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.