Staff with the Kenora Catholic District School Board and Keewatin-Patricia District School Board are now working to finalize their plans for a return to school in September, after Ontario provided more details on safety measures and online classes last week.

Ontario says elementary and intermediate schools will reopen province-wide with in-class instruction. Secondary schools will reopen with alternating part-time attendance and online classes. All students from Grades 4 to 12 will be required to wear a mask at all times, and in-person classes will be voluntary.

The Kenora Catholic District School Board says all staff and students will be required to self-screen every day before school, and will be given a checklist to perform self-assessment tools for any symptoms of COVID-19.

Additional hand hygiene stations will be installed and training will be provided. There will also be heightened cleaning practices, and any shared items would be sanitized. Schools will be limiting visitors, and physical distancing will be promoted as much as possible.

The Keewatin-Patricia District School Board adds that elementary class sizes will not be reduced, but students will remain with their classes and teachers as a cohort all day, with staggered lunches and recesses to ensure students remain within their cohort.

Student cohort groups will also be in effect in secondary schools, which the KPDSB says may impact the traditional four-course delivery model. Physical distancing will be enforced wherever possible, and additional hand washing stations have been installed.

The KPDSB also says heightened cleaning measures will remain in place until further notice, and any shared items will be sanitized. Shared spaces like cafeterias and the gym will also remain open.

Both school boards add they’ll continue working with each other, the Ministry of Education, the Northwestern Health Unit and the Northwestern Ontario Student Services Consortium on safety measures and protocols.

For the 2020-2021 school year in northwestern Ontario, students’ first day for classes will be September 3. The last day for elementary classes will be June 25. For secondary school students, semester 1 exams are set for January 25 to 28, and semester 2 exams will run between June 21 and 25.

For more information:
Ontario preparing for return to school in September
School year calendar approved, despite uncertainty about September return