WRDSB prepares multiple back to school models, with province set to announce reopening plans
KITCHENER -- Ontario's premier will unveil plans on how schools will reopen in September on Thursday, as the Waterloo Region District School Board prepares for three possible scenarios.
The Ford government has previously asked school boards to prepare three separate plans for the resumption of classes – online learning only, a hybrid model with children attending classes in-person on alternating days or weeks and the fulltime resumption of in-person instruction.
Waterloo Region's public school trustees heard an extensive presentation on the school board's back-to-school plan earlier this week.
The presentation on Monday included plans on getting buildings and classrooms ready for learning during and after the pandemic.
The school board is looking at staggered schedules and quadmesters for students. Schools may need signs and barriers to maintain physical distancing, and the school board is planning on having more cleaning staff and supplies.
In a budget discussion, staff recommended an $8-million plan to get the buildings ready to welcome back students. The money would cover things like personal protective equipment, signs and added cleaning.
Staff also told trustees they're working to make sure older schools with different window and air circulation systems can accommodate health concerns.
"We're going to make sure we have measures in place to make sure those are as comfortable as we can possibly make them, to make sure students are in a position where they're able to learn, while also minimizing the spread of the virus," said Matthew Gerard, coordinating superintendent and board treasurer.
Trustees will get to look at a full proposed budget for next school year, including reopening costs, on Aug. 10.
The province is set to unveil details on what school will look like in the fall on Thursday, including details on whether or not students will be required to wear masks.
Schools in Ontario have been closed since March to help slow the spread of COVID-19.