The Ottawa-Carleton District School Board (OCDSB) notified parents of a few changes to its back-to-school plan Wednesday.
An earlier draft had all students returning to school Sept. 3. Some parents were unhappy to learn secondary students returning to the classroom would be divided into two cohorts attending school for as few as five hours per week, and details of the board's plan for remote learning were vague.
Those elements have changed. Here are some of the key points:
A staggered start
- The OCDSB is phasing in the start to the school year, with some students starting Sept. 3, and the rest returning over the following two weeks.
- The youngest students and those with special needs in both elementary and secondary schools will start first, followed by the older students.
- More details on timing are expected next week.
In-person elementary school
- The new plan doesn't change the current schedule for younger students who are entering in-person learning.
- Masks will still be required for students in grades 4 and up.
- Secondary students will still be divided into cohorts, but will no longer alternate between two and three mornings per week in school, for as few as five hours per week. Instead, they will attend school on alternating days, with two periods of instruction plus study hall.
- On alternating days, students will participate in "self-directed learning at home," followed by a 75 minutes of "remote support/study hall."
- All students, from kindergarten to Grade 12, will attend "virtual school" with students from across their district rather than from their own schools.
- Parents have until noon on Friday to decide or change their minds about whether they want remote or in-class learning for their children.
- For parents who don't make a decision, the school board will automatically assume the child is attending classes in person.