COVID-19: What to Expect When Kids Go Back to School in September
As the start of a new school year is just a month away, many of you may be wondering what school is going to look like for kids this year, as COVID-19 is still a global concern. Within recent news, the Ministry of Ontario has declared that schools will be reopening come September with some additional safety measures. With these new safety procedures in place, school is going to look quite different than before. Kids will have to be prepared for these new changes and adapt accordingly.
Here are some of the safety measures outlined by the Ontario Government that will be implemented in elementary schools beginning this September:
In-Person Learning (Optional)
For many parents, sending their children back to school is of concern since COVID-19 is still an ongoing issue nationally as well as globally. However, parents do have the option to choose whether or not they would like to have their kids return to school in person or continue online learning. This allows parents to decide what is best for their families. If online learning is chosen, parents will not be able to send their children back to school in person until a designated time is specified by the school board.
As masks are required in any public indoor space in Ontario, schools will be no exception to this rule. In elementary schools in Ontario, kids within the grades of 4 and up will be required to wear a mask for the entirety of the school day. Children in younger grades (Kindergarten to Grade 3) are strongly encouraged to wear a mask while in school. Masks are expected to be provided by the parents to their children.
Hand sanitizing will become a regular activity within each school day. Hand sanitizing stations will be set up in each classroom and at the front of the school. Children will have to sanitize their hands before and after class, lunch, and recess, as well as after using the bathroom and using shared classroom resources.
Parents will be required to monitor their kids for any COVID-19 symptoms each day before sending them to school. If a child is showing any COVID-19 symptoms, they are required to stay home from school. Here is an example of a COVID-19 self-assessment instructional sheet provided by York Region Public Health.
Similar to what is included in grocery stores currently, the same directional signs/stickers will be implemented in schools. These stickers will be placed on the floor to direct walking traffic within the school. This safety measure is to help reduce close contact between students as they make their way around the school.
These are simply just a few of the many changes that will be included within the start of this new school year. While it may be difficult for kids to adjust to these new safety measures, these changes are ultimately for the students’ benefit and to prevent the spread of COVID-19. It may be beneficial to help prepare your kids for these changes before school starts, so that they know what is required of them before they return back to school.
For more information about school safety procedures and measures with regard to COVID-19, visit your local school board’s website or the Ministry of Ontario’s website.