News Release


DSBN to Reduce Class Sizes for 2020/2021 School Year

Sep 02, 2020

At a Special Meeting of the Board on Monday, August 31, Trustees unanimously approved a motion that funding be allocated to the 2020/2021 school year budget as part of DSBN’s commitment to reduce class sizes for the upcoming school year.

Trustees voted to use an additional one percent of the DSBN’s accumulated surplus for the 2020/2021 budget to lower class sizes by hiring additional teachers. With these funds, approximately $4.5 million, combined with other funds, the DSBN anticipates hiring an estimated 60 to 70 teachers.

“Safety is our top concern, and the pandemic has presented us with unique challenges. By using the accumulated surplus funds to hire more staff, we anticipate we will be able to decrease class sizes by 3 to 4 students. We feel this is an important way to support our students,” said Sue Barnett, DSBN Chair of the Board.

The approved amount from the DSBN’s accumulated surplus budget is not part of the funds received from the federal and provincial government that was distributed to school boards to support reopening plans.

“Reducing class sizes is a proactive step to further protect the health, safety, and well-being of students and staff in DSBN schools,” said Warren Hoshizaki, Director of Education. On average, the influx of approximately 60 to 70 teachers will contribute to a reduction in class sizes. The following chart compares typical enrolment with expected enrolment for the 2020/2021 school year:





Typical Class Sizes

2020/2021 School Year
Efforts to Lower Class Sizes


Kindergarten


Class cap:
29 students/class
Average: 26 students/class


Approximately 22 students/class
*1 Teacher and 1 Designated Early Childhood
Educator


Primary
(Grade 1-3)


Class cap:
23 students/class
Average: 20 students/class

Approximately 17 students/class


Junior
(Grade 4-6)




Class cap:
high and low 30's
Average: 24.5/class



Approximately 20-25 students/class


Intermediate
(Grade 7-8)



In DSBN secondary schools, under the adaptive model approved by the Ministry of Education, there will be no more than 15 students per class. “Whether you are a student or staff member going to school, or you’re a parent or guardian sending your child to school, everyone should feel safe during this unusual year, and this funding is an important contribution towards ensuring that is the case,” said Hoshizaki.

Over the summer, we have been actively preparing our schools to ensure a healthy, safe, and successful return on September 8, including:

  • Adding the Ministry of Education and Ontario Public Health’s COVID-19 Protocol Management Plan for Schools to our existing reopening plans
  • Enhanced cleaning schedules have been developed
  • Classrooms are being organized to support physical distancing, with desks spaced and staggered, and furniture removed to optimize space
  • Parent Return to School Guides have been released to prepare students and families for their first day back: dsbn.org/return-to-school-updates/
  • PPE, disinfectant, and hand sanitizers have been made available in all classrooms
  • Signage is posted in all schools to reinforce physical distancing, proper hygiene practices, assist with directional flow in the hallways, and other reminders of the new health and safety protocol students and staff will follow
  • All schools have a designated health waiting area for students who present with COVID-19 symptoms and require a family member to pick them up from school
  • Teaching schedules have been strategically created to minimize the number of contacts students and staff have, and students will stay with their homeroom community
  • Protocols with childcare providers are being developed
  • Visitors in the schools have been significantly restricted

Our DSBN community can find updates on our Return to School Updates webpage and social media. Families are encouraged to call or email their schools directly starting this week.

Elementary, in-person classes are scheduled to begin staggered entry on Tuesday, September 8. The DSBN virtual elementary school and secondary schools will begin on Tuesday, September 8.