Ontario Students & Teachers Will Wear Masks In Schools As Of September

Henrietta Brewer
July 31, 2020

Unlike elementary students, secondary schools in designated school boards will open using an adapted model, with class cohorts of around 15 students, on alternate days, or alternate schedules.

Physical distancing at schools will be enforced "as much as possible" through measures such as keeping desks apart, spreading children into areas such as gyms and cafeterias, staggering lunches and recess, teaching outside and limiting the number of students in hallways and bathrooms. Now that we have this information, we can finalize plans for all HPEDSB schools.

As the lockdown took hold, the province established online learning for both high school and elementary school students and cancelled in-person classes for the remainder of the school year.

Husband Guy Pelletier said "I've got mixed emotions in the sense that we don't know if we're going to get a second wave of COVID-19".

Teachers and staff at all levels of school will be required to wear PPE and the government will provide masks for all students and staff, said Education Minister Stephen Lecce.

"We acknowledge that, although all our schools will be adhering to the health and safety guidelines provided by the province, some families might still wish to keep their children at home".

There may have been a time when parents could send their kids to school when they have had a mild illness, but Education Minister Kelvin Goertzen said Thursday that won't be possible come fall when in-person classes resume.

Staff will be focusing on everyday strategies to support educators and students for a mentally healthy return to school, encourage inclusivity, build trust and create the optimal conditions for learning and development.

But the return-to-school plan, unveiled Wednesday, doesn't include a remote-learning option with teacher support, as there was in June, for parents who want to keep their children at home. HPEDSB always respects and honours that parent choice. Students and staff will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms, and anyone who develops symptoms will be excluded from classes until they either recover or test positive.

NPS said it will implement "Saturday Academies", before- and after-school tutoring, extended school day support and extended classroom experiences.

This plan would apply to 24 designated school boards across the province including Toronto District, Toronto Catholic, Peel, York, Durham, Halton, Hamilton-Wentworth, and Ottawa-Carlton. The province noted that secondary schools in these boards "typically have small enrollment".

The government pledged to spend $309 million to help make schools safe, with the largest amounts for extra staffing, purchasing of personal protective equipment and masks, and hiring 500 public health nurses.

There will be no lunch drop-offs allowed and students are responsible to bring their lunch and snacks and reusable water bottles each morning.

In this scenario, there will be a minimum of one metre between students as they sit in their classrooms.

Infectious Diseases Specialist Dr. Isaac Bogoch told CP24 that the back-to-school plan should be flexible to accommodate families and integrate existing health and safety protocols to stop the spread of the virus. Students will be in groups of 15, going to class on alternate days.

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

As part of the next phase of the return-to-school plan, elementary students will be assigned to learning groups of up to 60, while those in middle and secondary grades will be in pods of up to 120.

In a news release, the province wrote "the government will continue to follow the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health and the COVID-19 Command Table to ensure the health and safety of the children and staff is never compromised as childcare capacity expands to 100 per cent".

Other changes this school year in Newark include staggered recess, a ban on in-person assemblies, electrostatic disinfecting and backpack misting machines and other social distancing and enhanced disinfection protocol.

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