Some local schools return to in class sessions

·3 min read

KAWARTHA LAKES/DURHAM: Some local schools returned to in class learning,on Monday, January 25th, while others remained with only virtual learning.

“On the advice from the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the government is allowing seven public health units and over 100,000 students to return to class,on Monday, January 25th,” read a statement from Ontario Minister of Education Stephen Lecce. “Getting students back into class is our top priority. According to Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health and leading medical and scientific experts, including the Hospital for Sick Children, Ontario’s schools are safe places for learning.”

The seven health units allowed to resume in person learning included:Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit (HKPR); Peterborough Public Health; Grey Bruce Health Unit; Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington Health Unit; Hastings and Prince Edward Counties Health Unit; Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit and Renfrew County and District Health Unit.

“Some additional school boards span across multiple [provincial health units] and may have some schools that resume in person learning on January 25th and other schools that will continue to teach remotely,” an Ontario government press release explained.

The TLDSB explained, in a press release, what schools were able to reopen this week. Trillium Lakelands District School Board (TLDSB) elementary and secondary schools within the City of Kawartha Lakes and Haliburton County will return to in-person learning, and elementary and secondary schools within the District of Muskoka will continue remote learning.”

HKPR acting medical officer of health, Dr. Ian Gemmill said he is optimistic about the safety of students, when they return to class. “I would never say I am not concerned. Am I worried there are going to be a lot of outbreaks at schools? The answer is;from the experience we’ve had so far, it appears schools are not contributing hugely to the spread [of COVID-19]. We are not seeing outbreaks in the school setting.”

Meanwhile, schools represented by the Durham District School Board (DDSB) remain in virtual learning. “Further to our update last week,on the provincial state of emergency and stay-at-home order, the Ministry of Education has issued a media release that students in our school board will not be returning to in-person learning on Monday, January 25th. This means students will continue to learn remotely until further notice. The Ministry has previously communicated,the next date students would be returning to in-person learning is Wednesday, February 10th, 2021,” read a DDSB statement.

The DDSB also provided some information about new COVID-19 related rules,when kids are allowed to return to their schools. “When students do return to in-person learning, it will be mandatory for all students in Grades 1 to 3 to wear a mask, subject to reasonable exceptions. This masking requirement is in addition to the existing requirement for students in Grades 4-12. We are strongly encouraging students in Kindergarten to wear a mask.”

Dan Cearns, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Standard Newspaper