In a recent change to its Return to School Plan, Trillium Lakelands District School Board will require all students—from kindergarten through grade 12—to wear masks or face coverings both at school and on the bus for the coming school year.
Trustees passed a motion regarding the requirement at the TLDSB meeting on August 25. Previously the board had said that face coverings or masks would only be mandatory for students in grade 4 to 12, with their use strongly encouraged for kindergarten to grade 3 students.
The plan acknowledges that there may be “circumstances specifically related to health and safety where a student is exempt from wearing a mask. Any requests for an exemption from wearing a face-covering/mask must be evaluated by the school principal in consultation with the school superintendent (if necessary).”
Elementary students will be able to remove their masks while outdoors—learning will take place outside whenever possible, weather permitting, according to the plan—as long as a two-metre distance can be maintained from other cohorts.
Additional changes to the previously released return to school plan include a longer staggered start period for elementary students—two weeks instead of one—as well as a change to the number of courses secondary students will complete at one time, down to just one from two.
The staggered start is intended to give “schools the opportunity to support students as they are introduced to classroom routines, school schedules, and COVID-19 safety protocols. Schools will communicate the days students are to attend for the start to the school year,” notes the plan.
Secondary students will complete one course at a time for a duration of approximately one month each. The first semester will break down as follows: September 15 – October 15, Period 1 course; October 16 – November 16, Period 2 course; November 17 – December 17, Period 3 course; December 18 – February 1, Period 4 course.
Courses will be scheduled for 225 minutes of teaching with a staggered 40-minute lunch break as well as five
to 10 minute breaks during the day. According to the plan, “Study hall or instructional support time will also be scheduled during the school day for independent student work on course materials. Students in senior grades (grade 12) without a scheduled course are not expected to attend during the learning block.”
Elementary students will follow a traditional, 300-minute school day with regular nutrition breaks and recesses, but will not rotate between classes “to ensure students remain with one teacher to the greatest extent possible”.
See the full updated Return to School Plan for TLDSB Families document here.
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