups, consideration will be given to siblings, transportation, and before and after care programming. While unlikely, please note that in the event of unforeseen or emergency circumstances, these start dates may change – if this occurs, we will notify you immediately. 

Remote/Virtual Learning

The first day of virtual learning will be Thursday, September 10, 2020.

Elementary Class Sizes

The Ministry of Education is allowing school boards to access reserve funds to lower elementary class sizes. We are attempting to minimize class sizes in elementary schools as much as possible with the space and funds we can access.  The Board is allocating $15.25 million to hire additional teachers and educational assistant support. More information on class sizes will be available as the timetabling process concludes. 

Lunch and Recess

Students will remain with their class cohort throughout the day, including for recess and lunch to limit student contacts. Students are encouraged to stay at school for lunch. For additional information about what to expect in elementary school classrooms, please see the Board’s website at

Remote/Virtual Learning

For students attending school fully online:

  • Kindergarten students will have a minimum of 180 minutes a day out of a 300-minute day of real-time, live (synchronous) learning with a teacher. Any remaining time will be asynchronous (not live) learning. 
  • Grades 1-8 students will have a minimum of 225 minutes out of a 300-minute day of real-time, live (synchronous) learning with a teacher. Any remaining time will be asynchronous (not live) learning. 
  • Learning will follow the Ontario curriculum and follow teaching patterns similar to a regular classroom such as small and large group learning opportunities, with students engaging with their teacher and classmates. 
  • Students will receive a daily schedule or timetable that includes breaks and time for lunch.  
  • We are working to finalize plans to provide French Immersion and specialty course programming in remote/virtual learning.  While we remain cautiously optimistic, given the changing context and focus on maintaining health and safety protocols, we cannot provide a guarantee at this time on specialty optional programs. However, if its provision is not possible this year, this will not negatively affect their attendance in the program the following 2021-22 school year. We will update you as soon as possible.

Additional Information 

  • We will support transitions between the two models (remote online learning and in-person learning) as space allows. However, families requesting a transition between online learning and face-to-face learning may be required to wait for a specific entry point, such as the end of a reporting period.  
  • Supporting students with special education needs is a priority in both learning models. Special education staff will continue to support students in both models. 
  • Students in Grades 4-8 are required to wear non-medical or cloth masks. It is strongly recommended that students in Kindergarten to Grade 3 wear non-medical or cloth masks. 
  • On a daily basis, parents/guardians of students under 18 and students over 18 are responsible to review and adhere to the checklist from York Region Public Health
  • For more information on health and safety measures, please visit the Board website.  
  • Earlier today, the Ministry of Education released its COVID-19 Management in Schools Guide. We will be reviewing this information and updating our plans. We will share additional information as it becomes available.   

We know that families have many questions about the return to school, and we will continue to share information with you as it becomes available and to share information, videos and resources on our Board website at Please also read this letter from the Minister of Education. In addition to ongoing direct messaging and information posted to our website, we are planning a virtual town hall for families on September 2, 2020 from 5:00-6:30 p.m. If you have a question you would like us to answer during the virtual town hall, please submit them via the online form. The livestream link will be available on the Board website

We look forward to welcoming you back to school.

Louise Sirisko

Director of Education

Financial Support Available for families of children returning back to school (apply by Aug. 31)

28 Aug

Good Afternoon,

This information is regarding a one time financial support for parents of children returning back to school.  Parents need to apply for their children by August 31st to receive the $200 support.

Parents, please follow the link to receive a one time financial support of $200 for each of your children that are returning back to school.

Should you require any assistance or need further information, please contact:

Oksana Majaski at 416-568-2252 or Community Partnership Developer, ISCS

Thinking about September…here’s what to bring to school.

20 Aug

Dear Brownridge Families,

For families who are sending their children back to school in person, we know you are starting to think about what your child will need when they start back at school.

Masks – Students from Grade 4 to 8 are required to wear non-medical or cloth masks to school. Students from Kindergarten to Grade 3 are encouraged, but not required to wear these masks.  Students who do not bring their own masks will be provided one by the school.  Consider bringing your child with you to pick out their masks.  They are more likely to want to wear the mask if it is comfortable and has a design that they like.  We suggest bringing multiple masks to school so that they can be changed partway through the day.  If possible, please label the masks with your child’s name so they aren’t mixed up with those of other students.  Plastic face shields are not a suitable replacement for cloth masks that cover the mouth and nose. It is highly recommended that masks are washed each evening in preparation for the next day.

School Supplies – We strongly encourage students to bring their own labelled school supplies (pencil, pen, coloured pencils, scissors, ruler, glue stick, protractor(gr.4-8)) to avoid possible virus/germ spread by sharing these items. Teachers will provide notebooks, binders, etc. If possible, students are encouraged to bring in their own set of school supplies in a pencil box or pencil case that can be kept in/on their desk.  Students who do not bring in their own school supplies will be provided with supplies.

Water Bottles – Students should bring their own water bottle that can be filled at our fill stations. All water bottles should be labelled.

Lunch / Thermos – This year, parents/guardians WILL NOT be able to drop off lunches during the school day. There also will not be a hot lunch program this year (e.g. pizza, chicken fingers/pasta).  Students must bring their lunches and snacks with them to school.  There will be no access to a microwave for students to heat up their foods. Please start brainstorming what types of foods you can send with your child that they will want to eat.  Consider using a thermos that will keep hot food warm and a thermal lunch bag that can keep other foods and drinks cool. Please label all personal items.

Extra Clothes / Gym Shoes – Students are encouraged to wear appropriate footwear for physical education, outdoor use and indoor use. Until the weather gets colder, students are encouraged to have only one pair of shoes at school. Students in Kindergarten and grade one are encouraged to bring an extra set of labelled clothes in a labelled plastic bag (in case of accidents) that can be stored in their backpack or cubbie.

Hand Sanitizer – Please DO NOT send students to school with hand sanitizer. Hand sanitizer will be available throughout the school for student use.  Personal hand sanitizers can result in issues with quality, fragrances, and management of potential hazards.

Cell phones / technology – Students are still not permitted to use cell phones or other technological devices unless they have been given permission by their teacher for a school-related activity. Cell phone use at recess, in hallways, and in washrooms is not permitted.  Student must use the phone in the office (which will be sanitized after use) if they need to call parents.  The school will not be responsible for any damaged or missing phones or tech devices that students choose to bring to school.

Please note: students will not have access to lockers or hooks until it is deemed safe to do so. This will avoid congestion in hallways and allow for social distancing. We also ask that all toys stay at home for your child’s enjoyment at home.

Helping Your Family Prepare for Return to School – During the Covid-19 Pandemic!

20 Aug

As September approaches, many of you may have questions and concerns about what the return to school will look like and how we can best prepare our children. While we may have some unanswered questions, there are many things we can do to improve their transition to this new way of learning. There is just under a month to go – so start now! The sooner we help them (and us) prepare, the better!


  • Children often turn to adults to determine how they should react to a certain situation. They are ALWAYS listening and what they hear can shape how they feel about returning to school
    • Be mindful of what you say in front of them and how you discuss the potential return to school
  • Be positive about school and emphasize the elements that your child will enjoy
  • Ensure to highlight kindness and respect of others at all times
  • Encourage them to ask questions and take part in these discussions
  • Go slow and don’t push  

Hand Washing

  • Review and practice proper hand washing techniques 
    • Consider doing it with washable paint so they can see the spots that are often missed
  • Ensure they understand the importance of regular hand washing
  • Reassure them that they may make mistakes and that is okay

Learning to be Comfortable in a Mask

  • It will be mandatory for students grades 4 and up to wear masks. Most younger students can wear masks as well and should be encouraged to do so. 
  • Size and comfort will be key factors in your child’s integration to wearing a mask
  • Make sure to try out different types of masks and see which are most comfortable for your children BEFORE they return to school
  • We have time! Start getting them used to masks now to make sure their first day is not overwhelming. Normalize mask wearing NOW
    • Take them out in public to see that others are wearing masks. Discuss people’s masks and what you like about the different styles 
      • Practice wearing masks with your children and show them that you are comfortable wearing them too
      • Help them be comfortable in their masks by slowly increasing their mask time over the next few weeks
        • Eg. start with 5 minutes then increase to 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 1 hour, 2 hours, and so on
        • If they are having trouble, provide encouragement and small rewards for positive mask use
    • For little ones, you can encourage them to put masks on stuffed animals or other favourite toys
    • Draw pictures of animals/characters wearing masks
  • Get them excited about their own masks
    • Allow them to pick out masks they like – there are many different styles for kids of all ages
    • Decorate masks as a family (themes, self-expression, competitions can all increase engagement)
    • Provide lots of compliments and praise of their choices and styles
    • Ensure masking is seen as a valuable contribution to society
  • Review mask etiquette
    • No sharing
    • Send multiple masks in case one is dirty or lost – let them know where you will put their extra masks i.e. their backpack or cubby. 
    • Label your masks – children will lose them and you don’t want them going home with someone else’s mask! 
    • Discuss what to do with a mask that they are no longer using – ie leave in a paper bag 
    • Encourage them to compliment and give praise to others on their masks and unique styles

Physical Distancing

  • Discuss your family rules and comforts surrounding Covid-19 and physical distancing 
  • Reassure them that it is okay to ask someone politely to give them more space
  • Explain that their comforts may be different from someone’s else’s and that we must respect others’ wishes
  • Review appropriate and inappropriate physical distance (2 meters is the recommended distance)
  • Reassure them that being less physically close does not mean that they are prohibited from having fun or socializing – we just need to adjust the way we interact

Family Conversations

  • Ask questions and listen when they express concerns 
    • Validate their concerns and answer their questions as best as you can
    • If you don’t have an answer right away, that’s okay – research it together
  • Acknowledge that this is a unique situation and that you too are experiencing it for the first time. Discuss your own thoughts about how school will be different (in a positive way).
  • Teach them how to sneeze or cough into their elbow and start practicing at home
  • Try to engage them in conversations “What will going back to school look like?” 
    • Have them visualize the step by step of a first day back
    • Address the similarities and differences in the routines that they will face in school
    • Normalize the changes and reassure them that these are positive changes meant to keep everyone safe
    • Try waking up and starting your day in a similar fashion to a “normal school day” before the start of school
  • For anxious children, consider having them write a letter to their principal or teacher(s) about their concerns, what they are excited for, and what that they want to know before school starts (you can choose to send this or not)
  • Discuss some things they can look forward to i.e. seeing friends, teachers, exciting activities 
  • Help them get excited to return to school
    • Take them shopping with you for back to school supplies/clothes  – this will help them get used to being out around others in masks and will also get them excited for the new school year
    • Give lots of praise and show your own excitement about their return to school
    • Praise the educators and provide your children with confidence that their staff are caring, loving people who want to ensure what is best for them

Sick Days

  • Please do not send children to school if they are ill 
  • Rules around children going to school sick will be more strict this year – and they should be. Children with Covid-19 can present with mild symptoms and it will be difficult for you to know if this is covid or a regular cough/cold. 
  • Learn about your school board’s policy around student illness and requirements prior to return to school 
  • Contact your health care provider for guidance if you have any concerns

Mental Health For some additional resources in mental health and return to school, please click here for an article written by Kids Helpline

By: Dr. Dana Abenstein (Family Physician) and Darren Abenstein (Teacher)


20 Aug

WE NEED YOUR HELP! We are looking for adults who are interested in a paid position as a Lunch Hour supervisor at Brownridge PS.

Lunch hour supervisors work from 12:20-1:20 daily, supervising students as they eat their lunch and assisting to provide supervision on the playground during recess.

All applicants must submit a Vulnerable Sector Screening (VSS). If you or someone you know is interested in this position, please email Ms. Sacke at for more information.

Busing info for Brownridge families 2020-2021

20 Aug

Letter from the YRDSB Director of Education

13 Aug

Dear families, 

I hope you and your families are doing well, and are having a safe, healthy and restful summer. This is a follow up to our message to families on August 8. 

On August 8, you should have received an email asking you to complete a Reopening Registration Form. The information from the form will help inform planning and be used to support the creation of remote classes for students. Please complete this form for each child by August 14 2020, by 5:00 p.m. If you did not receive a personalized form for your child, you can complete the form on the Board website

We know that families are looking for as much information as possible to help them make an informed decision. On the Board website, you can find our Return to School Plan, frequently asked questions as well as additional information about school reopening at  

The Ministry of Education has determined that elementary school students will return to school with regular class sizes, five days a week. Students will remain with their class throughout the day, including for lunch and recess. In addition, a number of health and safety measures will be in place. For families with children in kindergarten, while kindergarten classrooms may be rearranged to minimize contact, students will continue to engage in play-based learning. Information about curriculum or program modifications as a result of health and safety measures is available on the Board website. 

Families can choose to engage in remote online learning, instead of having their child return to school in person. Students who participate in online learning will engage in real-time live sessions directed by a teacher. They will have a set schedule, similar to day school, which will include live virtual learning and independent learning. Specific remote learning classes will be created and taught by teachers available to the system. This means that your child may be taught online by teachers who are not connected to your child’s school.

We will continue to provide support to students with special education needs in both the in-class and remote online learning models. 

In order to maintain safety and appropriate cohorts, children whose families opt for online learning in September may be required to wait for a specific entry point (e.g., end of a reporting period) to return to in-person learning at school. We will also support transitions between face-to-face and online learning when possible as space allows. 

While a number of things will look different this school year, we continue to put our students and their health, safety and well-being first, and will continue to work collaboratively with families to support the success of our students. We encourage families to review the documentation and to assist with preparing your child for the upcoming school year. While we know it will be different, our caring and dedicated staff are looking forward to welcoming everyone back. 


Louise Sirisko

Director of Education

YRDSB Back to School Plan

13 Aug

Good morning everyone! Please read the YRDSB back to school plan here:

Click to access YRDSB-Return-to-School-Plan.pdf


10 Aug

Dear Brownridge Families,

Last week you received an email from the YRDSB with information about the re-opening of schools this September. In the email was a registration form for you to indicate your intention for each of your children to attend school in person or through online remote learning.

Families with more than one child should have received more than one invitation to this form.  Please complete a separate form for each child attending our schools. 
For those eligible for transportation, the form also includes the ability to opt-out of this service. Where possible, parents are asked to arrange their own transportation to and from school for their children. 
Please complete the form for each child by August 14, 2020 by 5:00 p.m. 

Elementary School Model

The Ministry of Education has indicated that elementary students in Kindergarten to Grade 8 will attend school five days per week.  School schedules, including start and end times, will remain the same. Regular class sizes will be maintained. Students will remain in their classes as one cohort (or group). Specialized teachers (e.g., French, The Arts) will still be joining classrooms to provide the full breadth of programming for students.  Recess and lunch will be staggered to adhere to cohort guidelines.   

Elementary Online Learning 

Families can make the decision to send their child to school or engage in remote online learning. Online learning will be available for students who do not return to school physically. Students will be able to engage in online learning, including real-time live sessions directed by a teacher in a scheduled manner similar to day school. Specific remote learning classes will be created and taught by teachers available to the system. This means that your child may be taught online by teachers who are not connected to your child’s school.

Please note that, in order to maintain safety and appropriate cohorts, children whose families opt for online learning in September may be required to wait for a specific entry point (e.g., end of a reporting period) to return to in-person learning at school. We will also support transitions between face-to-face and online learning when possible as space allows. 

Please know that I appreciate how stressful this time is to many of our Brownridge families. As more information becomes available, I will share it with you. Be safe and be well,