TDSB back-to-school COVID-19 rules will be stricter than Ontario guidelines

Aug 18 2021, 1:44 pm

The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) is going above and beyond provincial COVID-19 guidelines with stricter protocols meant to protect staff and students from infection when they return to school this fall.

The TDSB revealed some of its back-to-school policies during a trustee meeting Tuesday, and the slides were shared online by trustee Shelley Laskin.

Elementary students will continue to eat lunch in their classrooms instead of mingling with the entire school in a lunchroom, even though cafeterias are permitted in the provincial guidelines. Outdoor lunches are still preferred, weather permitting.

Elementary TDSB students will also stay with their classroom cohorts during recess and other school breaks, even though ministry guidance says students from different cohorts can mingle during recess.

Indoor school assemblies will stay forbidden at TDSB schools this year, although outdoor and virtual assemblies will be allowed. According to the Ministry, school-wide gatherings are permitted with physical distancing.

As for music class, TDSB students are allowed to sing without masks outdoors but must always wear masks when singing indoors. The board is still developing its protocols around musical instruments. That’s stricter than ministry guidance, which only encourages masks during the singing and says instruments can be used with proper sanitization.

The TDSB is still working on its guidance for secondary students and on its rules surrounding extracurricular activities.

Classes resume on September 9.

A majority of Toronto public school students are expected to return to in-person classes this fall, with 86% of families choosing to send their kids back to school and 14% choosing to continue with virtual learning.

Younger children, between junior kindergarten and Grade 9, are even more likely to be heading back to school.

All TDSB students, including kindergarteners, must wear masks. Vaccination for all students born in 2009 or earlier is also strongly encouraged.

Megan DevlinMegan Devlin

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