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COVID-19: Kingston area students head back to school for the first time in months

Click to play video: 'Kingston-area students return to school with higher in-class numbers' Kingston-area students return to school with higher in-class numbers
Schools welcome back Kingston-area students for the first time in months – Sep 7, 2021

Tuesday was an exciting and anxious day for students, parents and teachers, as Kingston, Ont., schools reopened to in-class learning for the first time in months.

This marks the third school year in which classes have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Kingston area school boards were just happy to have students back.

Read more: 3rd COVID-19 pandemic-altered school year gets underway for some Ontario boards

“Nothing makes us happier than to hear them laughing and playing and learning,” says Michael Muise, principal of St. John XXIII Catholic School.

Muise says he felt the energy as students arrived Tuesday morning, adding that there’s just something special about the in-class experience.

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Will Ontario’s vaccine passports be effective as schools reopen? – Sep 7, 2021

“It’s sort of two-fold,” says Muise. “One, it’s supportive in class with your curriculum, staff support one another, staff support students and students support students.”

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“I think this fall has been a little bit easier than last year; everything was new last year,” says Limestone District School Board Director of Education Krishna Burra.

“All of those routines, which were very unfamiliar (for) students as well as staff and the wider community, too.”

Read more: Unvaccinated Ontario school staff will need to get tested 2 times per week

One thing that is different is the in-class learning situation. Burra says those number have gone up.

“We have about 98 per cent of our almost 20,000 students back in classrooms today and then the remaining 2 per cent are in virtual school,” says Burra.

“But certainly I think almost everyone would agree that for the vast majority of students, being back in in-person learning is what’s going to work best for them as well as for their families.”

Both Burra and Muise agree that all involved need to continue following protocols laid out by the local public health unit as well as the Ministry of Education in order to keep students in the classroom.

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Back to school: Supporting children with complex learning needs – Sep 7, 2021

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