On July 30, 2020, the Minister of Education, Steven Lecce announced the decision that elementary school students will return to class full time and high school students will be using a hybrid model. Many of the two million or so students who attend-publicly funded schools in Ontario will need to adjust to a new reality, as COVID-19 safety measures will make for a new kind of learning experience. Elementary school level students will remain a single cohort, five days per week, including for recess and lunch. Further, school boards will be required to provide the full curriculum. Class sizes will remain at the mandated maximum levels in place before the COVID-19 outbreak. Secondary students in 24 "designated boards" — mainly in urban and suburban areas with relatively high student populations — will attend school on alternating days, in cohorts of about 15.
High schools in non-designated boards, which typically have smaller enrolment, will be able to offer full-time learning. Students in Grades 4 through 12 will be required to wear a non-medical mask or cloth face covering while at school. Younger children will be encouraged, but not required, to do so. Meanwhile, parents will be able to opt their children out of in-person classes, if they wish. Children with special education needs who struggle with remote learning will be allowed to attend school daily for instruction.
The province says other measures that will be in place to ensure the safety of students include:
• "Self-screening" by families and teachers.
• Emphasis on hand hygiene.
• Distancing when possible.
• Limiting visitors in schools.
• Directional signage to limit the cross-flow of students in hallways and on playgrounds.
Students and staff who develop any COVID-19 symptoms will be "immediately separated." Anyone who tests positive won't be able to return to school until they are cleared by local public health officials, and those who test negative will need to be symptom-free for 24 hours before going back.
Please be sure to remember the basic protective measures and keep safe!
If your loved one has passed from COVID-19 as a result of faulty or lack of safety procedures, please contact JEWELL RADIMISIS JORGE LLPfor a free consultation