Ontario Announces a Plan to Reopen Schools in September

The Ontario Ministry of Education has released a return-to-school plan for the 2021-2022 academic year. As expected, students can choose from two learning models: in-person learning or distance learning for those who prefer to learn from home. The Ontario Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Kieran Moore, stated that he does not expect school closures as a result of COVID-19. 

Like last year, masks are required for students in Grades 1 to 12, but remain optional for kindergarten students. Masks will not be mandatory when students are socially-distanced outdoors. Prior to entering school buildings, students and staff must take the COVID-19 self-screening test. School staff and bus drivers will receive personal protective equipment from their respective school boards to maximize safety.

Students from kindergarten to Grade 8 will remain in one cohort (class) for the entire day. However, cohorts can interact outdoors with proper social distancing. Elementary schools will allow cafeterias and libraries to reopen for student use.

The province has also permitted school sports, clubs, and assemblies to resume with physical distancing in place. Schools are responsible for optimizing air quality to allow music programs and other activities to run safely. 

Secondary school students will return to a full-day schedule with no more than 2 courses at a time. Like elementary schools, common areas such as school gyms, cafeterias, auditoriums, and music rooms will be open for students with restrictions in place. 

Parents and educators are awaiting additional information regarding protocol for COVID-19 outbreaks in schools. Please visit the Peel District School Board website or the Dufferin Peel Catholic District School Board website for updates on the return-to-school plan.

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