BY SOUTHGREY.CA STAFF — Just a couple of weeks away from the end of the school year, Stephen Lecce, the Ontario Minister of Education released a letter to parents.
In it he states, "Earlier today, I announced our government’s plan for the safe reopening of schools. While Ontario is clearly on a positive trajectory in terms of our response to the COVID-19 outbreak, my objective is to make sure that the education system is safely prepared for all potential scenarios come September.
With that in mind, I have directed all school boards to plan for three scenarios:
A return to conventional, regular classroom instruction, with health and safety requirements,
A continuation of remote learning, including the use of live, synchronous online instruction
An adapted delivery model that enables students to return to class with blended virtual learning, that includes health and safety requirements that will limit the maximum number of students to 15 per class.
We hope that public health situation will continue to improve and allow school boards to enter a conventional classroom experience, once it is safe to do so. Local and regional health authorities – in conjunction with a Ministry of Education established table of medical experts – will help shape the way forward, to ensure the realities on the ground within your communities are best reflected."
To give parents a choice, in-class in-person participation will be voluntary. The Learn At Home program will be expanded upon with more access to technology for more families, and regular synchronous live learning.
Increased cleaning protocols will take place in the schools with financial support to hire custodial staff.
There will be additional funding for supports for student mental health. Students will have direct access to mental health professionals.
"The school restart plan also prioritizes supports for students with special education needs, including advance planning for a smooth transition to school, a requirement that Individual Education Plans (IEPs) and Identification, Placement and Review Committees (IPRCs) are followed, along with the direction that boards plan for full-time in-class instruction for students with the most significant levels of needs. We are also asking boards to work with
local partners including Children’s Treatment Centres so that students have access to the supports they need to succeed," the letter also stated.
Every school board will get a funding increase, to prepare for the year ahead, according to the letter.
Finally, Lecce, thanked Ontario parents, education staff, and communities for the support, ideas and commitment to the safety of schools and student success.
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