Updated Screening Guide

(This is from the email sent to families from the TDSB Oct 4, 2020)

Good afternoon families,

As you may have heard, the Ministry of Education announced on Thursday that it has updated its COVID-19 school and child care screening guidance. The TDSB takes its lead from Toronto Public Health, who has also revised their guidance based on the provincial direction.

According to the revised guidelines, students and children with symptoms such as fever and cough will still be advised to stay home until they are able to consult with a health care provider and receive an alternate diagnosis or a negative COVID-19 test. A second set of questions now deals with symptoms that are commonly associated with other illnesses, such as runny nose or headache, and provides the following direction:

  • Students and children with only one of these symptoms will be advised to stay home for 24 hours, after which they can return to school or child care if their symptoms are improving.
  • Students and children with two or more of these symptoms will be advised to stay home until they are able to consult with a health care provider and receive an alternative diagnosis or a negative COVID-19 test.

In addition, based on the latest public health guidance, the symptom list for children in school and child care no longer includes abdominal pain or conjunctivitis (pink eye). 

Based on this update, here is the new student screening tool from Toronto Public Health, as well as the revised TDSB’s Health Pass. The TDSB Daily Health Screening App has also been updated to reflect these changes.

Ensuring the health and safety of our staff and students is our priority and we all play a role. Again, one of the most important things families can to do help slow the spread of COVID-19 is to screen their children daily for COVID-19 symptoms and keep them home from school if they are sick or have had close contact with anyone diagnosed with COVID-19.

Thank you for your continued efforts to help keep our school environments safe and healthy.


Welcome Message from the Hawthorne Parent Council Co-Chairs

Dear Hawthorne Parent Community, 

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Photo by Ann H on Pexels.com

Welcome to Hawthorne! Or welcome back to Hawthorne! And an extra big Hello and Welcome to new JK parents! 

By now you will have seen and heard about some of the new protocols put in place by the school to keep our children as safe as possible while still comfortable and happy. We dearly hope that the weeks went well for you and your children. 

This year will be different in terms of the parent council as well. Our usual activities, like pizza day, enrichment activities, fundraisers etc. are not possible at this time. And in an enormous switch for our school, parents are not allowed in the school building at this time. While it is sad to see everything so limited, the primary goal of school during a pandemic is to see our children safe, socializing (safely), and learning something. This year, it is enough to see the joy and stability that our kids are getting from a routine that involves leaving the house and engaging with peers. 

And for those of you who have chosen to go online this year, we want to support you and stay connected as much as possible. We are creating a ‘class’ of virtual learners for parent council communications and have started an FB group for Hawthorne remote learners

There is a lot for us to do! Here are our plans are for the year:

Outdoor Education

Right now, the biggest initiative is in outdoor education. Our goal is to support the teachers in their endeavours and to help facilitate as much outdoor time as possible. We are following the leads of the teachers and the needs will keep evolving as the weather changes. As of this week, we have supplied the teachers with five rolling white boards for exterior use, are working on setting up handwashing stations, and have supplied piles of yoga mats being used for sit spots for the children. We need a volunteer to set up the handwashing stations – contact h2chair@gmail.com if you can help. 

Hawthorne Visioning

We are continuing with our Hawthorne Visioning project this year. Last year, this committee worked on outlining an Arts and Environment Based Curriculum for our school to adopt. We would like to continue this work this fall. Join us to have a say in the future of Hawthorne. Email h2chair@gmail.com to indicate your interest. 

Community Building

This year, keeping our community coherent and vital is a priority. We want to ensure that our online members feel part of Hawthorne, that we work to keep our community together, and that we continue to work in partnership with Essex. Let us know if you have any brilliant COVID-safe ideas. Email h2chair@gmail.com if you would like to be the ‘class’ rep for the remote learning group. 


We are not doing any fundraising at this time, and we are not collecting any enrichment fees either. We still have money left over from last year and are financially fine for now, but as the seasons progress and we need more supplies to keep the kids outside, we may be coming to you with a direct, pay-what-you-can request. We will only do so when we have a better sense of our needs. 

Parent Council Meetings

The parent council is a group of parents, teachers, and admin whose purpose is to enhance student experience and to foster the broader school community. 

This year’s first parent council will be virtual. We do not have a date solidified yet, but it will be in the middle of October. Please join us! This is your chance to get as much information about the school year as possible. Harry and Rachel will be there to give reports and answer questions, and so will we. 

We will have spots on the parent council available and will be voting for the council. Every September we need to vote on a new parent council. We are accepting nominations up until October 9. You can join parent council as named position or a member-at-large and be in the know. Send an email to h2chair@gmail.com to express interest or for more info. More information on nominations to come. 


We don’t know what our volunteering needs will be exactly this year, but we will need a roster of people available to be called upon when needs arise. We will send out a sign up sheet around the first parent council meeting and ask that you consider putting yourself onto it to stay involved and help keep our school running smoothly. 


Because parents are not allowed in the schools at this time, communications from parent council are more important than ever. We are working on creating new class lists (this task is surprisingly complicated this year), and will continue to give you updates from the trustee, the board, the principal, from us. Contact h2chair@gmail.com to learn more about being a class rep. 

* Please help us create new class email lists so you can continue to receive these updates

If you have a child entering JK, please fill out the form for JK families.

For parents of children in Grades SK to Grade 6, please fill out this form to help us create the new class lists.

Please complete the forms by Friday October 9, 2020. They will only take a couple minutes to complete.

We look forward to seeing you virtually at the first parent council meeting. Please contact us if you have any questions or want to volunteer for anything.

Jackie Wylde and Tereza Macel 
Parent Council Co-Chairs

Updated mask requirement

Parents and Guardians are required to wear a mask/face covering while outdoors on school property, including during pick-up and drop-off.

In response to rising confirmed cases of COVID -19 in Toronto, the GTA and elsewhere in Ontario, health agencies, and provincial and municipal governments are reviewing and updating health and safety measures in an attempt to reduce the spread of the virus.

The TDSB is also reviewing its health and safety measures and making changes where needed. The TDSB’s Mask Guidelines have been updated for the above reasons and in light of confirmed cases among school staff and students. The updated guidelines also provide additional direction to school administrators and superintendents regarding mask exemption requests. You can also visit our Mask/Face Covering Required webpage.

Below is a summary a key change to the Mask Guide:

Clarification that parents/guardians who are on school property temporarily (e.g., drop off/pick up) must wear masks and physically distance which responds to situations that have been noted where during drop-offs and pickup parents are coming into close contact with other parents and students.

The EarlyON Center at Essex

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Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Our beloved EarlyON Centre is closed until further notice but you can still enjoy virtual programming.

Please visit the Facebook Page where you can access fun activities for families with young children, story and music time, and information about community resources and links to other agencies.

If you’d like more information please contact us at marlene.stothers@tdsb.on.ca or call 416 394 2104


International Languages Programs are online this year!



In an increasingly globalized world, it is important to set our students on the path to being active global citizens. 

This fall, the International Languages – Elementary / African Heritage Program will be offering 
• language classes to students and
• African Heritage classes
to students (TDSB and non TDSB) in Kindergarten to Grade 8. 

Language classes

Students will take part in a remote/at home learning. Classes run 2.5 hours, one day a week. Students will have live face-to-face interactive lessons with their instructor and other students for approximately 30 minutes. Remaining time will be spent on independent work. Activities will be focused on building student’s abilities in oral communication, reading and writing.

African Heritage classes

Students will take part in a remote/at home learning and will learn about Black culture and the contributions of people of African descent. Classes run 2.5 hours, one day a week. Students will have live face-to-face interactive lessons with their instructor and other students for approximately 30 minutes. Remaining time will be spent on independent work. 

• Please note that a minimum of 23 students is required to open a language class.
• Classes start October 2020. Cost is free while the program is offered remotely.

For more information, please visit www.ileprograms.ca

Protocol for Entry and Exit

Please check our COVID-19 Advisory page for updates on cases in our building.

School Hours
Grade AM PM
Sr & Jr Kindergarten 08:45 – 11:20 12:35 – 15:05
Grades 1–6 08:45 – 11:35 12:35 – 15:20
To enter the building

Please complete the Updated TDSB Student Health Pass every day before coming to school. This screening will be repeated when your child is at school.

If your child feels well, they may enter the building. Children who do not feel well will be asked to wait in a designated, supervised wellness room and parents will be contacted so the child may return home.

Re-entering the building

(for example, returning after lunch)

Students who go home for lunch are expected to remain off school property until just before lunch ends at 12:35 PM.

Students who have been screened in the morning don’t need to be rescreened. They will be provided with hand sanitizer before entry.

Exiting the building

Staff will supervise students as they leave. Please pick up your children at the same doors you dropped them off at.


Staggered Start Dates for School

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Hawthorne is on the Kindergarten to Grade 6 schedule so our first days are as follows:

Tuesday, September 15
• Senior Kindergarten
• Grade 6

Wednesday, September 16
• Junior Kindergarten
• Grade 1
• Grade 5

Thursday, September 17
• Grade 2
• Grade 3
• Grade 4

Start and end times to come!

For more information read Returning to School: A Guide to the Safe Reopening of the TDSB on the TDSB website.

Hawthorne administration is still working out
• washroom protocol
• staggered entry and exit strategies
• late arrival directives
• masking
• lunch and recess
• use of outdoor space & wellness room

Teacher assignments as well as re-entry, classroom set-up and health and safety processes will be shared with the community shortly. 

Thanks for your patience.

Important Update: Letter from Interim Director & Chair

Download the Letter PDF

Dear Parents/Guardians and Families,

We would like to begin by simply saying thank you. Thank you to each and every one of you for your continued patience as we work through all of the planning and Ministry of Education approvals required for a safe return to school and work for staff and students. It has not been an easy or straightforward process. We know you are anxious to learn more about what to expect as we open TDSB schools and welcome students back. We sincerely appreciate your continued understanding and trust as we move forward. We are doing everything we can to plan effectively for a safe return to school and we are focussed on doing everything possible to keep staff, students and families safe and healthy.

As you may know, Trustees made a number of important decisions yesterday including the approval of more than $30 million in funding to hire an additional 366 teachers to lower elementary class sizes to help improve student and staff safety in schools. Staff have now finalized our secondary and elementary school learning models and we are moving forward with the important planning and preparations necessary to reopen schools.

Delayed Start: Tuesday, September 15
Given the time required to prepare for the return to school, the TDSB has to move the first day of school (for elementary, secondary and virtual school) to Tuesday, September 15. The entry of all grades will then be staggered over three days. This extra time will help us open schools in a safe and orderly manner. More information and specific details will be shared with parents/families directly from your child’s school prior to the first day of school.

Mask/Face Covering Guidelines
To improve health and safety in schools, all students and staff will be required wear masks/face coverings in TDSB buildings and on school buses. This decision is in line with the overall City of Toronto requirement that anyone over the age of two wear a mask/face covering in indoor public spaces — with exemptions for medical reasons. While schools will have masks available for students if required, the expectation is that students will provide and wear their own masks/face coverings. Particularly for younger students, we will ensure there are outdoor breaks, so students are not wearing masks for multiple hours at a time. More details on mask/face coverings will be coming shortly.

Learning Models

Elementary (Kindergarten to Grade 8)
Students (including those in Special Education and French Immersion & Extended French programs) will attend school 5 days per week, with one cohort/group for the full day, including recess and lunch. Enhanced health and safety protocols will be in place, including smaller class sizes to help maximize physical distancing. Elementary schools located in Toronto communities where Toronto Public Health data shows higher risk of contracting COVID-19 will have lower class sizes than all other elementary schools. Visit the website for more information, including important details on elementary class sizes.

Secondary (Grades 9 to 12)
Students (including those in Special Education and French Immersion & Extended French programs) will have in-class learning on alternate days and synchronous (live, online learning) as well as asynchronous (independent work) learning daily with enhanced health measures in place including smaller class sizes to help maximize physical distancing. For more information, please visit the website.

Virtual School (Kindergarten to Grade 12)

Parents who want their child to learn from home can choose the remote learning option. For more information, please visit the website. Elementary and Secondary.

Registration for In-School or Virtual Learning
As you know, we began a pre-registration process earlier this month to learn which students planned to attend school in September and which students planned to take part in fully remote (home) learning. Since that time, there have been significant changes to the learning models and more information is available to help inform parents in making this decision. Therefore, on Wednesday of next week, the TDSB will ask parents/guardians via email to make a final decision and register their children to attend school or choose remote learning through the Virtual School. The email will contain a unique link to an online registration form for each student. Parents/guardians with more than one child will receive one email per child and will be required to complete a separate registration for each child. The online registration will be available in twenty different languages.

It is very important for all parents/guardians to complete this online registration, even those who have already responded to the pre-registration phone call last week. Only parents/guardians who do not have an email address on file or do not complete the registration online will receive a registration phone call asking them to make their selection. For more information and to learn about the different registration options, we encourage all parents/guardians to visit the TDSB website.

Wednesday, August 26: Email sent to all parents/guardians and registration opens
Saturday, August 29: Registration closes

Next Steps
We will continue to keep families informed and updated in the days ahead. We are preparing schools to receive staff and students. As a first step, Program and Operational Guidelines are currently being finalized and will be shared with Principals/Vice Principals and school staff next week. In order for staff and students to return to school safely, there are many considerations and adjustments to be made to school facilities and school staff require time to learn about these requirements and begin to implement before students return to school. Learn more about our health and safety guidelines for schools on the website.

We ask for your continued patience as this important work continues. Please remember that teachers and school staff have also been eagerly awaiting information and details that will allow them to plan for September. It will take some time to prepare and finalize school and class-specific plans. Please know that Principals will begin to share school-specific information directly with families as soon as possible. We know that you have many questions and concerns and staff will continue to do their best to provide the necessary information and keep you informed.

We are in this together and we all share a common goal of ensuring the health and safety of staff, students and families. We would like the return to school to be as smooth as possible for everyone and we need to continue working together to make this happen.


Carlene Jackson                               
Interim Director of Education 

Alexander Brown


Trustee Update: Preliminary Re-entry plans

Final plans will be submitted to the Ministry on August 4

Preliminary plans for reopening TDSB schools were shared with Trustees for discussion on July 15 at a Special Committee of the Whole. The presentation and plans have been informed by the expertise of the Integrated Return to School and Work Steering Committee, union and federation partners, students, staff, parents/guardians, Toronto Public Health and the Ministry of Education.

Final details to reopen schools are required to be submitted to the Ministry of Education on August 4. More information will be shared as it is finalized in the coming weeks.