Students from Kenora and surrounding areas will trade in their laptops for a textbook this fall, as in-class learning returns for the 2021-2022 school year.

This comes after the provincial government laid out the guidelines on Tuesday for a safe back-to-school plan for students for this upcoming school year.

“Were excited to welcome our students back to school on the first day. Kenora Catholic is preparing for a safe return-to-school in September and we’re looking forward to a gradual return to regular learning and more normal routines, said Paul White, Director of Education for the Kenora Catholic District School Board

“We’re planning for a conventional in-person school opening of teaching and instruction, with enhanced safety protocols to keep schools safe for in-person learning,” added White

The KCDSB will work closely with the Northwestern Health Unit to ensure COVID-19 practices are being met and ensure a safe return-to-school for the students, staff, and teachers.

Mask or face coverings are required to be worn for grades 1 to 12 inside schools and while on school transportation.

Elementary schools students will attend in-person learning five days a week and students will be placed in cohorts and will have one designated teacher. White added that the KCDSB will try to allow cohorting to work while kids are in the classrooms.

Secondary school students will be in class five days a week and school boards will ensure students have two in-person classes.

Extra-curricular activities such as outdoor team sports, clubs, music programs, day and overnight trips are allowed to resume with appropriate physical distancing and according to provincial guidance.

In addition to in-class returning, the Ontario government has committed an additional $25 million to improve school ventilation systems to assure all students, staff, and teachers are protected from COVID-19.

All occupied classrooms, gyms, libraries, and other instructional spaces without mechanical ventilation have standalone high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter units in place when students are back in class, including Junior and Senior Kindergarten classrooms in mechanically ventilated schools to recognize that the youngest learners will not be wearing masks in the classroom.

“We are going to be implementing new ventilation systems and have them in place for the first day of school. We want to make sure our kids are as safe as possible during these times,” says White

The first day of school for the KCDSB is scheduled to be September 2, 2021.