KITCHENER -- The province has yet to decide what school will look like in September, but a small segment of students in Waterloo Region will return to the classroom no matter what.

The Waterloo Region District School Board said many special education students will come back for in-person learning in the fall.

Board officials said students with complex learning challenges need to be back at school, since many have difficulties with online learning. The students also need close contact with their teachers and some may need specialized equipment that's only available at the schools.

The school board said teachers and educational assistants will need to wear masks and possibly face shields if they're working in close contact with students.

While it will take a lot of planning, the school board said it needs to be done to help the students be successful.

"It's so important for them to establish routines and to establish consistent practices for them to attend school," Superintendent Scott Miller said. "These students are always top priority for us and we are always striving to achieve that we are providing an inclusive and accessible education for them."

The policy is included in recommendations laid out by the Ministry of Education and will likely be similar to other school boards across Ontario.