The school board says planning for the model still involves discussions with, and feedback from, public health partners and the Ministry of Education.
The school board says the ministry asked the board to consider and plan for three different scenarios for a return to school this fall: Normal routine with enhanced health protocols, a modified school day routine or at-home learning.
In a release to parents on Friday afternoon, the school board says the every-other-day model has several benefits:
- A Monday-Wednesday-Friday/Tuesday-Thursday model is familiar for families, used previously by schools for kindergarten.
- Students will receive in-person instruction every other day from teachers, which will mean shorter stretches of time will be spent on distance learning.
- Students will be grouped into A or B cohorts, with siblings in the same cohort. The board also aims to group siblings in different schools so they attend on the same days.
“The government, in conjunction with public health, will announce which of these scenarios will be in place for September. We expect that decision to take place in early August,” the board stated.
“We also want to be clear in acknowledging that we are very mindful of the significant impact of school closures on our students and families. It is a hardship, and it remains our greatest hope that we can resume the in-person delivery of education as soon as possible – to the significant benefit of not just our students, but our staff and the families we serve.”
The school board also released the results of its Thoughtexchange survey, which featured more than 4,600 participants with 6,500 ideas and nearly 100,000 ratings of ideas related to the reopening of schools.
- 70 per cent of participants are ready for their child to participate in in-class instruction
- 40 per cent preferred the every-other-day model
- 32 per cent preferred a week at a time for students
- 29 per cent preferred the two days in school, two days at home model
The board also said there will be enhanced cleaning and sanitization, especially for high-touch surfaces.
“At the end of each school day, an afternoon shift of custodial workers will come in to deep clean schools to ensure a safe environment for students the next day,” the board stated.
There will also be more emphasis on handwashing, physical distancing and additional student support.
“We recognize that the events of the last few months will have lasting impacts on everyone’s social, emotional, physical and academic wellbeing,” the board stated. “We are planning ways to continue to support students and staff as we transition back to in-person schooling.”
The school board also offered its amended calendar, pending approval from the ministry:
- First day of school for students: Tuesday, Sept. 8
- Last day of classes: Tuesday, June 29, 2021
- Winter break: Monday, Dec. 21, to Friday, Jan. 1, 2021 (Monday, Jan. 4, will be the first day of classes)
- March break: Friday, March 12, 2021 to Friday, March 19, 2021
- P.A. days: Wednesday-Friday, Sept. 2-4; Friday, Nov. 27; Monday, Feb. 1, 2021; Friday, May 14, 2021 (secondary only); Friday, June 11, 2021 (elementary only) and Wednesday, June 30, 2021.