John English SAC – Meeting Minutes Thursday, October 08, 2020, 7:00 – 8:30 pm

This virtual meeting was held online via Google meet.


7:02 – 7:04     

  • Attendance to be noted by Ms. Gorman
    • Agenda and budget documents shared in chat
  • Board members introduced, invitation extended new members, if anyone would like to join, please email
  • Agenda opened for additional agenda items
    • Picture day (to be covered by Mr. Howe)                 

Principal/Vice Principal/Teacher’s Reports

7:05 – 8:05


  • Nice to see so many familiar and new faces
  • The school recognizes the important role of families in this return. Practicing social distancing, masking, and at-home support as the school implements new procedures.
  • Recognition that some procedures are tricky—health screening and managing kids with symptoms in particular. It is helpful for students to stay home even with mild symptoms, and the school sees these efforts happening and thanks families for doing this.
  • Routines that were put in place at the end of the summer/beginning of September have needed adjustments, but patience is appreciated. Noting issues like the update to the health pass by TPH. People have been patient and working with the school administration, and it is very thankful.
  • Thank you to the SAC for getting some back-to-school supplies, and the school has since been able to get some from the distribution center, but that beginning supply was very helpful to support the return to school.
  • Teaching staff: Mr. Howe reviewed which staff are assigned to the TDSB Virtual School, and which are on leave. Details of this were shared with the school community in the Friday Update on October 9th, 2020.
  • Caretakers have been working very hard to keep the school clean with enhanced cleaning of high-touch surfaces many times a day.
  • We are supposed to have 6 caretakers, but we are short staffed in that area. Our head caretaker has done a great job filling in with supply caretakers as they are available.
  • Positive test experience: student hadn’t been in for 3-4 days. When there is a positive test, TPH has procedures, and they were followed. TPH makes decisions about who goes home.
  • All students and staff who isolated have returned, and none have presented symptoms.
  • On Wednesday we got a letter from TPH that the outbreak is considered over at JEJMS.
  • Safety measures are in place, and one to note is student ‘cohorts’ which is to try to keep 2-3 classes together that will remain together outside. Students are reminded to wear masks if they are less than 2 metres apart even outdoors.  
  • The school has noted that masking is coming quite naturally to most students, especially younger students.
  • New routines are present in the washrooms, and capacity limits are in place. Students are patient and waiting well for their turns.
  • TDSB virtual school impact: we had a projection of 870 students, we were originally projected at 10% virtual, but that has climbed and we were at about 720 students after the delayed start. Two teachers were reassigned to virtual school to balance this.
  • In the past couple of weeks we have had more who wanted to join virtual school. Some have also gone to homeschool so we are at 660 students and will have 2.5 additional staff redeployed to balance this.
  • Our class averages were lower than board averages and that is where the staffing department looked at that and as such we have adjusted staffing needs. One teacher from French grades 1-3 and one teacher from French 4-8 will be reassigned outside of JEJMS. Information will be shared tomorrow to impacted families and students. Update: – see the Friday Update, October 9, for more details about reorganization.
  • Lost and found is not really needed. The new system of students being dropped off and picked up for recess has resulted in very few lost items.
  • The lack of locker use is a TDSB directive. There will be a plan for boots that is being worked on. As we get into winter they will likely bring coats into class and hang on the back of their chairs. Not ideal, but for now necessary. Kinders have used every other locker, with a hook on the outside and they hang their bag there.
  • Lunchtime: there are different lunchtime areas and timed access. There are some classes that are watching videos at lunch, which helps keep students seated and also not chatting with neighbours while unmasked and eating.
  • Some upgrades had been done to the building ventilation in the last 10-12 years. As far as updating it to something new, that is not happening. They have new filters, and they have the airflow bringing in more fresh air. The filters are being changed more often. Windows open 10-12 cms as a safety mechanism for students. We are hoping to keep windows open as long as possible.
  • Picture day: not on the front burner. Once classes are reorganized and settled, they will look at it again.

MME SMITH—Staff update

  • A big thank you to the administrative team on behalf of all the teachers. The team has worked so hard to develop a safe and supportive environment.
  • Kids are understanding the new normal and embraced it as usual, and they want to be there, following the routines.
  • Thank you to the families to prepare the students to follow the new routines. We have to be creative, flexible and embrace change.


  •  Library is a bit different—Ms. McPhail is amazing volunteer who has been coming in to support library access.
  • The library remains closed to students, but is open to staff as a work space.
  • This week, staff can request books on whatever topic their class is working on. Ms. McPhail prepares the books for teachers to collect.
  • When the books come back to the library, the TDSB directive is that they sit in a bin for 7 days and then enter circulation again.
  • A new program is ‘virtual read aloud’ with Ms. McPhail from the library.
  • Question: one high school has done a remote lending program, students can order books as students.
    • Might have this as a future possibility—we have the system, but want to get classroom level access up and running first and then will see if we can open it up a little further.


  • Are vaccinations running?
  • Will any rooms have 3 grade levels in one class?
    • Right now no classes will have 3 grades in a class. Some decisions were made specifically to avoid that situation.
  • Do we have enough French teachers to cover FI requirements?
    • There is an extreme shortage of French teachers, the board has taken every supply teacher they had to redeploy for the Virtual school. Staff are being juggled around a bit in order to allow for the FI hours to be covered—sometimes a FI teacher is in for 50% of the time and the other 50% is an English teacher.
  • Will there be a spot for snowsuits this year?
    • JK-2 a place for snowsuits—this is an issue that is being worked on, but the final decision is not yet sorted. Might be that we will use same hooks as Kinder backpacks now.
  • Is there formal protocol for return to school following symptoms?
    • The board has a return to school attestation that should be used. It is available in the Friday Update – October
  • Does the school need donations of anything?
    • Right now what the school needs more is disposable masks that are child sized.
  • Is the Health Check App working properly and are people in the community using it?
    • The paper one is easier for teachers to see as they check while children enter the building. Some older students are using the app if they have their own phone to show teachers as they enter.
  • Older grades are using google classroom, younger are using Bright Space—if we have to go virtual, parents need to navigate the platforms for the students. Why use multiple systems?
    • The Ministry of Education said that if a new system was going to be used, it would be Bright Space.
    • Last year younger grades used SeeSaw which is no longer used by TDSB, so those grades were strongly encouraged to adopt Bright Space.
    • Parents wanting support with BrightSpace can see this link for support:
  • Will all classes be using an online platform?
    • Yes. If this is not happening, teachers can be contacted. Expectation is that they will have the platform set up, though they might not be using it daily. Reach out to your teacher to ask specifics if you haven’t seen anything yet.
  • How are we to manage student isolation at home if the class is still in person?
    • If students are isolating at home, the teacher should be treating it as though the student is absent for a longer period of time. Students are encouraged have a buddy to help with sharing class work, but start by reaching out to the teacher.
  • Will there be a curriculum night?
    • Perhaps a virtual night, with parents invited to meet via Google Hangout. Typically this happens after class reorganization, so this might come in the next few weeks.
  • Are student nutrition programs running?
    • Per board everything is on hold.
    • Administration has asked teachers to monitor for a need in their classes, and there hasn’t been an identification of need as of yet.
  • What will happen to parent teacher interviews?
    • No direction provided by the board yet. Expectation is that they would be scheduled, 10 mins long, conducted virtually.
  • Will we get progress reports?
    • No direction at this point. They are likely to look different than they have previously. They will likely follow the same template as previous years, content might look different.

Board Business

8:05– 8:15


No active programs at this time. 


  • As per TDSB request, there will be no fundraising until at least Nov 1, 2020
    • If there are updates, it will be included in a Friday Update.
    • Because of the lead time needed to plan for them, we are going to keep the conversation going for future plans.
    • Two ways to donate—FlipGive/Mabels Labels and JEJMS Cash Online direct donation
    • The big ask is considered a donation and not fundraising.
      • Perhaps include it in a future month, when future use of the funds is clear.

Treasurer’s Report


Summary of 2019/2020 financials:

  • We have a healthy bank balance for support the school if needed.
  • A projected budget has been created in hopes of being able to reintroduce some programs in the new year.
  • Some passive funds coming from Mabels Labels and FlipGive (FlipGive comes as a gift card to Indigo)
  • Room in the budget still for staff to support classroom materials, currently set at $135 and potential for an additional allotment in the future if the need arises.
  • Any budget questions can be sent to

Next Meetings


November 12, 2020

Note: As per the TDSB guidelines, SAC should have 4 meetings per year, and future meetings will be planned for 2021 but dates are not yet set.

Meeting Ends