We have many reasons to feel optimistic as we begin the 2021-22 school year. Schools are reopening to in-person learning, vaccination rates continue to increase, and our students can start to resume some of their favourite school activities.
As we return to school, our reopening plan continues to prioritize the health and safety of students, families and staff members. We are working with public health to ensure we are taking all appropriate measures. For more information on the plan, including health and safety measures, please visit www.yrdsb.ca/school-reopening. You can also find additional information from York Region Public Health at www.york.ca/safeatschool.
The pandemic and last year’s school closures affected students and families in many different ways. This has been a challenging time. Our caring, skilled and dedicated staff members are prepared to prioritize the mental health and well-being of students as they transition back to school, as well as supporting their academic learning and growth. If you are worried about your child, please speak to your child’s teacher or principal. You may also find some of the learning and well-being resources on our website helpful.
Whether your child will be attending school in person or online, we know how important it is that they feel safe, respected and valued. We want every student to feel supported, to take pride in their identities and to know that they matter. Any form of hate or discrimination in our schools is not acceptable. This school year, we will continue to implement the Dismantling Anti-Black Racism Strategy launched in March to address anti-Black racism in schools. We also remain committed as a school board to honouring the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action. As your trustee, it is imperative that we create learning environments that enable all of our students to feel valued and to be successful, and I welcome the insights that were shared at the National Summit on Antisemitism and National Summit on Islamophobia.
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 so 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.
There are also many other ways you can stay connected with what’s happening in the school board. Visit our newsroom. Listen to our podcast. Follow us on Twitter @YRDSB and on Instagram @yrdsb.schools. Watch the latest videos, including news, features and profiles about our schools, students and staff members on our YouTube channel YRDSBMedia.
As we begin another school year, I am so pleased to welcome all of our new and returning families. I hope you have a great start to the school year and wish you a happy, healthy and successful year ahead.
David Sherman, Trustee – Markham Ward 1, Vaughan Ward 5