Premier Doug Ford has announced that students will be returning to school this September. After consulting with Education Minister Stephen Lecce, and Health Minister Christine Elliott, separate plans have been created for elementary and secondary schools in the Peel Region.
Elementary students (Kindergarten to Grade 8) will be returning to the classroom full time. They will attend school 5 days a week in the same class sizes that existed prior to the pandemic. Students will remain in one cohort to limit interactions with other students, including lunch and recess. Masks are required for all students in Grades 4 to 12 and for school staff. Students with special needs, who struggle to learn remotely, will be also attending school everyday.
Low risk secondary schools, and those with a lower student population may return to the classroom full time. However, secondary schools in the Peel District School Board (PDSB) and Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board (DPCDSB) have been told to adopt a hybrid model of education. Students in Grades 9 to 12 will be attending school part-time in cohorts of 15 students, and alternating between in-person classes and online instruction. The PDSB is currently experimenting with a quadmester system, where students will focus on 2 courses at a time.
In order to support those returning to school, the government is providing face masks to staff and students, including those who cannot afford them. They will be hiring up to 500 school-focused nurses and 900 additional custodians to maintain safe school environments. They will also be investing in technology and mental health resources for all students.
No student (Kindergarten to Grade 12) is required to physically attend school if they do not feel safe. Parents have the option to keep their children at home, enrolled in a distance learning model.