Some certainty is better than none

This week, the Ontario government announced that school facilities would not re-open this school year and that protocols for September would be shared by the end of June. I am not sure how you took that news, but I felt myself sigh. Finally. A decision. With certainty now, we have the ability to plan for the remainder of the year and students can begin the process of grieving for all that they have lost, celebrating what they have learned, and they can start to contemplate what might come next.

Though June will look and feel different than what anyone expected, we will do our best to preserve the year-end traditions that make TCS what it is. Last week, we hosted an exceptionally well-received new Grade 5 family social virtually, delivering breakfast treats to incoming students and their families, homemade by Chef Patrick, and getting to know one another through games and icebreakers. We have met to discuss Closing Ceremony and students have been asked to contribute very short videos and photos (in some cases) so that we can preserve the human element of this event and celebrate our Junior School students as best we can. We have engaged external support to help us craft something TCS-worthy! We are working on award nominations. Certificates are being prepared. Grade 8 students are completing their Hearts and Minds projects and co-leading the last round of co curricular programs. There will be class parties, Grade 8 grad recognition, a final assembly and a flavour of Track and Fun Day. Most classes are working on summative assessments that will inform June report cards. Students will be able to collect their belongings by scheduling an appointment through our online system starting June 1st (please read the article on “Retrieving personal belongings” in this newsletter for all of the details you will need.)

Behind the scenes, while we await directives from our provincial government, we prepare for all scenarios of start-up in September, supported by best practices learned from Canada-wide committee work, research and pilots by other schools in other districts and countries.

This week, we also shared a survey with all students, requesting feedback about the TCS Connect e-community program. Students indicated much of what they shared in their one-on-one chats with me. Generally, they are enjoying the program, sleep-ins, staying at home; however, they miss their friends, lunches in Osler and personal connections. There are mixed feelings about the amount of work but certain realizations have been made, like it’s easy to ask for help, how nothing should be taken for granted, how hard teachers work, how much some like being homebodies, while others crave the energy they get from others.

This week’s announcement may not be the certainty we wanted. But it is one that will keep everyone safer than returning to school for a few weeks. We are all being asked to stretch the limits of what we may have seen as possibilities and opportunities mere months ago. Let’s make the most of it.

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