To get an idea of how parents are feeling about sending their children back to school in the fall amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, the Thames Valley District School Board (TVDSB) has launched a survey.
Mark Fisher, the TVDSB’s director of education spoke with 980 CFPL’s Jess Brady on the Afternoon Show Thursday.
He says the Ontario Ministry of Education has asked school boards to develop three possible scenarios for September.
“A blended or hybrid model where students will participate partially online at home in school, a fully model, and then a model for when it’s safe enough to go back to school,” explained Fisher.
“We’re asking parents for their preferences and also about what kinds of requirements they’re looking for.”
Fisher says the Ministry of Education has already laid out a few requirements for back to school.
This includes decreasing the maximum class size, which is now 15 students, as well as keeping the same group of students together throughout the day.
The number of students allowed to ride the bus together is also set to change.
“Typically, 65 to 70 kids ride bus, but next year, we’re restricting it to 24 or less,” said Fisher.
Fisher says the school board will be working on developing the three models in the next three to four weeks, and they will then submit the models to the health unit and Ministry for feedback.
He adds they’re hoping to provide more information about the models by August.
“We expect to begin the year with a consistent, board-wide model, but we may need to pivot in some areas of the district to a more distance-learning model, while other areas move to regular in-school instruction,” Fisher explained.
TVDSB says it has already begun testing classroom seating configurations, the use of barriers and directional markings, the creation of isolation areas, and enhanced handwashing options at its two pilot schools in London — Saunders Secondary School and Eagle Heights Public School — before planning to implement measures throughout the district’s 161 schools.
Parents are invited to complete the survey, which can be found online, by June 30.
Questions include whether parents plan for their children to participate in any available school-based instruction or continue to learn at a distance, and whether they would provide their own transportation or allow their children to ride school buses.
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