Catholic board un­veils re­turn to school plan


Manda­tory face masks, stag­gered start times, as­signed en­trances and daily screen­ing will be part of the new nor­mal for Catholic school stu­dents re­turn­ing to class in Septem­ber.

The Wind­sor Es­sex Catholic Dis­trict School Board re­leased its Re­turn to School Plan on Tues­day, which was the prov­ince’s dead­line for all boards to have their strate­gies ready.

Classes start Sept. 8. But re­turn­ing to school will be vol­un­tary, ac­cord­ing to the re­port, with re­mote learn­ing avail­able for stu­dents whose par­ents choose not to send them in per­son.

Stu­dents from kinder­garten to Grade 3 will be en­cour­aged, but not re­quired, to wear masks. All stu­dents from Grade 4 and up must wear them.

There will ini­tially be no ex­tracur­ric­u­lar ac­tiv­i­ties or as­sem­blies. Cafe­te­rias will be closed.

El­e­men­tary schools will run full days, five days a week. Stu­dents will be as­signed des­ig­nated en­trances and ex­its. They must go di­rectly to their des­ig­nated door and en­ter their class­room as soon as they ar­rive. Re­cess times will be stag­gered and play­ground struc­tures will be closed.

Sec­ondary stu­dents will re­ceive their sched­ules by email. They will at­tend school in a “quadmester” struc­ture of two pe­ri­ods a day in­stead of the usual four. Each pe­riod will be about 150 min­utes.

Sec­ondary stu­dents will be on a two-week al­ter­nat­ing sched­ule, with three days in the first week and two days in the sec­ond week.

On the days stu­dents are not at school, they will be ex­pected to “at­tend on­line.”

En­trance and safety pro­to­cols will be com­mu­ni­cated through prin­ci­pals be­fore the start of the school year. Sec­ondary class sizes will be lim­ited to about 15 stu­dents, ex­cept when the size of the room al­lows for more peo­ple.

Phys­i­cal dis­tanc­ing will be en­forced in all com­mon ar­eas. This will in­clude stag­ger­ing start and end times to avoid crowded hall­ways. Staff mem­bers who are reg­u­larly in close con­tact with stu­dents will be pro­vided per­sonal pro­tec­tive equip­ment.

Daily screen­ing will be re­quired to make sure staff and stu­dents don’t have COVID-19 symp­toms. Any stu­dent who shows symp­toms while at school will be im­me­di­ately sep­a­rated from oth­ers.

Only “es­sen­tial vis­i­tors” will be al­lowed to en­ter the schools, and only with an ap­point­ment. Par­ents will not be al­lowed in­side schools un­less it’s an emer­gency. Schools will also keep de­tailed records of classes, trans­ported stu­dents and vis­i­tors read­ily avail­able.

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