Confusion and apprehension as parents begin to think what they want to do with their children when school opens in September

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

August 3rd, 2020



A report published in the Washington Post (certainly a reputable news source) told of a summer camp in the State of Georgia where:

“Some 260 campers and staff tested positive out of 344 test results available.

“Among those ages 6-10, 51 percent got the virus; from 11-17 years old, 44 percent, and 18-21 years old, 33 percent. The campers did a lot of singing and shouting; did not wear face masks; windows were not opened for ventilation, although other precautions were taken.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concluded that the virus “spread efficiently in a youth-centric overnight setting, resulting in high attack rates among persons in all age groups,” many showing no symptoms.”

It is happening and it is something that needs to be heeded.

Later this month the Halton District School Board will have something to say to the parents who send their children to the 105 schools in the Region.

Stuart Miller

Halton District School Board Director of Education Stuart Miller. Facing the biggest challenge ever as an educator.

All elementary students will attend classes five days a week. The students will stay in the classroom; teachers will move from classroom to classroom.

The students in each class will stay as a group during recess and lunch. It is not clear yet if teachers will be required to wear PPE.

Grades 4 to 12 will be required to wear masks in the classroom

Also not clear yet is how the school bus service will operate.

The province set out the rules: Elementary students in class five days a week; secondary students will be in classes half of each day. The second half will be done at home and on line.

The Gazette asked the Director of Education for a comment on the provincial decision and told us that they did not yet have the technical requirements from the province. That technical data was public on Friday.

The school board administration will be sending a survey to parents to learn what each family plans to do now that the rules from the province are clear.

There will be a lot of questions from the parents.

Senior school board staff worked hard to put together data for their presentation to Ministry of Education officials on Tuesday of last week where they had to explain how they would handle the three scenarios the province defined:

Full time classes – both elementary and secondary

All teaching done remotely

An Alternative approach that is a combination of the other two scenarios.

Many people were surprised when the province opted for opening up the existing classrooms for elementary students – some of those classes have 30 students.

These are trying days for parents, for the school board administrators who have to manage what is going to be a major challenge and for trustees who are not prepared for the onslaught of public complaints that will directed to them.

It is a situation that has to be closely monitored.

  • Students in grade 4-12 will be required to wear masks with exceptions for things like eating.
  • Mask exemptions will be accommodated for those with valid reasons such as respiratory challenges.
  • For students in JK-Grade 3, masks will be optional but encouraged.
  • Schools will implement additional hand hygiene, cohorting, and distancing.
  • Visitors in schools will be limited and will require pre-registration.
  • Masks will be provided to teachers and staff.
  • If a student or staff member is experiencing any symptoms of the COVID-19, they will be required to stay home.
  • Physical distancing will be implemented as much as possible.
  • Parents are allowed to decide whether their child returns to school in-person this September.
  • Students will have the option of remote learning, which would be delivered by the school board.
  • Any student or staff member who develops COVID-19 symptoms will be immediately separated from others. Staff and parents will then be contacted by their health provider and be informed about COVID-19 testing centres.
  • School staff will receive training on processes and procedures.
  • Organized sports and clubs can proceed if physical distancing can be maintained and equipment is cleaned regularly.
  • $309 million in new funding will help assist the safe reopening of schools.
  • The government has allocated $60 million for masks and personal protective equipment, $80 million for funding for additional staff, $25 million on cleaning supplies and $10 million for health and safety training.
  • $50 million has been allocated to hire up to 500 additional school-focused nurses in public health units to provide rapid-response support to schools and boards in facilitating public health and preventative measures, including screening, testing, tracing and mitigation strategies.

Related news stories:

School board chair speaks out.

Jim Young asks a lot of questions

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2 comments to Confusion and apprehension as parents begin to think what they want to do with their children when school opens in September

  • Penny Hersh

    There is no question that it would be in the best interest of children to go back to school. HOWEVER, if I had school age children they would NOT be going back to school. WHY? Because I feel that bringing children back at this time is an “experiment” in the making.

    Elementary school children will be sitting in classes of 30 plus children full time. Younger children not required to wear facial masks. Information has been coming forward that younger children seem to be “great carriers” of Covid 19. Georgia who opened summer camps with staff wearing masks but campers not has resulted in 600 children testing positive.

    One report indicates NO SPORTS – others say no contact sports. Too many discrepancies.

    Presently, I prefer the plan for high school children. Combination of in- class and virtual classes. 15 students in a class, all students wear masks.

    Masks should be made available free of charge to those students who need them, not just for teachers.

    It will be interesting to see what parents decide to do.

  • Judy christie

    How do you self distance up to 30 3 to 6 year olds in a small classroom with 2 teachers?
    Some Junior Kindergarteners will cry and need comfort. Can teachers pickup and hug small children? If so, that leaves 29 students for 1 teacher to self distance!!