While schools head into the holiday break, many parents are left wondering whether there will be a return to in-person learning in the new year. Both the Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School Board and the Limestone District School Board are taking precautionary measures ahead of the holidays.
“While we are planning for a full return to in-person learning on January 3, we also want to be proactive. Schools may reach out regarding students’ device needs, should it be required down the road,” said Krishna Burra, director of education with LDSB.
“Also, schools will ask students to take all personal belongings home with them as well.”
KFL&A Public Health’s medical officer of health, Dr. Piotr Oglaza, says keeping schools in person is a priority.
“One of our biggest goals throughout this pandemic has been to continue, and being able to have, the in-person learning in schools, in elementary and high schools. This is really important for the social and mental well-being of students,” Oglaza said. “An absolute goal of our pandemic management is to enable that critical societal function to continue.”
Oglaza said schools will be the absolute last sector to close, as COVID-19 cases in schools are not driving the pandemic.
St. Lawrence and Loyalist College have both announced that classes will move online for the first few weeks of January to help mitigate the spread.
Queen’s University is going one step further, confirming on Thursday to students and staff that most classes will return online after the winter break, and will continue as such until the end of reading week on Feb. 28, 2021.
“This is a proactive measure to support the health and safety of the Queen’s and Kingston communities and align with Ontario’s accelerated booster dose rollout for all individuals aged 18 and over,” the school said in a statement.
The university says it expects to switch back to full in-person learning at the beginning of March.
It will also continue with its vaccination policy and in-person health and safety measures, which now encourage all students, faculty, and staff to schedule their booster dose appointments immediately.