ONTARIO: Provincial government reveals back-to-school plan

ONTARIO: Provincial government reveals back-to-school plan

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.

Class sizes will remain the same, but Education Minister Stephen Lecce said students in Grades 4 to 12 will be required to wear a mask while in school.

"Students may wear their own non-medical masks, and non-medical masks will also be made available for students. It's also crucial to allowing parents to return to work and to support Ontario's economic recovery".

"Now we can move forward with a more focused approach with a plan for back to school, and our parents with the Algoma District School Board (ADSB) can know that their children will be back to school".

Avon Maitland, Bluewater, Brant Haldimand Norfolk Catholic, Bruce Grey Catholic, Huron Perth Catholic, Lambton Kent, St. Clair Catholic school boards and Southwestern Ontario French language boards Conseil scolaire catholique Providence and Conseil scolaire Viamonde are all permitted to allow full-time, in-person high school classes.

It includes $60 million in procurement of medical and cloth masks for students and staff, with direction to boards to ensure students who can not afford a mask are provided one.

Initially the plan was one child per seat, unless they were siblings, but school boards may have to increase that, the ministry says. In areas where students lack reliable internet, making it hard for them to learn online at home, schools can set up "study halls" where physical distancing is in place.

The statement added there are still a number of details that need to be addressed and they will update parents as they get clarity on the specifics. "We expect to get that guidance later this week and we have meetings with the ministry later this week".

"I think if we look at this in its entirety, I think by and large most of it is really good". "It's a status quo return, with no additional supports for those littlest ones to ensure they, their families and the staff that work with them are kept safe and healthy". Parents, pediatricians and public health authorities have warned that keeping children out of school hurts their mental health and social development as well as setting them back academically.

"I have over 100 text messages from many concerned staff, full of anxiety", she said.

For those who do choose to stay at home and continue online studies, Sarlo said it appears that there will be a higher expectation of online learning required for those students.

Parents will be able to opt-out their kids and boards will be required to provide options for remote learning.

The safety and well-being of students and staff are the foundation of our school re-opening planning and decision making.

"This plan reflects the best medical and scientific advice with a single aim: To keep your child safe", Lecce added.

Sarlo said it is too early in the process for ADSB to determine whether its share of the additional funding is enough for the extra staff and sanitation processes needed.

Mary Cobeland has two kids, in Grades 5 and 10, and says she won't be sending them in the fall because she doesn't feel safe doing so.

But the province's new back-to-school plan indicates that high school students at two dozen boards - including the Toronto District School Board - will only attend class half the time in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19, with a maximum class size of 15.

Other public measures will include cohorting of students to limit contact with other students and staff, expanding testing in schools, frequent cleaning of the school buses and additional health and safety training for teachers.

The details have been long-awaited by parents, teachers and administrators wondering how learning can safely restart in September, as Ontario emerges from the shadow of COVID-19.

He said the school plan is created to "look and feels as much as it used to" with five hours of instruction time as well as breaks and lunches.

"When it comes down to it, our children belong in school".

Related Articles