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COVID-19 Updates, Parents of BIPOC Children, Black History Month

Topics covered in this post:

children working on large art pieces in Grade 6


1. COVID Update

a) Travel

We understand some faculty and families will participate in travel during the break. In addition to following Mandatory Travel Requirements as outlined at, we encourage all families to review Toronto Public Health’s Travel Pictogram which outlines expectations for self-isolation.

b) PPE

The Lab School will continue to require masks for students, faculty/staff and all adults on the school property until at least Friday, April 9. (This also applies to the Daycare Camp, March 21 – 25.) With many JICS community members travelling internationally during the Break, the mixed cohorting of students in camps, and the increase in positive cases in our school recently, we feel this is the safest approach to ensure all members of our community are safe and healthy. Approaching April 9, we will evaluate our data and communicate our new PPE policy to the community.

c) Rapid Testing Program

If you have remaining tests, please continue using them Sunday/Wednesday over the Break and uploading your child's results to Thrive. A new package of rapid tests will be distributed to all JICS students and faculty/staff following the Break. We will resume the weekly testing program (Sundays and Wednesdays). While we will no longer be able to upload results onto Thrive following March 31st, we are updating the mandatory JICS Daily Screening to include the information from the testing.

d) Vaccination

All eligible JICS Lab School children must be fully COVID-19 vaccinated for the 2022-2023 school year and provide proof of vaccination.

e) Changing COVID-19 Protocols

We will be evaluating the remainder of the COVID-19 protocols based on the recent Ministry and Government announcements and will communicate any new policies to the community following the Break. Thank you for your continued support as we make decisions that best serve our community and keep everyone safe.


2. March Break

March 14 to 25

We wish everyone a fun and safe March Break, March 14 to 25. The Winter Term ends on Friday, March 11 at 3:30pm (6:00pm for daycare students).

The Daycare March Break Camp will be open for registered students March 21 to 25. Registration for the Camp closes tomorrow by end of day. Email Anne Marie at to register!

School and daycare will reopen on Monday, March 28.


3. Purim

March 16-17

chag Purim sameach

May this Purim bring fun, laughter and celebration to your life!


4. Nowruz

March 21

Nowruz is the day of the vernal equinox, and it marks the beginning of Spring in the Northern Hemisphere. It also marks the first day of the first month (Farvardin) of the Iranian calendars. Typically, before the arrival of Nowruz, family members gather around the Haft-sin table and await the exact moment of the March equinox to celebrate the New Year. Traditionally, the Haft-sin (seven things beginning with the letter sin (س)) are:

  • Sabze – wheat, barley, mung bean, or lentil sprouts grown in a dish

  • Samanu – sweet pudding made from wheat germ

  • Persian olive

  • Vinegar

  • Apple

  • Garlic

  • Sumac

Following our March Break, we invite parents to suggest ways to help our students gain insight into the celebration of Nowruz. Please be in touch with your child’s teachers with ideas.


5. Student Vaccination Mobile Clinic

Toronto Public Health is hosting a School Mobile Vaccination Clinic TODAY at Davisville Junior Public School (50 Davisville Ave, Toronto, ON M4S 1E8) 3:30pm- 8:30pm. Please see the March 3 email for more information.

Once your child is vaccinated, please log in to your SFO account to update the school on your child’s status. At the end of the form, you will find a link to upload their vaccination certificate as well. Please be sure to also submit the SFO form!


6. Parent Education

March 31, 2022 | 12:30-1:30pm

Lunch & Learn with Denia Anderson

Pathways to Positive Masculinity - Raising Boys with a Healthy Understanding of Masculinity

event poster for March 31 2022 event at 12:30pm-1:30pm. Pathways to Positive Masculinity - Raising Boys with a Healthy Understanding of Masculinity. Lunch & Learn Parenting Series with Denia Anderson, MSW Candidate.

Hello JICS families!

I am pleased to run a “lunch and learn” focusing on fostering positive masculinity. It can be difficult navigating the many messages that boys receive from their environments of what it means to be a “man”. In this talk, I will share with you some of the literature on the impact of toxic forms of masculinity on children and their friendships, as well as provide some information and resources on what could be helpful for your children in developing healthier understanding of their masculinity. I will present for 30 mins and then open the space up to discussion and questions for the remaining 30 minutes. Have a wonderful March Break!

Denia Anderson is a Master of Social Work student at the University of Toronto; specializing in children and their families. This year, she completed her MSW placement at the JICS Lab School, under the supervision of Ellie. Prior to this year, Denia worked with many caregivers on strategies to manage behaviour and mental health concerns they have had for their children; primarily using CBT and narrative therapy. She is a strong advocate for using play therapy with children as it facilitates exploration of complex emotions, and allows for greater engagement in difficult conversations.


7. Meeting Space for Parents of JICS BIPOC Children

April 6, 2022 | 7:00-8:30pm

Last year, a group of parents of racialised children at JICS came together to discuss shared experiences at school and beyond. At that time, many of us were reeling from the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on our communities and the proliferation of incidents of anti-Black, anti-Asian and anti-Indigenous racism. We met in order to create a safe space for discussing the issues impacting our children, and as a means to collect and convey our observations, our needs as racialised families, and any advice to the school around equity and inclusion.

We would like to meet again, to continue where we left off. The next zoom meeting of the group is scheduled for April 6, 7 - 8:30 pm, where we hope to have a discussion about our experiences as JICS parents of BIPOC children and how and what other purposes the group might serve. If you would like to join, please RSVP here by Thursday March 31. A zoom address will be emailed to registered participants.


8. JICS Read-a-thon

Your donations will be used to replace lost and broken books, purchasing new books, and supporting authors, illustrators and storytellers to visit with students.

We are so grateful to our supportive community! Donations of $25 or more will be rewarded with a personalized book plate placed in a new library book.

Additional information for parents:


9. Black History Month

Here are more examples of how the legacy of Black Canadians, past and present, have been honoured at JICS:

Music with Russell

Throughout the year, music by Black artists from around the world is woven into the curriculum. In February, each class discussed their favourite artists.

In the class dedicated to Bob Marley, the children located Jamaica on a world map, discussed the history of Bob Marley's upbringing, watched a short documentary, learned and demonstrated what musically makes up Reggae, danced and listened to select songs from the greatest hits recording, Legend.

If you love to whistle, Sean Lomax is a world champion. Learn how its done with your child.

Music with Suzanne

The JKs and SKs explored sounds, instrumentation, songs and dances from the Caribbean throughout the month of February, including Steel Pan, Reggae, Calypso and Soca. They also learned call-and response songs from West Africa, and played musical games inspired by African-American clapping songs.

Drama with Sarah

Children from JK - Grade 2 celebrated Black History Month through stories and music.

Students in Grades 3 - 6 honoured the achievements of 24 Black Canadians and African Americans. Each student was given a card with a short bio of one of the 24 actors, scientists, writers, civil rights leaders, musicians, politicians, dancers, film makers, athletes, and historical figures. After discussing the contributions of the 24 people, the students were challenged to present the achievement of each one through pantomime, one or two words, or a statement. Words chosen by students to represent different individuals included:

Dream, Queen, Theatre, Vote, Job discrimination, and One Dance. Can you guess who the students had in mind?

Answers: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Aretha Franklin, Viola Desmond, Stacey Abrams, Gloria Baylis, and Drake.

Junior Kindergarten

Grade 3

Throughout the first term, the Grade 3s looked at various structures of writing. In particular, the class enjoyed looking at poetry and its various forms. The children read poems and song lyrics by Black artists and shared their interpretations of the message. . Reading stories such as When the Beat was Born by Laban Carrick Hill as well as Welcome to the Cypher by Khodi Dill gave the class a glimpse of the origins and power of Hip Hop. The students listened to the music of Motown and explored lyrics of Stevie Wonder's music, in particular, as beautiful poems set to music. The class came together to create communal poems which were inspired by discussions and readings of certain works and by the words of Martin Luther King. Jr., Viola Desmond, and others. The class created poem, "Stand Up" inspire others to stand for what they believe in.

large artwork of grade 3 students traced bodies with words "Stand Up"

Grade 5

The students have been learning about Black history and important figures in Black history. They have read, watched videos, heard stories, and discussed the Civil Rights Movement and learned about people including Harriet Tubman, Lincoln Alexander, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr, Angela Davis, and James Baldwin.

Using online print and video resources and nonfiction texts, each child is researching a famous Black Canadian in the field of politics, media, athletics, the arts, or sciences and medicine. After completing their research children will work on a creative piece to teach their classmates about their person – a PowerPoint, an interview, a short movie or, a poem. The Grade 5s are looking forward to seeing these presentations after the March Break.

Books read in the grade 5 class during Black History Monrh


10. Upcoming March Events

Read-a-thon Month

Mon 14 to Fri 18 – March Break. School and Daycare closed.

Wed 16 – Purim (begins at sunset)

Thurs 17 – Purim

Mon 21 to Fri 25 – March Break. School closed. Daycare open.

Mon 21 – Nowruz

Mon 28 – Spring Term begins. Daycare opens at 8:00am. School arrival begins at 8:30am.

Thurs 31 – School-wide lice check.


11. Upcoming April Events

Sun 3 – Ramadan begins (until May 2)

Wed 6 to Fri 8 – International Association of Laboratory Schools 2022 Conference, North Alabama

Wed 13 – Parent Teacher Interviews (details coming soon)

Fri 15 – Passover begins at sunset (until April 23)

Fri 15 – Good Friday. School & Daycare closed.

Mon 18 – Easter Monday. School & Daycare closed.

Wed 20 – 2nd Tuition Installment due date (see Fees Information page)

Wed 20 – Parent Teacher Interviews (details coming soon)

Fri 29 – Orthodox Good Friday


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