Students to return to class in September with increased safety measures


While secondary students in designated school boards - most of which are in Southern Ontario - will open on an adapted model with class cohorts of approximately 15 students, attending on alternate days, or alternate schedules that would represent in person attendance for at least 50 per cent of instructional days. Now that we have this information, we can finalize plans for all HPEDSB schools.

"When considering the health of the whole child, and as long as this trend continues, we believe that with the appropriate measures and strategies in place to handle potential outbreaks and prevent spread, schools are expected to be a safe place for Ontario's students and staff who attend in person", said Williams.

Masks and other appropriate PPE will be provided to teachers and other school staff, according to Lecce.

Return to school plans are based on advice, guidance and directives of the Ministry of Education and the provincial health officials, and are in consultation with local public health officials. "We need to consider the toll it's taking on the physical and mental health and personal development of our kids; we know isolation has been extremely hard on them", said Ford. If a student or staff member is experiencing any symptoms of the COVID-19, they will be required to stay home.

However, boards must have a remote learning option in place for parents of elementary students, should they choose not to send their kids back. HPEDSB always respects and honours that parent choice.

Last month, Goertzen said there will be less capacity on school buses when students return, meaning schools will rely "heavily" on parents to transport their kids to class.

LDCSB parent Rebecca Flanagan thinks sending elementary students back to school full time is the right move. It will be easier to keep younger students from interacting with anyone outside their class because they are naturally cohorted with one teacher, he said, adding there will be changes in the timing of recesses, lunches, and bathroom breaks so they can be staggered to support cohorting.

The government was lambasted for a lack of funding for school reopening by a dozen protesters outside Newmarket-Aurora MPP Christine Elliott's office July 29.

School boards will also be encouraged to maximize space in schools, while removing any unnecessary furniture to create more space, as well as having study halls in schools to meet remote learning needs.

All elementary students will remain in one cohort, Lecce said.

"Every employee will be required to provide documentation of negative test results to return to in-person operations, and beyond that we will be implementing a retesting protocol as the year proceeds", León said in the note. Students will be in groups of 15, going to class on alternate days.

At the elementary level, instruction will be five days a week, five hours a day, while the adaptive model, a combination of in-class and online learning, will be used at the secondary level.

Like the ADSB, the H-SCDSB is a non-designated board, which means St. Mary's College will be open to all secondary students every day.

The remaining school boards in Ontario will be allowed to reopen for classes five days per week with full attendance.

Ontario is logging fewer than 100 new cases of COVID-19 for a second day in a row, with 89 new cases reported Thursday.

On the issue of student transportation - a significant consideration in rural Leeds and Grenville - students will be assigned seats on the school bus and a record of the seating plan will be kept to assist with contact tracing.

Schools will also need to limit gatherings in common areas such as lunchrooms and will be encouraged to use outdoor venues as much as possible.



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