School opening moved to September 14th - masks required in all grades: 1-12

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

August 27th, 2020



During a two and a half hour virtual Town Hall meeting last night parents with children attending the Halton District School Board (includes Burlington, Oakville, Milton and Halton Hills) learned that school will not start on September 8th, but will instead start on September 14th.

Some students will be “introduced” to their school the week before.

students in mask

Masks will be required – all grades 1-12

Masks will be required in every grade from 1 through to 12.

The Medical Officer of Health has recommended that Junior Kindergarten and Senior Kindergarten (JK and SK) also wear masks.

Students will get mask breaks during the day.

The public heard a half hour presentation from the Medical Officer of Health during which she set out the rules that will ideally contain the spread of the Covid-19 virus, which in Halton has been quite low.

Parents had been asked by the Board to return Intent to Attend forms so that the administration could determine which form of education students would be taking – in the classroom or virtually at home.

Parents wanted more information before sending in the forms – the school board wasn’t able to give out information because they didn’t know what the class sizes were going to be – a classic Catch 22 situation.

Miller prep at Central

Director of Education Stuart Miller

Earlier in the month the board administration had announced that it was creating virtual schools, which they would need in the event of a school- or system-wide shut down.

It was first seen as something that might be needed – that might turned out to be necessary when more than 1600 students decided to not attend a school – they have chosen to be educated virtually.

The virtual schools will not be “local” – they will include students from within the Region.

There will be three virtual schools for the Region and a single virtual high school.

Details were a little sketchy – parents were told that all the information they needed was “on the web site”.

The Gazette will chase down the details in the days ahead.

School is going to be very different come September 14th.

Director of Education Stuart Miller in his closing remarks advised parents to “trust their own judgement”.

“Staff are nervous” he said.  “I am nervous”.  “Trust your own judgement” when deciding which form of education your children are going to get.

A Milton parent said to a friend and shared with the Gazette:

“I’ve decided to keep the kids home for the foreseeable future.

“I’ve had to drop most of my volunteer commitments to focus on work and the kids. It hasn’t been easy but we have settled into a nice routine and are enjoying the time that we have together. This whole COVID thing has forced me to really take a deep look at my priorities and for now it’s my family.”

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4 comments to School opening moved to September 14th – masks required in all grades: 1-12

  • Maggie Steiss

    I am so glad I don’t have school aged children. There is absolutely no way in hell I would tolerate a child of mine being forced to wear a mask all day, or at all for that matter.

  • Adam

    I’m not sure delaying another week will achieve anything. No one knows how this will work exactly, we need to get the kids back to school, adapt and figure it out. I suspect that all of these policies will change in the first few weeks as teachers and administrators see things in action. No amount of time or money will replace the actual experience of kids in the school. Hospitals, police, retail stores, restaurants and other businesses adapted on the fly without 5 months of planning. Let’s get on with it.

  • This issue here is that Sick Kids specifically did not recommend that mask be mandatory for young kids. But apparently if enough people want something on social media then what ever the experts recommend doesn’t matter. I can’t see how public education will survive this. Private school kids get small classes and normal school without masks all the intellectual, social and emotional development needed to grow up. Public school kids are moved into this nightmare that at best will lead to a generation of kids hating school and at worst an completely uneducated generation. Realize that teachers will now basically educate our children to be anti-social. Don’t share that. Don’t talk to that person. No you can’t talk to your friend. Again none of this is present for private school kids – it’s normal for them. Doug Ford is going to walk up the the podium and just announce it’s vouchers and charter schools. Public education will just be over in this province. Since I love our local school and the teacher this is very sad, but I can’t see any way public education will recover.

  • Phillip Wooster

    I believe that Milton parent you quoted is making the best decision in the interests of her children. I hope parents realize that no decision to return to school can be guaranteed to be safe, even in a relatively low-risk area like Burlington. The huge problem is that this virus presents as asymptomatic in too many people and there will be these “silent” spreaders potentially present in all schools. In the present circumstances, I feel that the provincial government and the local school boards, in consultation with medical doctors, are making the best choice available–not until a vaccine has been developed and everyone vaccinated will the safety profile improve dramatically.