Suggestions for 2020-2021 school year setup


Suggestions for 2020-2021 school year setup



With so many unkowns for the 2020-2021 school year, including school year start up, and the possibility of a 2nd wave of COVID-19 hitting partway through the school year, our superintendants have asked up to find a way to build our school setups with flexibility in mind. I'm wondering what other boards are planning on doing.


We've basically been given 3 scenarios of which we have no idea which one will happen in september since it'll depend on how things progress over the summer. We've also been told that things may change through the school year between these options.


  1. Everything is back to normal and all students are in the classroom
  2. Some type of cohort system is used with rotation of groups of different students on different days, and this needs to be coordonated with our Transportation consortiums.
  3. Everything stays online (Like we're doing at the moment)

Here are some of the issues that we're considering:


  • Since we can go to having a normal class to having to split classes into rotating groups at any point, we don't want to create multiple classes in Trillium to manage these possible rotating groups, because this could mean having to rebuilt classes, schedules / time tables, etc if things move from one to the other. Breaking things into multiple classes with rotating days also means this complicates things for teachers to manage their classrooms for any other integrateds system...Things like D2L, Microsoft School Data Sync or Google Classroom, Compass for success, School Day or Kev School Cash Online, etc everything would need to be done in duplicate.
  • We've thought of the possibility on creating classes as normal and managing rotating groups with the use of school groups. Since school student for clubs and sports teams already integrate into attendance, we could use that to manage attendance with the possibility of alternating days, but keep the classroom as a whole in Trillium and all connected systems.
  • Another challenge is how to get this data of cohort /rotating groups over to transportation consortiums, or for systems like school messenger to know what students are suposed to be present on which day.

I would be interested to see what solutions that other boards have come up with, or are considenring

4 Replies

Has the Ministry given any updates on how attendance would be taken for classes that rotate between at home and in school sessions?  For the students who are participating from home, are they participating in the same class session as the students at school?  If everyone is technically being instructed at the same time, just some in person and some remotely, wouldn't the teachers be taking attendance for those who are joining online?


I'm envisioning sessions like our TUG meetings where some are in the room and some are online, but all are participating at the same time for the same duration.  Or is the class truly split in two and both sections are working on the same curriculum but never participate in lessons together?  In that case, is the time spent learning from home treated as a G day?


This could be different by grade level too.  While I could see secondary students being online for the full school day, this wouldn't work for the lower elementary grades.


Hi Sherry,


We're still waiting to find out more details with regards to how attendance would be taken, but with respect to the rotating groups we've been asked to treat them as two completely seperate group receiving instruction on alternating days. Our board is looking into the possibility of doing some time of in class camera so that students from home can follow along, but nothing is certan with respect to that. Even if some type of combination of remote learning and in-class learning happens, I can't see this being implemented in every class. Especially for elementary schools, I don't think that it would be realistic for kids to follow online classes for the entire school day, and we are still in the begining stages of testing this possibility, so the chances of fully rolling this out over the summer seem unrealisting. The other issue with this would be the need for every classroom to be streaming the camera feed, which has a real possibility of causing network performance issues.


Just a quick update for other boards looking at school year setup in light of the ministries announcement pour 2020-2021. I had a call with Sherry, Margo and Lise to discuss some options to keep things as flexible as possible with regards to class setup and the need to look into having rotating groups of students. They seemed to be in agreement that setting up classes as normal and using school groups to identify students in different rotation groups would provide the best option at the moment, since it already integrates into attendance.

At our board we're looking to create two groups for each school (Cohorte A & Cohorte B) and assign student to those groups. Since not all teacher would have access to the group because you can only assign one staff member to it, we are going to have the school secretaries do the bulk attendance for these groups. They can even do some of it in advance say for the entire week up front. Then the classroom teachers will be able to do their class attendance as normal to fill in the blanks.

We are still waiting on the ministry however to find out how exactly to take attendance with all of the various possibilities.


With respect to getting this rotating group data to our transportation consortiums, Sherry and Margo are looking into the possiblity of adding a flag on the school groups to tag them as transportation groups....either that of adding an option to interfaces to select groups to include as part of the extract. This way we could ideally include this extra data for transportation companies.

Nothing is for sure yet, and Sherry said if they are able to do it, it likely wouldn't be  available until the scheduled august release time frame, but we're hoping that things go well.

It's also worth noting that there is manual management of these groups that need to be done, and that if a student transfers or departs that they don't automatically get removed from these groups. Our plan is to develop some sort of validation reports to help school better manage this.


Figured i'd share in case it helps other boards


As promised during the TUG meeting here are the steps for technical side of setting up the COVID cohort groups and sending the details our 3 transportation consortiums.


  1. I created a report that identify all or the prereg students in the 2020-2021 school year that live at the same address. This is used to help ensure that households are scheduled in the same cohort groups.
  2. One of our superintendents worked with our 3 transportation consortiums to obtain a set of excel files with the planned routes to date and bus capacities. The files had the following heading (SchoolID, SchoolName, StudentID, LastName, FirstName, Grade, PURouteID, PURunID, DORouteID, DORunID, TravelCode)
  3. A Group column where school principal could specify A or B to identify the cohort group. These files were divided and sent to the school principals each with the data of their respective schools.
  4. Principals were informed on how to assign students to the cohort groups and how to file in the excel files. They were told to start with the elementary schools first and take into account shared addresses, bussing capacities and student grade levels. Some dynamic tables were added into the excel sheets to help schools balance the numbers. Secondary schools were told to schedule students in shared households in the same cohort groups as the students in the elementary schools as a starting point.
  5. Once completed the Excel files were emailed to our Trillium support team, were we reviewed and did a cleanup of the files prior to importin, since not everyone followed the instruction 100%
  6. I created a SQL script to create all of the cohort A and B groups in Trillium
  7. I created a script using PowerShell and Oracle SQL*Loader to combine all of the Excel files into one master CSV file which is then imported into a “loading table” which I created.
  8. In the same SQL script with the table creation, I have a number of other SQL statements and queries that I use to perform things such as data cleanup, standardization, validations. It also performs lookups based on studentID where possible or students school code, first and last name and grade to match with the student’s person_id so that we can insert or update the cohort group information for the student. There are lots of comments in the script to explain each sql statement.
  9. I also added some queries to find student data that had been imported but where no group association was possible, and a report to find all students with no cohort association.
  10. I created and export using PowerShell and SQL to send data of the cohort group assignments to our 3 transportation consortiums, so that they could import this into bus planner. I’m using the PowerShell winscp module to perform the ftp transfer for this. Some of our consortiums asked for slight variation on this export, but it basically includes the student number or OEN depending on the consortium, the preferred surname and firstname, grade, school code and cohort group name.

I've also uploaded a copy of our scripts below. Please note that this was built around the needs of our boards and our transportation consortiums, so please make sure to read everything over and make sure that you understand it before using it. I also recommend trying this in a test environment first. We also give no guaranties and take no responsibility of issues that may arise if you decide to use this in your environment. You know the standard disclaimer stuff. If you have questions though, feel free to reach out and i'll do my best to help as time permits.