This is the back-to-school plan for Windsor-Essex students
WINDSOR, ONT. -- Windsor-Essex school staff, students and parents have a better picture of what back-to-school will look like this fall.
Ontario premier Doug Ford and Education Minister Stephen Lecce unveiled plans today on how schools will reopen in September.
The province says elementary students in Kindergarten through Grade 8 will attend school five days per week. Secondary schools in the Greater Essex County District School Board and Windsor-Essex Catholic School Board will open on an adapted model, with class cohorts of approximately 15 students and a mix of online and in-person learning.
Students in Grade 4 to 12 will be required to wear non-medical or cloth masks while in school. Students in Kindergarten to Grade 3 will be encouraged but not required to wear masks in common spaces.
Medical masks will be provided for teachers and all other school staff.
"This plan reflects the best medical and scientific advice with a single aim: to keep your child safe," said Lecce. "While this plan will continue to evolve to respond to the changing threat of COVID-19, we will remain constant and consistent in investing in the resources, staffing, and cleaning supports, and strict health and safety protocols to keep our communities and our classrooms safe."
Windsor-Essex public and Catholic boards say they will take the next week to finalize their plans for the new school year.
Parents can make decisions regarding in-person attendance for their children for this school year and will have the option of remote learning, delivered by school boards.
There will also be enhanced cleaning and safety protocols in place.
Elementary and high school teachers’ unions in Windsor-Essex are weighing in on Ontario’s back-to school plan.
Greater Essex ETFO president Mario Spagnuolo says he’s ‘quite concerned’ about elementary students return to class.
The announcement came six weeks before back-to-school season. The province's 72 school boards were initially asked to outline their plans for the academic year by next week.
Ford and Lecce were joined by Associate Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Barbara Yaffe for the announcement at 1 p.m. in Whitby.
The Ontario government released the following information on reopening:
Elementary School Reopening
- Elementary school children in Kindergarten through Grade 8 will attend school 5 days per week, with one cohort for the full day, including recess and lunch.
- Enhanced health and safety protocols will be in place.
- •chool boards will provide the full range of elementary curriculum.
Secondary School Reopening
- All school boards will adopt secondary timetabling methods that emphasize cohorting of students as much as possible, to limit the number of student-to-student contacts.
- Secondary schools in designated school boards, including WECDSB and GECDSB, will open on an adapted model, with class cohorts of approximately 15 students, attending on alternate days, or alternate schedules that would represent in person attendance for at least 50 per cent of instructional days.
- Secondary schools in non-designated school boards will be permitted to open with daily attendance by students. Secondary schools in these boards typically have smaller enrolment.
Ontario is spending $300 million on several initiatives, including:
- $60 million in procurement of medical and cloth masks for students and staff
- $30 million for teacher staffing to support supervision, keeping classes small and other safety related measures
- $50 million to hire up to 500 additional school-focused nurses in public health units to provide rapid-response support to schools and boards
- $23 million to provide testing capacity to keep schools safe
- $75 million to hire over 900 additional custodians and purchase cleaning supplies for schools
- $40 million to clean school buses
- $10 million to support student mental health
With files from CTV News Toronto multi-platform writer Sean Davidson