We’re roughly two months away from the new school year starting, and the question on a lot of parents’ minds is: “Am I comfortable sending my kids back to school in September?”
In June, the Ontario government outlined its plan to get students, teachers and staff can safely return to classrooms in the fall.
While the plan largely depends on the province’s COVID-19 situation at the time, it will reportedly provide options for parents to send their children in-class or to enter online learning.
According to the province, school boards will be asked to plan for three scenarios to be implemented in September:
- All COVID-19 cases at Hamilton grocery stores for the week of Jan 10 to 16
- Hamilton police officers at Central and Mountain Station test positive for COVID-19
- Hamilton East End police officer tests positive for COVID-19
- Normal school day routine with enhanced public health protocols: Students going to school every day in classes that reflect standard class size regulations.
- Modified school day routine: Based on public health advice, an adapted delivery model has been designed to allow for physical distancing and cohorts of students. Under this model, school boards are asked to maintain a limit of 15 students in a typical classroom at one time and adopt timetabling that would allow for students to remain in contact only with their classmates and a single teacher for as much of the school day as possible.
- At home learning: Should the school closure be extended, or some parents choose not to send their child back to school, school boards need to be prepared to offer remote education.
“We are taking every precaution, investing more, and listening to the best medical advice in the country to keep students, staff, and families safe,” said Education Minister Stephen Lecce.
Medical experts from Toronto’s SickKids Hospital say children in Ontario should be able to return to school in September, while acknowledging that COVID-19 likely won’t be eradicated by then.
SickKids says it has worked closely with Ontario’s Ministry of Education to provide guidance on how to safely reopen schools.
“The risk posed by COVID-19 cannot be completely eliminated, however, there are significant steps that can be taken to mitigate risk and protect the health and well-being of students, staff and their families,” said Dr. Ronald Cohn, President and CEO of SickKids.
What do you think — are you okay with your kids going back to school in September?