By: Laura Steiner
Classes are set to resume in Halton schools Monday February 8, 2021. The announcement came from Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce earlier today. Halton will be among 13 public health units (PHU) to resume classes following the break forced by COVID19.
“Following the best medical advice, with the clear support of both Ontario’s and the local Medical Officers of Health, we are reopening schools across the province knowing that we have taken additional steps and made additional investments to better protect our students and staff,” Lecce said.
The province has announced additional protection measures including the following:
- Provincewide access, in consultation with the local PHU, to targeted asymptomatic testing for students and staff;
- Mandatory masking requirement for students in Grades 1-3, and masking requirement for Grades 1-12 outdoors where physical distancing cannot be maintained;
- Providing 3.5 million high quality cloth masks to schools as back-up supply for Grade 1-12 students;
- Enhanced screening for secondary students and staff;
- Guidance discouraging students from congregating before and after school; and,
- Temporary certification of eligible teacher candidates who are set to graduate in 2021 to stabilize staffing levels, following high levels of absenteeism
“Our collective efforts, like strictly adhering to all public health measures, in addition to the enhanced safety measures in schools, will help keep communities health and students learning alongside their peers,” Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams said. The efforts will in part be funded with #381 million from the government’s Safe Return to Class fund. Boards in Toronto, Peel, and York Regions will return Tuesday February 16, 2021.