Shomporko Desk: Ontario is setting up a 3-scenario plan for returning kids to schools across the province, ranging from online learning only to a full resumption of regular class with some distancing measures put in place.
“We are tasking school boards to produce three plans, to prepare for any circumstance that gets thrown at us,” Education Minister Stephen Lecce said.
Based on the prevalence of COVID-19 infections in September, Education Minister Stephen Lecce says school boards will be given the option of:
- A full resumption of regular in-class instruction, with strict public health measures, similar to what was recommended by Sick Kids Hospital.
- A mixed model of students attending class on alternating days or weeks, “cohorted” into groups of no more than 15, with alternating bells and online learning for the days they’re not in class.
- Online-only learning with live instruction by teachers if the risk of contracting COVID-19 is deemed to be too great.
Lecce said individual boards and local public health officers will able to decide what option to select in September, with most boards likely starting with the mixed model.
He said each board will receive additional funding to cover adjustments needed due to COVID-19.
“Should Ontario continue to flatten the curve and continue to make gains we will allow the school board to move closer to the conventional classroom experience, with stringent health and safety protocols in place,” Lecce said.
Premier Ford said that any parent who doesn’t feel comfortable sending their child to school in September will continue to be allowed to participate in online learning.
“You need certainty but if you don’t feel comfortable – we will keep at-home learning available for your child.”
Lecce said he understood that a staggered, alternating attendance model would pose challenges for parents working full-time, but he said the government’s priority was to not turn the resumption of schooling into a driver of COVID-19 infection.
Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation President Harvey Bischof said Lecce’s plan, especially the mixed class and online model, was little more than “a couple of bare-bones principles” and not a plan.
He said the ideas such as the “cohorting” of 15 students together with one teacher throughout the day make no sense in the high school setting.
Photo credit: Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press
News source: CP24