As well as students, staff and administrators are still adjusting to the return of in-class learning.

Students have been back in their classrooms as of September 2. Elementary students have been placed in cohorts with one designated teacher, while secondary school students have two in-person classes.

“We’re thrilled to have students back face-to-face and in classrooms,” said Director of Education for the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board, Sherri-Lynne Pharand, during a KPDSB board meeting earlier this week.

“I’ve had the opportunity to be in schools over the last few weeks. Just the happy buzz of kids learning together is so rewarding. We really hope that in our area, COVID-19 numbers stay low and students can stay in school.”

Students and staff have a number of new COVID-19 prevention measures to help ensure as safe a return as possible. These new measures include mask or face coverings for staff and Grade 1 to 12 students inside schools and on school buses.

Remote learning is also continuing for a segment of students. At this time last year, Pharand says over 1,000 students were learning virtually. Now, just under 50 students – largely from northern, isolated communities – are learning remotely. Pharand says they’re working on a return to school plan for these students as well with additional vaccinations and boarding homes.

Pharand notes the board is also thrilled to see a significant increase in elementary and secondary school enrollments this year, ahead of projections. The board is seeing an additional 500 elementary students than what was anticipated, along with over 100 secondary school students.

“That’s really good news. It speaks to the confidence that our families place in us as the KPDSB. We’re so pleased to welcome students and families to our KP family.”

All students and staff members are reminded that you must self-screen using Ontario’s School Screening Tool for COVID-19 symptoms before coming to KPDSB schools or before boarding a school bus each day. Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms or an illness must stay home.