WINDSOR, ONT. -- As summer comes to an end, students and teachers are preparing to head back to a very different looking school year.

The Greater Essex County District School Board released the details of its back to school plan for 36,000 students across the region to return to school with new COVID-19 health and safety measures in place.

Elementary students within the GECDSB boards will return to school five days a week for a full day of classes. Kids will be in cohorts to minimize the number of contacts. All students in grades four to eight will also be required to wear a mask, while it is “highly recommended” for the younger students as well, the board’s back to school plan states.

The GECDSB is one of 24 designated school boards that will operate on an adapted learning model for high school. This will involve a combination of in-class and online learning. All students will be required to wear face masks and they will be divided into two cohorts.

Students, both elementary and secondary, may choose to learn from home through a teacher-led online learning program. Guardians will be asked to choose whether or not to send their kids to school the week of Aug. 10 to Aug. 17 through an online survey.

The public board plan states as per Ministry of Education direction, parents and guardians who opt out of in-class learning will have “very limited opportunities within the school year to switch their child’s learning model from at-home learning to in-person, classroom learning.”

Should elementary students choose to move from distant to in-person classes they will only be able to do so at the end of the first term. While high school students can do so at the end of each “quadmester.”

The school board is dividing high school semester’s into two quads. Students will work on two courses for 44 or 45 days. Classes will be 150 minutes long and exams will follow at the end of each quad. Students and guardians can choose between an adapted in-school model where cohorts will alternate or a fully at-home learning model.

As far as outside of classroom activities, many will not be happening at this time.

The school board plan states there will not be any field trips planned for now, team spots will be cancelled, there will be no organized sports permitted, no school assemblies and lunch and nutrition breaks will be held in the classroom. Outdoor recess will be provided, but may be staggered.