Ontario is planning for schools to reopen in September. Premier Doug Ford and Education Minister Stephen Lecce unveiled the three scenarios school boards are being asked to plan for to get kids back to school:
- 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. This model would require an alternate day or alternate week delivery to a segment of the class at one time.
- 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. Remote education should be delivered online to the greatest extent possible, including the establishment of minimum expectations for students to have direct contact with their teacher at the same time on a regular basis, also known as synchronous learning. Synchronous learning can be used as part of whole-class instruction, in smaller groups of students, and/or in a one-on-one context.
Each school board in Ontario will be able to build their own plan based on what makes sense in their communities. Those plans will be based on the three possible scenarios and will be reviewed by the province in order to make sure they follow the guidance from the Ministry of Health. The plans must be submitted by August 4th for this review. School boards will then have to provide parents and students with the plan for safety, guidance on health and safety measures and protocols, and any other changes for the 2020/2021 school year.
Ford says parents will be given a choice of whether or not to send children back to school, “You have a choice if you don’t feel comfortable or you’re worried you can keep your child at home and we will keep at home learning available.”