Earlier today, Minister of Education Stephen Lecce announced that schools in Ontario will reopen in the new school year and offered three scenarios that could be implemented, depending on the public health situation at the time. They also announced that return to school will be voluntary and up to families. For those who choose not to send their child(ren) back to school, school boards will continue to offer distance learning. According to the Ministry of Education, this requirement will be in place for as long as public health circumstances require adapted delivery of education.
School boards have been asked to plan for the following scenarios:
- 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 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. Distance learning is expected to 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.
Plans must adhere to health and safety guidelines and include the use of personal protective equipment. They could include alternate day or alternate week attendance, staggered bell times and recess, and different transportation arrangements, among a variety of other considerations to ensure the safety of students and staff.
To learn more about the Ministry of Education's approach to reopening schools for the 2020-21 school year, visit their website. There you will find information on:
We know that students, staff and families are eager to learn more specific details about what the new school year will look like in Peel District School Board schools. As you can imagine, planning will take some time as there are many complex considerations that must be carefully reviewed to help ensure a safe return for all. As we plan for your return, health and safety will be a key priority.
We expect plans to be finalized over the summer and will share details with you as soon as we can so that you can begin your own planning. We are aware that our balanced calendar schools, scheduled to open in August, need this information sooner.
Please stay connected over the summer. We will share information with staff, students and families by email, post updates on the board's website and school websites, and share information on the board's Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts.
Please find a letter from Minister of Education Stephen Lecce here.
Thank you for your ongoing understanding and grace as we continue to address all of the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic has presented.