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TDSB reveals new plan to reopen schools

The Toronto District School Board has unveiled their plan to safely reopen schools, less than a week after the Ontario government announced their strategy.

During Tuesday’s Special Committee of the Whole meeting, the school board released what it is calling, “Returning to school: A guide to the safe reopening of the TDSB.”

When it comes to class sizes for it’s elementary and secondary schools, TDSB says it will work to ensure that it does not have overly large class sizes to minimize risk.

The Ontario government is requiring the most densely populated school boards have class cohorts of approximately 15 students for high schools with either alternate days or alternate schedules.

TDSB’s plan for high school students includes class cohorts of approximately 15 students with physical distancing in-class and at home learning. The at-home learning will be supported by either the application Brightspace or Google Classroom.

Students would be on a four-day schedule in which, while cohort A is in school, cohort B would be doing home learning with students. This would switch the next day and have students completing two subjects per semester on a quadmester approach.

The schedule, tweeted out by trustee Shelley Laskin, can be seen below:

Elementary students would be attending school five days a week with 300 instructional minutes, according to TDSB’s plan.

This follows the same plan as the provincial government which said, for students in kindergarten to Grade 8, they will be expected to attend class five days a week but will be placed in one cohort for the entire day, which will include recess and lunch.

The over 50-page guide also includes a number of safety measures.

The board says before coming to school, all staff and students are expected to conduct a self-assessment for COVID-19 symptoms. Once they arrive at school, a second screening will be conducted.

Students may wear their own non-medical masks, and non-medical masks will also be made available for students and teachers. Reasonable exceptions on the requirement to wear masks will also apply.

Classrooms will be organized to encourage the maximum space between students while floors will be marked with stickers to designate a one-way traffic flow and signage will be placed throughout the building to reinforce safety protocols.

The matter will be discussed further at a special board meeting on Thursday.