Waterloo Region health officials to work on back-to-school plan
KITCHENER -- Region of Waterloo Public Health officials are starting to work on a plan to send kids back to school in September.
Students are expected to return to the classroom after Labour Day.
Local school boards have to submit their plans by Aug. 4 for provincial approval. Waterloo Region's Acting Medical Officer of Health Dr. Hsiu Li Wang said that's when she'll step in to help.
"The local public health [unit] will be involved with issues of implementation and clarification that are specific to our settings in the region," she said at the region's COVID-19 update on Friday.
Education Minister Stephen Lecce said health officials will ultimately be responsible for deciding the best option for their regions. If students do go back for in-class learning, it will look much different than it did before the pandemic.
Cathy Abraham, president of the Ontario Public School Board Association, said students might go into the classroom on alternating days. If classes are capped at 15 students per classroom, creating space by moving classes to churches and community centres could also be an option.
"As far as using community spaces, absolutely," Abraham said. "I'm not sure that works logistically, but that is, of course, an option."
Last month, the provincial government told school boards to prepare for three scenarios -- classroom learning, virtual learning or a combination of the two.
As COVID-19 cases continue to drop across the province, there's more hope for in-class learning.
The province also says parents won't need to send their children to school if they feel uncomfortable about the pandemic.