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Catholic board unveils return to school plan

The Nipissing Parry Sound Catholic District School Board has unveiled its plans for the upcoming school year.

The 26-page plan outlines what classrooms and instruction will look like from kindergarten through Grade 12, working within provincial and public health guidelines.

Here is a summary of what has been outlined in the plan:

Models for learning:

The school board has adopted two models for education that could be fluidly switched between based on provincial and public health recommendations.

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Model 1:

Full in-class instruction with a focus of not mixing student cohorts. One teacher is assigned to one class with as much instruction as possible being done within the cohort. Specialty subjects such as music, physical education and second-language courses will still be taught by those specialized instructors

Model 2:

Smaller in-class cohorts running on an alternating schedule. If the school board is directed to, class cohorts will be split in half with a 10-day cycle in place. Cohort A will attend on alternating days from Cohort B, with instruction still being issued from the same teacher.

Symptoms of COVID or a positive case:

Students and staff will be expected to self-assess every day for symptoms of COVID-19. If a teacher or student is showing symptoms at school, they and anyone else at the school whom they share a household with will be sent home for the day.

If someone at the school tests positive for COVID-19, the family must notify the teacher and/or principal. They are expected to quarantine for at least 14 days and will not be allowed to return to the school without written documentation from the local health unit.

Face masks:

Face masks will be required for all students from Grades 4-12. Students in kindergarten to grade 3 will be encouraged to wear masks, but not required. Masks will be provided to students who do not have one. Face shields and medical-grade masks will be provided to teachers.

Mask breaks will be implemented so long as physical distancing can be achieved.

Physical distancing:

Staff and students will also be required to physical distance where possible in addition to wearing a face mask. Classrooms will be arranged to provide as much space between students during instruction as possible.

Cleaning measures:

Commonly-touched surfaces will be cleaned with designated cleaning supplies that are provided to the school board. In kindergarten classes, the number of toys will be reduced. Science and technology equipment will be shared among class cohorts with proper disinfecting being done in between.

Common areas:

Washrooms will have signage and limits of users implemented. Physical education will still be in place for classes, with a focus on physically-distanced activities in the gymnasium. Change room access will be limited to ensure safety.

Library access will still be available to classroom cohorts with a strict scheduling system being put in place.

Students will eat their lunches in their classrooms so as not to crowd cafeteria areas. Washing of hands will be encouraged before lunchtime, which will also be staggered among the classroom cohorts.

Parents are encouraged to provide their children with a labelled water bottle. Students use water fountains to refill their bottles, but drinking directly from the fountain will not be permitted.

Cubbies and lockers will still be available for students to put personal belongings but are encouraged to pack lightly and label all possessions.


Recognizing that physical distancing is difficult to enforce, there will be an attempt to implement no-touch rules in classrooms.

Stuffed toys will be removed from classrooms along with other toys, with a focus to maintain play-based learning.

Elementary schools:

There will be an effort to reduce the interaction between class cohorts. This includes staggering recesses and lunch breaks at different times throughout the day. Students will remain with their

High schools:

High school students will be taking their classes in four quadmesters, consisting of two credits each. Students will sit in one class for the morning block and another class in the afternoon.

Their classes will change every nine weeks.

The quadmester plan is in place for the fall, with the potential that it be revised in the winter.

Designated lunch breaks for cohorts will also be put in place.


Non-contact team sports will be permitted within a classroom cohort. Inter-school team sports are still put on hold until further direction from the province.


If a parent elects not to send their child to class, the school will provide adequate online learning to meet the province’s curriculum requirements.

For the full reopening plan, visit:

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