Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce has outlined three possible ways that schools will reopen this September.
The first option is to resume in-person classes with strict precautions, such as the use of personal protective equipment (PPE). This option was recommended by Sick Kids Hospital in a report released earlier this week. Medical professionals believe that returning to school is crucial to the mental and behavioural development of children.
The second option is to continue distance learning with the 2020-2021 school year being delivered online. This option will be taken if the risk of contracting COVID-19 remains significant.
The final option is to implement a hybrid model. This may include attending physical classes on alternating days, in groups of less than 15 students. Material will be delivered online, as well as in classes. If parents do not feel comfortable sending their children to school, they may continue e-learning without classroom instruction.
During the press conference, Minister Lecce stated that school boards must “be ready for every scenario.” At the end of September, the model will be re-evaluated. As conditions improve, school boards will be allowed to return to a conventional classroom experience.
The Ford government has invested $730 million to ensure that schools are safe to reopen. Funding will be provided to purchase PPE and hand sanitizer. They have also increased funding for technology by $15 million dollars to purchase electronic devices for students in Ontario.
More information will be provided throughout the summer as provided by school boards in Peel Region.