Initials plans for back to school released by Waterloo school board

Waterloo Region District School Board trustees received an initial look at what school may look like in the area this fall on Tuesday night.

In June, the province requested school boards plan for three potential options for a return to school amid the coronavirus pandemic: a full-time return to the classroom, virtual classes for all, or a hybrid model that combines the two.

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An initial report on the options was prepared by school board staff and presented to trustees on Tuesday night.

The back-to-normal-ish model

A return to full-time learning in elementary schools would be fairly similar to pre-COVID-19 life but see some measures in place, including staggered entry and exit of students, frequent hand hygiene, the recommended use of masks when physical distancing cannot occur, and enhanced cleaning measures.

High school students would move to quadmester learning, which would see them study two subjects at a time rather than the traditional four- or eight-subject models used in past years.

Staggered lunch blocks would also be in place as an additional safety measure.

The hybrid model

In elementary schools, the hybrid model would see students broken into four cohorts.

The first two, A and B, would see students split into two groups that would attend classes on different days. Students would be in the classroom for five days over two weeks.

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Cohorts C and D would be in high-tech or low-tech learning options, which the report says would be fully supported.

High school students would be divided similarly but school would start with an adaptive model that could be shifted to quadmestering as directed by the province.

The remote model

Most parents got a taste of what is involved in this at the end of last school year.

The plan calls for elementary and secondary students to continue learning remotely, for the most part online.

Teachers would meet with students in groups and individually to support student learning.

The report states that “creating a sense of belonging will be foundational to all remote learning” and that students will be provided with 300 minutes of daily learning opportunities with half the day involving large group instruction and the other half using small group guided instruction, such as independent work.

Boards were required by the province to submit potential plans for a return by next month.

Last week, Stephen Lecce said the province will provide more info on its plans for learning at some point this week.

Lecce said the ministry could not announce funding for that work any sooner than next week because the COVID-19 case count in the province has been fluid.

With files from Canadian Press

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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