Ontario's plan to reopen schools in Ottawa and eastern Ontario

Ontario government to announce plans for back-to-school in September today

An updated report Wednesday from a group of doctors and education experts from across the province recommended a daily return-to-class plan with masks or face coverings for high school and middle school students, as well as smaller class sizes and staggered lunch breaks.

Kindergarten to Grade 8 students will be in school five days a week in one classroom group and one teacher for the entire day, including recesses and lunch.

While high schools in some districts will limit class sizes to 15 students, there will be no such restrictions at Simcoe County high schools.

But we also have to balance the risks that we are trying to minimize in those settings with the very real risks that we know that children are experiencing now from being out of in classroom settings.

Teachers and other staff will be provided with medical-grade masks.

There may have been a time when parents could send their kids to school when they have had a mild illness, but Education Minister Kelvin Goertzen said Thursday that won't be possible come fall when in-person classes resume. "We're going to take all that information and we will be able to gauge where our families and staff are in terms of how they feel about the return to school".

"The choice of determining when and if they feel comfortable with their child returning to school during the school and the delivery of live teacher-led synchronous learning when they're not in school", Lecce said.

Students of every age "with a high level of special education needs who are unable to study remotely" will be able to attend school every day. Those wishing to select full-time remote instruction must submit their consent form by August 14, according to the document, which adds that those parents and guardians should "be prepared to support their children's active participation in all remote learning activities". "To prepare our schools to be as best and responsive as possible, we will be contacting families in the days ahead to get an idea of parent intentions", said Monteith.

Premier Doug Ford announced Thursday afternoon that a plan has been put in place to safely return Ontario's thousands of elementary students to school on a full-time basis this fall. Students could be a part of two cohorts, but no more.

A detailed plan with what ALCDSB schools will look like will be released early August.

Many hallways and stairwells in the schools are also designated as one-way to reduce congestion.

All Manitoba students will return to school on September 8 but provincial officials warn it will be far from a normal school year, with restrictions and changes in place including classroom cohorts and continued remote learning for high schools.

High schools are divided into two categories, with boards that generally have larger schools shifting to part-time classes.

Because they include schools in Ottawa, the Eastern Ontario French Public and Catholic boards are "designated schools", meaning timetabling for those high school students will be under an adaptive model.

"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.

The students will have a hybrid-style education spending one day in the classroom and the other day learning online. The model includes class cohorts of approximately 15 students, with 50 per cent of classes online and 50 per cent of instructional days in-class.

The government has allocated $60 million for masks and personal protective equipment, $80 million for funding for additional staff, $25 million on cleaning supplies and $10 million for health and safety training.

As for busing, a ministry official says school boards will have students in assigned seats on the bus, with preference to having siblings placed together.

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