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English Catholic board unveils its pandemic back-to-school plan

Protocols, under direction from Public Health and the Ministry of Education, much the same as those in place for public board

The Sudbury Catholic District School Board unveiled its pandemic back-to-school plans today, plans that are much like those released by the public Rainbow District School Board earlier this week.

You can read the full plan here.

Teachers and support staff will be required to wear both a medical mask and eye protection (such as a face shield) during the school day, which will be provided by the board.

Students in grades 4 to 8 will be required to wear non-medical face coverings in hallways and classrooms, and where physical distancing will be difficult. Non-medical masks will be provided for students in Kindergarten to Grade 3, and while not mandatory, wearing them will be encouraged.

Students will be taught the proper way to put on and remove a mask.

Outdoors times, like recess, will provide an opportunity for students to get a break from wearing a mask. Outdoor play structures, however, will be closed.

Parents who believe their child should be exempt from wearing a mask or face covering are asked to contact their child’s principal as soon as possible.

In classrooms, students will remain in the same seat in the same classroom (remaining with their cohort) to minimize contact with other staff and students. If rotary is required, teachers will move while students remain in their classrooms.

“This area becomes their personal space and should be as far away from the nearest student as practical,” the board said.

Elementary students who attend school in person will do so five days a week, receiving 300 minutes of instruction per day. Entry and exit plans will be established to keep cohorts together and to prevent cohorts from mixing. Entry and exit times will be staggered based on transportation requirements.

“Students can expect to see changes in the timing of recesses, lunches, and bathroom breaks as they are staggered to support cohorting,” the board said. “Specialized teachers, like French, NSL, music and other specialized teachers, will still be able to go into classrooms to provide the full breadth of programming for students. Specialized teachers will adhere to all health and safety measures.”

Secondary students will attend two, 150-minute classes per day with the semester divided between period one and two classes, and period three and four classes. Students will study period one and two classes from Sept. 8-Nov. 10, with exams on Nov. 11-12. They will study period three and four classes from Nov. 13-Feb. 2, with exams for those courses on Feb. 3-4.

The second semester will begin Feb. 8. 

Keeping students in their class cohorts, staggering of class changes and analysis of class sizes will assist in ensuring students in secondary schools have limited indirect and direct contact with no more than 100 students. 

Front offices and other areas that require staff to work one on one with students will see “sneeze guards” installed.

Enhanced cleaning protocols will also be in place with special attention paid to high-touch areas in hallways, washrooms and main offices.

“Staff/students will be supplied with either “spray and leave on” product or wipes and gloves,” the board said. “Note: as elementary students will not share workspaces, cleaning during the day in the classroom is not as critical. 

“Classroom cleaning should focus on frequently touched surfaces such as door handles and light switches. Student desks, chairs, and tables should be cleaned between cohort changes where possible. At the secondary panel, students entering the classroom at period 2 will be asked to clean their desk and chair area upon entry.”

The board is also asking parents to fill out a survey regarding whether their child will be attending in-person class or whether the child will be home-schooled or accessing remote learning opportunities.

You can find that survey here.