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

BlackburnNews.com - Province outlines back-to-school plan

BlackburnNews.com - Province outlines back-to-school plan

For schools in designated school boards - including Waterloo, Waterloo Catholic and Dufferin-Peel Catholic - students will be in school for 50 per cent of the time, either through alternating days or via scheduling that would permit being in school for half of the time. "We sometimes see 36 students in a class; space them out two metres and you may need a football field to accommodate classes", said Hare.

Students in Grades 4 to 12 will be required to wear non-medical masks while in school.

According to Lecce, things could change over time, but at the moment there are concerns about young kids touching their face more often if they are wearing a mask.

Schools are to reopen for teachers and staff on September 1 and to students on September 8.

"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".

"While the announcement of new funding is welcome, it's quite clear that the Ford government isn't willing to pay the full cost of ensuring the safety of students and educators in September", says ETFO President Sam Hammond.

"We're certainly very pleased that the Ministry has provided us with more guidance on how we can safely open our schools for our students and our staff", Terry Lyons, the Windsor Essex Catholic District School Board's director of education, said in a statement.

Locally, the Conseil des ecoles catholiques du Centre-Est is considered one of the 24 boards throughout the province considered high risk and will therefore have a cap of 15 students per classroom and use alternate school schedules.

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.

This is a developing story.

"I think the wrinkle in this plan is that the younger children will be in larger class sizes and that is going to be tricky to facilitate physical distancing", he said.

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The smaller cohort sizes for high schools is because the health expert evidence suggests that the risk is greater with high school students.

If a child develops COVID-19 symptoms they will be immediately isolated until they are able to go home.

The government's $309-million budget for the reopening plan includes $80 million to hire additional staff and $60 million for masks and other personal protective equipment, which it will be providing for teachers and other school staff.

"We're going to communicate with our parents, and one of the points of this is we will require parents to make a decision around whether they want their child to come to school".

Unions representing teacher groups have already voiced concerns about health and safety issues and the government not providing enough money to implement the proper training, sanitation and staffing numbers needed.

Sarlo said children's mental health and wellbeing through normal socialization at school is crucial, despite the risk of COVID-19.

Students with a high level of special education needs who are unable to study remotely will be permitted to attend class on a daily basis. "This plan puts the health and safety of our kids first".

"We will also be supporting public health efforts by continuing to promote our screening protocols so that students and staff do not show up to school if they have any symptoms of COVID-19, even if they are mild", said Lecce.

Stevenson says it's still too early to speak about specifics and what today's announcement means for the school year.

Health Minister Christine Elliott said 28 of the province's 34 public health units are reporting five or fewer cases, with 17 reporting no new ones.

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