#childsafety | Back to school Q and A: Learning in a pandemic

YRDSB: No. We have been working with our local public health unit to ensure appropriate measures are put in place to protect students and staff members. 

YCDSB: Classrooms have been set up following directives and guidelines we received from York Region Public Health. This includes physical distancing of desks/students, wearing masks, teacher supervision and other measures. Plastic desk shields are not part of that. 

5.      How will teachers monitor study hall to ensure it doesn’t become social hour

YRDSB: Study hall is for secondary students who require access to internet and they will be expected to participate in the online course. Supervision will focus on participants’ adherence to all public health requirements, including sitting two metres apart only with students in their morning class.

YCDSB: Secondary study halls will provide students with space to attend online periods using the school Wi-Fi. Students must exercise physical distancing and will be supervised by a member of staff.

6.      Are students expected to sit at the computer for three classes in a row? Does the online schedule factor in time to stand up and stretch, rest eyes or grab a drink?

YRDSB: Yes, there is time factored in for students to take a break between periods. 

YCDSB: Remote learning schedules will include breaks in between lessons.

7.      Will public health nurses will be going into schools on a regular basis testing for asymptomatic cases? Will parents be asked for permission? Will it be mandatory?

Ontario Ministry of Health says the plan on surveillance testing in schools is currently in development. A spokesperson says further information will be available “shortly.” In the meantime: 

YRDSB: Public health has stated that no testing can occur without parental consent for those under 18 years of age. 

YCDSB: The school re-entry plan was developed within the Ministry of Education and York Region Public Health directives. We have not received direction to test asymptomatic high school students, and therefore, it is not part of our re-entry plan at this time.

8.      If a child comes home and says someone wasn’t wearing a mask, how should parents respond?

YRDSB: Like most issues, start by addressing it with the classroom teacher. There is a process for families to request an exemption from wearing a mask, for example, due to certain health conditions.

YCDSB: A mask accommodation may be considered for individuals with a medical condition or with special education needs, which may make it difficult to wear a mask. Teachers will be made aware of students who have a mask accommodation. If a child does not want to and does not have a mask accommodation, he/she will need to choose remote learning. If a parent has a concern about mask wearing in the classroom, they should contact their child’s teacher.

9.      How many classroom/lunchroom volunteers have cancelled this fall and how will you compensate for their missing help?

YRDSB: The board is currently advertising for the position of lunchroom assistants. There is a plan in place to ensure supervision of students throughout the school day, including during lunch. 

YCDSB: Lunchtime supervisors who are employed by the board will continue to support classrooms. In addition, trustees approved a list of new investments of almost $21 million to support the safe reopening of schools. 

10.    How are schools planning to keep pickup and drop-off time from turning into chaos as access is restricted and families opt out of bus transportation?

YRDSB: Staying safe and healthy requires everyone’s participation. While schools will see a reduction due to students participating in remote learning, it’s important that everyone follow the rules at drop-off and pickup times. 

YCDSB: Individual schools have notified parents of changes to their pickup and drop-off routines. It is preferred that kiss-and-ride loops are reserved for kindergarten and primary grade students. Families are encouraged to park their car a few blocks away and walk the rest of the way to school.




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