The Ministry of Education has directed that Lambton-Kent District School Board (LKDSB) elementary and secondary schools will reopen in September with a return to full-time, in-class learning with enhanced safety measures.
The first day of school is Tuesday, September 8, school board officials say, adding that they have released their plan for the safe return to school for the 2020-2021 school year.
“The LKDSB has developed a comprehensive plan to support a safe return to school in September and reduce the risk of possible transmission of COVID-19,” stated John Howitt, director of education, in a media release.
“We look forward to welcoming students back to school and we will continue to work closely with families, students and staff, as well as follow the guidance of the Ministry of Education and local and provincial Medical Officers of Health. Together, we will support a safe and positive return to school that will support student success and well-being.”
School board officials say they have created a Reopening Our Schools plan outlining health and safety measures, including: screening; school arrival; physical distancing; hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette and masking; cleaning; transportation; recess and playgrounds; visitors; lunch and food services; child care and community use of schools, as well as teaching and learning plans.
The LKDSB’s Reopening Our Schools plan is available, here.
LKDSB officials say they are adopting the quadmester approach for secondary schools.
“The school year will be divided into four blocks of approximately 44 days of instruction,” school board officials say in their plan.
“Students will participate in two periods per day over a quadmester, rather than the usual four periods per day over a full semester. In total, students will take eight courses per year in the quadmester approach, the same number of courses as in a traditional semestered approach.”
Here is the tentative break-down for the quadmester approach:
School board officials say their overall plan incorporates the most current information from the Ministry of Education, Public Health, consultations with educators and education workers, and the community.
It is a multi-layered approach with various safety measures to mitigate opportunities for the transmission of COVID-19.
The implementation is a shared responsibility between LKDSB staff, local Public Health, family households, students and Chatham-Kent Lambton Administrative School Services (CLASS), school board officials say.
Part of the plan includes the hiring of more than 25 additional elementary teachers and more than 15 Early Childhood Educators to reduce class sizes and support the transition back to school in September.
The LKDSB will continue to follow its typical staffing and budgeting processes and final staffing decisions will be based on student enrolment and contractual obligations, school board official say.
In order to support a positive transition to Kindergarten, Senior Kindergarten students will begin in-person attendance on Tuesday, September 8.
Students entering Junior Kindergarten in September 2020 will have a delayed entry, with their first day of school on Monday, September 14.
Schools will be providing more specific information for students to help support the return to school in September.
Earlier this month, the LKDSB conducted a pre-registration survey of parents/guardians regarding their intentions regarding the return to school in September for either face-to-face instruction or Learn at Home, school board officials say.
After August 28, parents/guardians will have limited opportunities within the school year to switch their child’s school experience between Learn at Home and face-to-face instruction (and vice versa).
School board officials say families must notify the school in advance and there may be a waiting period prior to their child’s admission to school, depending on scheduling and availability of classroom space. Refer to the Reopening Our Schools plan for further details about these timelines.
Parents/guardians who did not complete the pre-registration survey (either by phone or electronically), or have further questions about their selections after reading the LKDSB’s plan, are encouraged to contact their child’s school by Friday, August 28 and leave a message outlining their inquiry or decision to change the selected program delivery, LKDSB officials say.
School voicemail messages are checked regularly.
Should parents/guardians have any questions about the LKDSB’s Reopening Our Schools plan, please follow-up with the school for more information.
The Reopening Our Schools document will continue to be updated online as new information becomes available, school board officials say.
The LKDSB will be prepared to respond to changes, as necessary, throughout the 2020-2021 school year based on directions from the Ministry and provincial and local Medical Officers of Health.
Visit the LKDSB website at www.lkdsb.net for additional information about the LKDSB’s return to school plans.