Ontario government unveils back-to-school plan for students

Ontario has released its guidelines for reopening schools in September.

All elementary schools will open for in-person teaching five days a week.

This applies to students from kindergarten to grade 8.

These students will remain in one cohort for the full day, including recess and lunch.

Recesses and lunches will be staggered to maintain these cohorts.

The province says parents will have the option to opt their children out of in-person teaching.

Things will look different for secondary school students, depending on the school board.

Some will open for in-school teaching, five days a week.

Others will return to class on an adapted model that includes cohorts of about 15 students on alternating schedules.

The schedules will include at least 50 per cent of in-class instructional days.

These students will do independent work on remote learning days.

The government says that decision is based on the number and size of the schools, the size of the student body and whether the board is predominantly urban.

Public and Catholic school boards in Hamilton, Halton and Niagara have been designated to follow this adaptive model.

The government says they will be given notice to move into conventional in-school delivery when it is safe to do so.

Most schools in Ontario will open for students on September 8, 2020.


Students in grades 4 to 12 will be required to wear masks when indoors on school property.

The province says “reasonable exceptions” will be made and masks will be made available to students who don’t have their own.

Students in kindergarten to grade 3 will be encouraged but not required to wear masks.

Staff who are regularly in close contact with students will be provided with personal protective equipment (PPE).


The government says it will provide school boards with PPE and cleaning products.

Additional school custodians and enhanced cleaning supplies for schools and buses will be provided.

All school-based staff will be required to participate in health and safety training prior to reopening.

Staff and students must self-screen every day before attending school.

Physical distancing will be encouraged.

Schools are being asked to remove unnecessary furniture in classrooms to facilitate distancing.


Extra Funding

The province says it’s providing $309 million in new investments to ensure a safe reopening.

That money will be spent on PPE and cleaning supplies, additional teaching positions and custodians, additional supports for students with special education needs, funding for testing and mental health supports.

Tune in tonight at 6 p.m. for more on this story, including reaction from parents. 


  1. Why is covid-19 testing for all students and teachers not being required? Also, there is no process in place and no consistency when it comes to e-learning and the use of webx, microsoft meetings or other meeting software should be considered for e-learning.

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