Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Education Minister Stephen Lecce want students to return to school full-time in the fall, even though they are still preparing for three different scenarios.
Earlier in June, Lecce unveiled the safety guidelines and plans for schools returning in September, which provided three different models to school boards to prepare for which included, remote learning, in-class learning, and a hybrid model of the two.
But on Monday, both the premier and minister had their intentions set for in-class learning full-time.
“I want to see every child back to school full-time this September, this is what we’re working towards with the Medical Officer of Health and local schools boards and I am confident we’ll get there,” Ford said.
“But I will not take unnecessary risk when it comes to our children and that’s why we must plan for every possible scenario.”
Lecce shared the premier’s sentiments adding that he wants to ensure that parents can return to work with confidence.
“Parents and students are looking for clarity on what schools will look like in September and as I have said, we need to be prepared for all eventualities for whatever path the outbreak takes,” Lecce said.
But the education minister noted that due to the work of Ontario residents the province is in a “much different reality” than a few weeks ago when he first announced the school reopening plans.
“And that gives us promise that we can get back to daily conventional learning as the premier indicated and it’s the preference of working people in the province,” Lecce said.
He added that he will be working with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. David Williams, over the coming days to provide the province with more certainty on the plan, as they want to enable conventional daily delivery in September.
“Health and safety are always at the forefront. We have to get this right.”
Lecce said that more details will be coming soon on the return to school plan, which he is confident in.
When the plan was first announced, the education minister was pushing for the hybrid model.
The adapted delivery model, includes alternate daily or weekly attendance, staggered bell times and recess, and different transportation arrangements, among a variety of other considerations to ensure the safety of students and staff.
Under this model, school boards are asked to maintain a limit of 15 students in a typical classroom at one time and adopt timetabling that would allow for students to remain in contact only with their classmates and a single teacher for as much of the school day as possible.