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Lab School Closure, COVID-19 Update, Microaggressions, Pottery Kiln, Ontario Survey on Bullying, Rea

Topics covered in this post:

  1. Lab School Closure and COVID-19

  2. Tips for Talking with Children about COVID-19

  3. IALS Conference Postponed

  4. School Cleaning

  5. Microaggressions

  6. Pottery Kiln

  7. Ontario Survey on Bullying

  8. Read-a-thon

  9. Upcoming March Events

  10. Upcoming April Events


1. Lab School Closure and COVID-19

Information on COVID-19 is evolving, and the global situation changes day by day. As of this afternoon, the Ontario Government has ordered all public schools to remain closed for two weeks following the March Break. For the protection and well-being of our community, the JICS Lab School and ICS Day Care will follow this ministerial order and remain closed at least until Monday, April 6, 2020. We recognize the significant impact this decision will have on JICS families and thank you for your support.

We will provide you with additional information in the days ahead. Please continue to monitor the following sources for further information:

Earlier this morning, we received the following email from Dr. Eileen de Villa,

Medical Officer of Health:


2. Tips for what parents should tell their children about COVID-19

In addition to the recommendations on how to speak with children in Dr. de Villa’s letter, we encourage you to read this informative article kindly shared with us by JICS parent and PA VP, François: Coronavirus: Keep it simple, stick to facts - how parents should tell kids

Keep the message calm, understandable, and try not to overemphasize the risks, experts suggest.


3. IALS Conference at JICS Postponed

We’ve been informed by the International Association of Laboratory Schools (IALS) Board that they’ve made the difficult decision to postpone the upcoming IALS 2020 Conference at JICS in April due to the concerns about the Coronavirus and related travel restrictions. We share the disappointment that many may feel, however, the wellness of our participants, staff, and host school communities is our highest priority.

Our plan for now is to postpone the Toronto IALS Conference until 2021. In the meantime, we will be holding our own Research Gala this Spring to showcase the documentation and dissemination work we have done this year in preparing for the IALS conference. We’d love you to join us and details about this event will be shared soon.

*The PD Day scheduled for Friday, April 24, 2020 (part of the IALS Conference) will now be a regular school day.

Events – Cancelled

Also due to COVID-19, the following events has been cancelled:

  • Tuesday, March 24 – Robbie Case Memorial Lecture with Dr. Herb Ginsberg, Columbia U. 6:00pm

  • Thursday, March 26 – Robbie Case Memorial Lecture with Dr. Doug Clements, University of Denver 6:00pm


4. School Cleaning

The University has taken necessary precaution to disinfect touch points, washrooms, and all other surfaces in JICS with electrostatic sprayers that are negatively charged.


5. Microagressions

In October 2018, JICS held a “community chat” on the topic of microaggressions: everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their marginalized group membership. At JICS we recognize that each of us has “blind spots” and each of us has something to learn from others’ experiences and perspectives. Together we can work to recognize the ways we may be unintentionally hurting people around us and to eliminate microaggressions from our everyday speech and actions as adults. Many parents who attended that evening have requested a follow-up and we are researching different organizations to facilitate our next parent education event. If you have suggestions, please forward them to Richard. In the meantime, please read this informative New York Times article.


6. JICS Pottery Kiln

One of the many ways that the JICS Patrick Harvie Arts Fund has enriched the Arts Programming was to fundraise for and install a pottery kiln in 2009. That year, we also hired a potter-in-residence, Carolynn Bloomer with PHA funding. During the renovations and construction of the new building, the kiln needed to be dismantled and stored. It has taken a long time, but we are happy to share that our kiln has been properly reassembled and is ready for baking imaginative clay creations by JICS children! We owe much thanks to Tara, for her patience and work with the University’s Trades Services. Information about our next artist-in-residence will be coming soon.


7. Ontario Survey on Bullying

We would like to share with you an opportunity to have your say in Ontario’s Survey on Bullying. The Ministry of Education is gathering information from students, parents/guardians, and school staff to better understand this complex issue and identify new strategies to promote healthy relationships in our communities.

The survey can be accessed at, and will close on March 31, 2020.

Participation in the survey provides an opportunity for parents/guardians, students and school staff to talk about bullying. In an effort to support these conversations, parents are encouraged to review Information for Parents/Guardians about Ontario's Survey on Bullying, an online resource available at

JICS students who wish to participate in the survey will be asked to seek permission from a parent or guardian. Parents/guardians are encouraged to support their children in taking the survey. The JICS Lab School shares the Province’s commitment to nurturing safe and welcoming school environments where all are included, respected, and valued.


8. Read-a-thon

Dear JICS Families!

March is a special month for families and for READING!

The 26th annual JICS READ-A-THON runs until the first week of April. Help your child document each day that they read, and collect pledges from family members and friends based on READING. The funds gathered go directly toward visiting authors, illustrators, and storytellers, and to purchasing books for the library.


9. Upcoming March Events (Read-athon Month):

Mon 16 - Fri 20 – March Break (week 2) School and Daycare closed.

Mon 23 – CANCELLED Spring Term begins

Tues 24 – CANCELLED Parent Education Event: Robbie Case Memorial Lecture with Dr. Herb Ginsberg, Columbia U. 6:00pm

Wed 25 – CANCELLED First day of Wednesday Afternoon Program-Spring Term

Thurs 26 – POSTPONED School-wide lice check, courtesy of the JICS Parents’ Association

Thurs 26 – CANCELLED Parent Education Event: Robbie Case Memorial Lecture with Dr. Doug Clements, University of Denver 6:00pm

Tues 31 – POSTPONED Grade 6 & Grade 7 Reunion “Pizza Night” to learn about transitioning to new school 3:30-5:30pm


10. Upcoming April Events:

Wed 1 – POSTPONED Gr 1 Parent Breakfast

Fri 2 – POSTPONED Parent Ed “Coffee and Conversation” Engaging Families in Preparing JICS Students for the Future. 8:30-9:30. Room 120

Mon 6 NEW - Spring Term begins. Daycare opens at 8:00am; School opens at 8:45am

Tues 7 – Daycare Board meeting 5:30-7:00 Room 120

Wed 8 – Passover begins

Wed 8 - NEW - First day of Wednesday Afternoon Program-Spring Term

Thurs 9 – Last day of teacher candidate Winter Internship and Block 3 practicum placement in JK-Gr 6

Fri 10 – Good Friday. School & Daycare closed.

Mon 13 – Easter Monday. School & Daycare closed.

Wed 15 – Parent/Teacher Interview day

Mon 20 – PA Meeting 6:00pm

Mon 20 - Fri 24 Earth Week

Wed 22 – Fri 24 POSTPONED International Association of Lab Schools Conference at JICS

Fri 24 – NEW - School Open (PD Day cancelled) Wed 29 – Fri 1 Gr 5 & Gr 6 Ottawa Trip

Wed 29 – Parent/Teacher Interview day

Thurs 30 – JK Parent Breakfast

Thurs 30 – 2nd tuition payment due (50% of balance). Make cheque payable to University of Toronto (3rd payment due September 9th).


Fun Abounds in the After School Daycare March Break Camp!




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