CDSBEO releases back-to-school plan

KEMPTVILLE – Officials with the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario have released that board’s plan for returning to school in September. The plan was released Friday evening (August 14th).

The school board’s plan spells out the different learning scenarios including the modified scenario the CDSBEO is using for beginning the school year.

CDSBEO’s plan is similar to that of the Upper Canada District School Board, which was released earlier Friday (August 14th) but differs in a few ways.

For secondary school students (Grades 9 to 12), the board is adopting a quadmester system like other school boards across the province. But the CDSBEO will have two, two-hour periods with lunch in-between. Students will be dismissed earlier in school day and expected to complete 30 minutes of online work at home for each class. This differs from the UCDSB, which will have two, two-and-a-half hour class periods.

Elementary students attending Kindergarten to Grade 6 schools and Kindergarten to Grade 8 schools will go to school five-days-a-week and attend normal hours.

Grade 7 and 8 students that attend secondary schools under the Grade 7-12 model school, will attend modified hours matching the reduced hours for the secondary classes. Students will remain in the same classroom or cohort throughout the day. Recess will be on a staggered schedule.

Large group gatherings such as weekly mass are prohibited for the time being.

Elementary and secondary students are allowed to have bookbags/backpacks to carry their belongings, lockers and other storage spaces will be closed off from use. Students will be encouraged to bring their own devices to school to assist with learning as school equipment cannot be shared without cleaning between each use.

Grade 4 to 12 students will wear a face mask indoors at all times. COVID-19 self-assessments must be done by staff and students. If there are symptoms of COVID-19 they must stay home. If symptoms present at school, each school will have an isolation room for the affected person. Hand washing stations and signage will be present throughout schools for hand-hygiene.

Parents who opt to have their children learn from home can switch to in-school learning on November 9th, 2020, and February 8th, 2021 only.

The CDSBEO plan does provide more detail on bus operations for the 2020-21 school year.

Local health units have determined a school bus is considered an enclosed space, so all Grade 4-12 students must wear a mask on the bus. Masks for Kindergarten to Grade 3 students are encouraged.

Bus occupancy will increase and be operated at close to the capacity which means physical distancing may not be possible. Students will be assigned seats, with student who live in the same home, or students in the same class will be seated together.

Parents will have until August 20th at noon to complete a survey on which option they choose for their children: in class, at school learning; or distanced learning at home.

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