The Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB) released its back-to-school framework on August 27, answering questions about the state of schools on September 7. Most students are expected to return to the classroom, but remote learning will also be available, with the option of synchronous or asynchronous learning. Synchronous teaching will occur simultaneously in-class and over Microsoft Teams. There will be no non-digital remote option for students.
All students from Grades 1 to 12 will wear face masks while indoors at school, and Kindergarteners are encouraged but not required to do the same. Elementary schools will return to the “cohort” model this year, which will include recess for Kindergarten to Grade 6 students. Grades 7 and 8 will not require cohorting during recess due to the recent availability of the Pfizer vaccine for that age group. High schools will employ the “quadmester” system for the beginning of the year, meaning two 150-minute classes per day.
Lockers and hooks can be used outside of classrooms in public board schools, but only for personal belongings. Cafeterias will resume hot lunch and student nutrition programs, but all physical distancing and cohorts must be observed inside. Modified sports, field trips, and music programs will all return. Details of the modifications to extracurricular programs will be available through individual schools.
In the event of a COVID case being reported in school, unvaccinated individuals that come into contact will have to isolate for 10 days and provide at least two negative tests. Vaccinated individuals will not need to isolate and only require one negative test before returning to school.
“If there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 at your school, families will be notified. The health unit will do an investigation at the school to determine if there is any risk to other staff or students,” states the UCDSB advisory.