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School Closure Update, Tips for Children, Video Conferencing Security

Topics covered in this post:

  1. School Closure Update

  2. Tips for Children

  3. Social Worker, Ellie

  4. Video Conferencing Security

  5. Trip to Ottawa

  6. Provincial Financial Assistance

  7. Donate to DRM Fund

  8. Instagram

  9. JICS Has Got Talent

  10. Read-A-Thon Forms

  11. Long-Distance Photos!

  12. Upcoming April Events

  13. Upcoming May Events

  14. Day of Pink Photos


1. School Closure Update

Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced on Tuesday that schools will not be reopening on May 4 amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The Government of Ontario is extending the Declaration of Emergency under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act for a further 28 days. You can read the full press release here. Rest assured, we were prepared for this eventuality and we have been planning in the background for our students and families. The school leadership team has benefitted from constant connection and collaboration with heads and principals of independent schools in Eastern Canada through the Canadian Accredited Independent Schools Association (CAIS) and with leadership at the University of Toronto. Parents are encouraged to contact Richard with questions or comments.


2. Tips for Children

Even though we may feel powerless and ill-equipped, there are many things we can do to support our children's emotional regulation, improve coping, and encourage communication. This time calls for us to tolerate uncertainty and lean into feelings that are associated with it. Here are some tips for children based on the science of psychology. Thank you, JICS PA Past President, Beth for sharing this resource!


3. Social Worker, Ellie

We are grateful to the JICS PA Association for funding the social worker position at the Lab School. Please feel free to contact Ellie ( directly if you or your child might benefit from help to navigate this unprecedented time.


4. Video Conferencing Security

You may have seen articles in the media lately about video conferencing, particularly with alarming stories about “zoom bombing”. The JICS technology team wants you to know that we are doing our best to stay ahead of security issues and keep the children safe online. Right now, for video conferencing we are using two platforms, Microsoft Teams and Zoom, both of which are supported by OISE. Here is what we’ve learned so far in our careful consideration of what are the best video conferencing tools to strengthen our distance education:


Much of the student work time in our junior grades is taking place in Microsoft Office 365, including Teams and One Note, which is managed and licensed by the University. Any data collection practices have been opted out of formally at the institutional level on all our behalf, or the associated risks have been deemed acceptable by the University. Teams is an excellent and secure way for students and teachers to seamlessly and easily interact and share files. Students may be invited to video calls right within the Teams platform, which means any outside intrusions are automatically prevented. Our teachers and staff are also using Teams to collaborate together.


Education Commons, our technology provider at OISE, is recommending Zoom for us as well as professors and faculty to use, providing everyone with professional accounts licensed through the University, which have extra features and capabilities. We understand that security issues may arise when you are joining a meeting hosted by someone else; in our case, it is always one of our teachers or staff who are hosting the meetings with students, so we control the settings. As well, our staff and teachers are adding passwords to zoom calls to have an extra layer of security, and when warranted will also use the waiting room feature. If the link to a zoom call is posted directly into the Teams space, this waiting room feature is not needed as the access to the link is already controlled. Ed Commons, the technology department at OISE, continues to provide us with updates and training about using zoom securely as new information arises. The Zoom company themselves are responding to concerns with weekly updates and improvements.

We are now in week four of our online school, and we are learning as we grow. We have come to understand how crucial the face to face meetings are to maintain connection and sense of community for the children, provide synchronous learning opportunities, and to promote everyone’s well-being. Perhaps down the road we will find an alternative we like better than Zoom. For now, we are sticking with Zoom because OISE stands behind it, there are many features about the platform that work well for us, and our teachers have already developed comfort with this tool, which is an amazing learning curve given that this was not in anyone’s skill set a few weeks ago!

Thanks for your continued trust and support. Please be in touch with Chriss Bogert to share any questions, comments, or concerns.


5. Trip to Ottawa – Gr 5 & 6

JICS has been required by Brightspark Tour Agency to cancel the Gr 5 and Gr 6 trip to Ottawa planned for April 29 to May 1, 2020. Parents please refer to the Brightspark website for next steps regarding reimbursements.


6. Provincial Financial Assistance During School Closures

The Ontario government is offering direct financial support to parents while Ontario schools and child care centres remain closed as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. The new Support for Families initiative offers a one-time payment of $200 per child 0 to 12 years of age. Click here for more information.


7. Diana Rankin Muncaster Tuition Support Fund

As the impact from COVID-19 deepens, we anticipate an increase in requests for financial support. If you have the means to help, we strongly encourage donations.


8. Public Purpose: Lab School Instagram account

The JICS Lab School is Canada’s independent school with a public purpose. Our mission is to improve public school education through our research, teacher education, and dissemination of our exemplary approach. We have begun to post sample videos that the teachers prepared for the JICS community on our new Instagram account @jackman_ics for the benefit of public school teachers and parents. Please feel free to peek into other JICS classes and share this information with friends.


9. JICS Has Got Talent

Hey all you super, fun, creative, talented people out there – we need you! We want to invite all members of the JICS community to send us video clips of you sharing your talents. Anything goes! Sing, dance, play an instrument, tell a joke, do a magic trick, recite digits of Pi, juggle, balance, hoola hoop, skip, whistle, bake a masterpiece, paint, draw, do a handstand, plank while singing, recite poetry, repeat tongue twisters, build an amazing structure, etc etc. Whatever your talent is, we want to see it! Individual or group entries welcome. Talent videos can be filmed with phones or cameras and should be no longer than 1 min in length.


11. Read-A-Thon Forms

The deadline for Read-a-thon online forms is tomorrow! Please submit forms using this link (one per child).


12. Long-Distance Photos!

Enjoy these photos of children engaging in learning at home. Keep them coming for future posts! Send photos to Tory:

This week, JICS students were challenged by Phys Ed teacher, Nadia to prepare healthy snack creations! What did you come up with?


12. Upcoming April Events

Mon 20 - Fri 24 – Earth Week

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

JICS Lab School

45 Walmer Rd

Toronto, Ont.

M5R 2X2

Attention: Nancy Boudreau


12. Upcoming May Events

Thurs 8 – Cindy Halewood Memorial – postponed (new date TBD)

Mon 18 – Victoria Day. School holiday

Thurs 21 – Music Night – postponed (new date TBD)

Tues 26 – Hot Dog Night (TBD)


International Day of Pink Student Work

To honour the International Day of Pink last week, Grade 1 students created their own t-shirt designs to share with the community:




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