The uncertainty of the COVID-19 situation has resulted in an open ended plan being announced by Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Minister of Education Stephen Lecce when it comes to the reopening of schools in the fall.
The current plan includes three options: the continuation of learning at home; a return to in-school instruction with enhanced health and safety protocols; and, an adaptive learning model that features a combination of learning at home and in-school instruction with limited class sizes and alternating days and/or weeks.
The adaptive learning model, as outlined by Minister Lecce, provides for a maximum of 15 students per classroom per day. It also requires students to register prior to the start of the school year so that class assignments and timetables can be set in advance. If the adaptive learning model is selected for the start of the 2020-21 school year, the decision will be re-evaluated at the end of September based on direction from the Ontario Medical Officer of Health as well as local health officials.
Minister Lecce also noted there will be protocols in place for personal protective equipment, enhanced cleaning, and instances where a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19. Additionally, the province outlined guidelines for transportation, including the approximate number of students allowed per standard bus (24), plus siblings.
Individual school boards have been tasked with developing operational plans to match the three options announced. The Grand Erie District School Board addressed this in a letter to families. Grand Erie’s school-year calendar for 2020-21 has not yet been approved by the Ministry of Education. Currently, the first day of school is set for Tuesday, September 8.
The Brant-Haldimand-Norfolk Catholic District School Board has yet to address the announcement as of posting.