Return to School Plan for HPEDSB (2020-2021)

The Return to School Plan for 2020-2021 is available below. Please be aware that the plan is subject to change at any time based on guidance from the Ministry of Education, provincial and/or local public health officials.

Related: Read the Ministry of Education Operational guidance: COVID-19 management in schools


Reference information


This plan is to provide students, families and staff the ways in which we are planning to reopen schools on September 3, 2020. The return to school is voluntary and based on parent choice as outlined by the Ministry of Education in the Approach to Reopening Schools for the 2020-21 School Year. As the Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board is considered a non-designated school board and the region is low-risk, we are looking forward to welcoming all students back full time.

This document is organized into some key areas as we prepare to welcome staff and students. The current delivery models are based on the latest direction from the Ministry of Education, provincial and local public health; however we recognize this direction may change in the coming weeks. We will continue to be flexible and plan for contingencies, as needed. As well, we recognize parent/guardian decisions are made for their families and that those decisions may change. Accordingly, we will be as flexible as possible in this regard.

Guiding principles

  • Prioritize health and safety of students and staff
  • Maximize student learning time
  • Support student and staff well-being
  • Ensure equity of access to learning, supports and technology

All plans and actions are based on the advice, guidance and directives of provincial and local public health officials.

Commitment to safe learning environments

Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board is committed to the ongoing health, safety, and well-being of staff. Schools have been closed since March 13, 2020 and we have developed this protocol to facilitate the protection of students, staff and employees, as we gradually transition back to school and work, against the hazards presented by COVID-19 in the workplace.

HPEDSB has a responsibility to ensure everyone involved in the process feels safe and that measures are in place to protect all involved. With these recommendations and proper precautions, our employees and students will be able to safely enter our facilities.

The proposed plan is flexible and evolving given this unprecedented time, and will require innovative decision making and adaptive processes, all of which will be guided by the Ministry of Education, provincial Chief Medical Officer of Health and Hastings Prince Edward Public Health.

Return to School Plan for HPEDSB, updated September 21, 2020

A-Z format

The information in this plan is organized in alphabetical format for ease of reference.


Access to main office

Access to the main office will be limited. Where practical, a sheet of portable Plexi-glass or similar material or has been placed in areas where limited/scheduled public contact may take place such as at the front reception area of the main office. Tables may be used in certain locations as well to create distancing.

Bell times

At this time, bell times (to start and end the school day) will remain unchanged under the proposed elementary and secondary schedules.

Bus line up at school

Schools will communicate with students and families a plan for disembarking and embarking on regular bus routes.

Child care, before and after school programs

We continue to work with our ministry and community partners to establish protocols and processes for the reopening of these programs. More information will be provided in the coming week.

Classroom setup

Students will remain in the same consistent seat in the class as much as possible. This area becomes their personal bubble and will be 1 metre from the nearest student.

  • Where possible, the same students will remain with the same teacher with minimized rotation
  • Classroom design will vary from teacher to teacher but the same goal remains to keep everyone 1 metre apart
  • Physical barriers, such as unused desks, or visual markings, can be used to assist with the separation
  • All student belongings will be kept in their personal area; no no use of shared spaces, such as coat racks or cubbies
  • Desks and tables will not be removed from the classroom where possible; however the same desk/table should be used by the same student each day
  • Classroom educators will rearrange classrooms so that 1 metre can be maintained between students where possible
  • Students will not be permitted to share resources
  • The teacher will maintain a table of items to be cleaned and these will be wiped off the following morning when returning to class (using provided disinfectant wipes)
  • Teachers will not bring furniture or other items from their home into the classroom
  • Classrooms will be de-cluttered to facilitate effective and efficient cleaning
  • Desktops and counter surfaces must be kept clear to facilitate disinfection throughout the day and allow for nightly cleaning and disinfection by custodians


HPEDSB will continue to use asthma-safe, hospital-grade green based cleaning products where available. Cleaning involves the removal of dirt and disinfectants, destroy germs and prevent them from spreading.

  • Cleaning will take place in high touch areas throughout the school
  • Cleaning will take place at the end of each day with high touch surfaces disinfected throughout the day
  • Classroom garbage will be collected and disposed of daily as part of normal custodian duties
  • Classroom cleaning will focus on frequently touched surfaces, such as door handles and light switches
  • Cleaning and disinfecting routines will continue to be based on the advice from Hastings Prince Edward Public Health and direction from the Ministry of Education in consultation with the Ontario Medical Officer of Health


Cohorting refers to the practice of keeping students together in a small group throughout their school day, with limited exposure to multiple teachers or a wide variety of classmates. This approach limits the number of other students that a single student is in contact with and will also facilitate contact tracing should that be necessary.

Community use of schools

Our priority is to provide a safe environment for students and staff. For that reason, we are not issuing any permits for community use of schools so we can focus on enhanced cleaning in schools and offices daily.


Where possible, all but the main entry doors must remain locked. A balance must be struck between following fire code regulations to keep doors closed vs open doors to minimize the potential spread by contact from a potentially infected individual.

Eating and drinking at school

  • Staff and students will perform proper hand hygiene before and after eating
  • As Food for Learning programs may not be running at previous capacity, students should bring a packed lunch and snacks each day
  • Each student will be required to bring their own drink bottle that is labeled, kept with them during the day and not shared
  • Water bottles will be required to be filled rather than students and staff drinking directly from water fountains; fountains will be inaccessible, however fillable watering stations or sinks will be available
  • Schools will remove all self-serving food items (vending machines) and microwave use will not be permitted
  • Multi-use utensils will be cleaned after each use
  • Non-instructional activities that involve students preparing or serving food will not be permitted
  • Third party food services, including breakfast and nutrition programs, will be delivered in a way that any student who wishes to participate can do so. Grab and Go format is preferred
  • All surfaces, bins and containers for food will be disinfected prior to and after each use
  • During breaks and lunch, student will be directed to remain in areas allocated to their cohort
  • If students are leaving the building where permitted in Grades 7-12, they will be directed to remain with their social circle of trusted people, must remain masked when not eating, must physically distance and wash their hands before/after lunch
  • Outside food from restaurants or chains may not be delivered into schools since visitors are not permitted in the school

ELEMENTARY: Students will eat their lunch in their classroom with their cohort to decrease the contact. Students will be asked to wash their hands before eating. No food sharing is permitted.

SECONDARY: Students will be allowed to eat their lunch in designated places with their cohort to decrease the contact or may exit the school to eat outside or to go elsewhere for lunch.  Students will be asked to wash their hands before eating. No food sharing is permitted.

Elementary school model and timetable

  • Elementary school students in JK-Grade 8 attend school five days a week, with 300 minutes of instruction per day, remaining in one cohort for the full day, including recess and lunches
  • Schools will provide the full range of curriculum
  • Student achievement will be assessed regularly and evaluated accordingly
  • Students will be able to leave their classrooms to receive additional supports: direct and indirect contact for students should be limited to approximately 50

Sample elementary timetable, in-school instruction model

This is a sample schedule that may look different for individual classrooms/schools based on the uniqueness of schools/classrooms.

Sample timetable

table of elementary remote learning

Learning management system and platforms

Elementary students will be part of a Google classroom or use the Brightspace Learning Management System for remote learning.

Elementary teachers will provide information for students and families at the start of the school year on how to access learning and the use of the chosen platform (more information to come).


Students in Grades 3 and 6 will not participate in EQAO assessments in the 2020-2021 school year.

Emergency and security drills (shelter in place, hold and secure, lockdown)

Practice emergency measure drills (shelter in place, hold and secure, lockdown) will not take place during COVID-19. Instead, a modified practice will take place to review what has to happen in the event of a real emergency. The modified practice drill must adhere to physical distance requirements.

Fire drills

Practice drills will continue. Classes may move throughout the building while maintaining 2 metres between students in the classroom, hallway and at all exits. Principals will review with staff and students where to go in case there is a real emergency and the school needs to be evacuated. Locations on the school playground or field will be identified that would allow for a 1 metre distance between students to be maintained.

Handwashing and sanitizing

Public health-approved hand sanitizer will be provided in predetermined locations in each school. Disinfectant wipes may be provided for specific circumstances. Sanitizer will be provided for classrooms without running water; in those classrooms with running water soap and paper towel will be provided.

Isolation room/area

Each school will designate an isolation room/area. This room/area will be used for temporary placement of any student that becomes ill during the day.

  • An isolation kit containing staff/student PPE for illnesses, will be provided to each school containing items such as: nitrile, vinyl, or synthetic gloves; face mask for staff member; face shield or safety goggles; box of tissues; hand sanitizer; disposable gowns/lab coat; approved disinfectant.

Kindergarten classrooms

While 1 metre distancing may not be as practical for 4- and 5-year-olds, the rule of no physical touching will be taught and reinforced.

  • Activities will be designed for small groups, and furniture and playing areas will be used to help maintain physical separation
  • Plush toys will be temporarily stored during the pandemic
  • Use of toys and manipulatives will be reduced, where possible, while still providing for students a wide variety of play-based learning
  • Additional guidelines based on the success of childcare operations will be reviewed for Kindergarten classes
  • Parents/guardians who register their child for Kindergarten may choose to register their child for partial days or partial hours that best meet their personal circumstances

Learning Commons

The Learning Commons may still be open to students; however, a procedure will be put in place at each school for the handling and return of books.

  • For an added precaution, it is recommended that all books that are returned are placed in an area for 72 hours before being returned to display areas
  • Students may access the Learning Commons to borrow books
  • Schedules must be created that will allow for social distancing by all students in the Learning Commons at the same time

Mask wearing

Students in Grades 4 to 12 will be required to wear non-medical or cloth masks indoors in school, including in hallways, during classes and on buses.

  • Students in Grade 3 of a Grade 3/4 class will be expected to wear a mask at school
  • Outdoor times, such as recess, can be used as opportunities to provide students with breaks from wearing masks within their cohorts
  • Students in Kindergarten to Grade 3 will be encouraged but not required to wear masks in indoor spaces and on buses

Materials and resources

  • Schools will minimize the sharing of items
  • Shared items will be cleaned between uses
  • Students are encouraged to limit the number of personal items that they bring to school to essential items
  • Students should bring snacks/lunch, a labelled water bottle and appropriate clothing for all weather
  • Classroom learning materials will be provided by the school

Mental health and well-being for students and staff

Our primary focus is on the mental health, well-being and human rights of all members of the HPEDSB school community. Considerations for the well-being of all stakeholders are a lens for planning, implementing, communicating and supporting in face-to-face, blended and virtual/remote learning. We recognize that students and staff will be approaching the transition back to school from a diverse range of perspectives, needs and experiences.

In order to support a mentally healthy return to school, educators will have opportunities to focus on mental health literacy where they will learn about mental health and to teach in ways that encourage belonging and support student mental health. Educators will also be given resources that support the implementation of everyday strategies to foster strong positive and inclusive classroom practises that in turn lead to a mentally healthy classroom.

A helpful framework to consider when planning for a mentally healthy return to school is to “Think in Tiers”. Using a tiered approach to achieve a mentally healthy return to school ensures planning occurs for students, families and staff across a continuum of needs.

  • Tier 1 Good for ALL: Universal supports will be available for all students and staff as there will be need to debrief, to build relationships, to feel a sense of belonging, and to re-engage with school life. General school guidelines to support transitions back to school for all will be developed for all students.
  • Tier 2 Good for SOME: Additional supports for students more impacted by COVID-19. Some students, families and staff will need an extra chance to settle in and to re-establish school relationships and routines. These students and staff may need access to additional mental health support through the Student Services team (psychological services, social work) and EFAP, respectively.
  • Tier 3 Good for FEW: Specialized supports for students with significant needs and who have been the most vulnerable or affected by COVID-19. Services pathways will need to be available for those requiring more intensive mental health support during the transition back to school.
    • For more information on the pathways available for students, consultation can occur with social workers or the mental health lead
    • For more information on the pathways available for staff, contact with Human Resources and/or the EAP provider will be required.

On-site sanitation and hygiene

Proper handwashing is key. Proper hand washing techniques must be followed. When hand washing is not possible, use hand sanitizer frequently.

  • Avoid sharing tools, writing utensils and equipment of all types. If they must be shared, ensure they are wiped clean and disinfected prior to use
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Cover any cough or sneeze with a tissue or into your arm, not into your hands

Outdoor space for recess

Recess may be staggered based on the size of the outdoor space and the availability of supervisors.

  • Where possible, areas will be designated outdoors for each class to minimize contact with other students from outside the instructional cohort
  • Principals will develop a schedule and routine that allows for students to maintain appropriate physical distancing while still having an opportunity for fresh air and physical activity (e.g. consideration is to build recess into the instructional period and have each teacher scheduled to take their class outdoors at specific times)

Parent/guardian drop off and pick up

Parent/guardian presence on the school yard will be limited at this time. Schools will advise families of a designated area and protocol for drop off and pick up. Social and physical distancing are required.

Personal belongings and lockers

  • Student personal belongings brought to school will go home at the end of the day; students will not be assigned lockers at this time
  • The assignment of lockers will be reassessed at the end of October
  • Students may not share items or bring items that are non-essential (e.g. play/sport equipment)
  • Students will bring to school essential daily items only (e.g. backpack, clothing, sun protection, water bottles, food)
  • For parents needing to drop off essential items, schools will communicate a drop off location and process; parents are not to enter the building

Physical distancing

  • Everyone will be directed to stay only within the area(s) of the school they need to access and refrain from lingering or touching unnecessary surfaces
  • Where possible, use of stairs will be encouraged, limited to one person at a time
  • Where required, elevator usage will be limited to one person, if possible
  • If a student displays COVID-19 symptoms during the school day, they will be separated from the classroom and placed in a designated isolation room, awaiting prompt pick-up
  • Prevent the spread by following preventative measures outside of school (e.g. physical distancing, hand hygiene, respiratory hygiene)

Physical distancing breaches

It is acknowledged that maintaining social distancing at all times will be challenging. Adults and students will sometimes forget this important safety measure or will unintentionally enter someone else’s bubble.

  • It is important to recognize that the goal is best efforts, not perfection
  • We encourage friendly reminders when someone fails to keep the required distance apart, however schools will impose disciplinary measures as per normal protocols on students refusing to comply

Physical Education, Science, Arts, and Technology classrooms

These courses may continue with the educator putting in place curriculum modifications to ensure that physical distancing is maintained.

  • Equipment sharing will typically not be permitted
  • When equipment is needed for different classes, the equipment must be sanitized before use
  • Grade-level physical education activities that can be introduced while maintaining 1 metre distancing are available in the PHE Canada Return to School Physical Education and Health Guidelines (Pdf)


Schools may choose to use pylons or other unique markings to assist students in maintaining 1 metre distance from one another in the yard. If approval is provided for play structures to be used, it will only be used by one cohort at a time.

Program nights, welcome and orientation student/parent events

Schools will plan and communicate welcome and information opportunities, given the restrictions for large group events.

Reporting illness

The following practices must be considered in order to ensure the health and safety of students and staff in HPEDSB facilities.


Actions for Students with COVID-19 Symptoms
At home At school or on bus (upon arrival)

Parents/guardians of students with COVID-19 symptoms (updated October 1, 2020) should:

Parents/guardians of students with COVID-19 symptoms (updated October 1, 2020) will be contacted for immediate pick-up. Students will wait in an isolation room, which is an enclosed space separate from other people equipped with hand sanitizer, tissues and a lined garbage bin. It will be cleaned and disinfected after use.

If a student is waiting for test results, household members (family and roommates who live with the ill person) should monitor for symptoms and be tested if symptoms develop. They are not required to isolate at this time. updated September 18, 2020

School council and council elections

  • Given the restrictions in meeting in person, schools will continue to engage school councils through online meetings (e.g. Google Meet, Microsoft Teams)
  • The election of members of school councils shall be held in the first 30 days of the school year
  • Principals will communicate to parents/guardians the process for election

School entry and exit

  • Everyone must enter and exit through designated doors
  • Principals will work with custodians to arrange for sanitizer and sign in/out sheets
  • Schools, the Education Centre and the W.R. Kirk building will be closed to visitors, including parents and guardians; they may enter the building only by an appointment approved by the principal (for schools) or person they are visiting (for the Education Centre/W.R. Kirk building)
  • Everyone must clean their hands with hand sanitizer upon entering the building and fill
    out the sign in sheet
  • Schools will provide further guidance on student entry/exit in their welcome messaging
    (e.g. designated entrance for your child)
  • Sanitizer will be provided at the main entrance and entrances to common spaces (library, gym, cafeteria, etc.)
  • To the extent possible, meetings with school staff and others should occur over the phone or online
  • Screening will be required and masks must be worn for face-to-face meetings (by appointment)

School hallways and stairways

Depending on school design, the option of designating traffic flow one way, or allowing for spacing will be considered as a separation technique using applicable signage.

School signage and markings

Wherever lines may be expected to occur throughout the school, (red) tape or floor/wall markings will be placed to assist students in keeping 2 metres apart.

This affects areas such as:

  • entrances to classrooms
  • school entrances and exits
  • large spaces (Learning Commons, main office, principal or vice-principal offices, elevators, resource rooms)
  • Where practical, separation markers will be placed to signal one-way direction within the school
  • Where possible, this will assist in maintaining 1 metre distances for everyone in the school

Secondary school model and timetable

From the Ministry Guide to Re-opening Schools:

A school board should provide no less than a 5-hour instructional day through
in-person or synchronous remote learning. Students should be supported in transitioning to their next grade or course, acknowledging prolonged absence from the classroom.

Academic support should include assessments to identify key strengths and gaps in learning at key instructional times throughout the course to ensure students have not missed key concepts from last year. Adaptations may be needed for some subjects/courses to ensure safety protocols are in place.

5-week octomesters

  • Allows for face-to-face instruction for all four periods
  • Students will study 4 courses from September to June, as usual
  • Students, both at home and at school, will be engaged in a blended learning model
  • This approach most closely resembles a typical school day with students in school all day for 300 minutes of instruction, as usual
  • This approach minimizes transitions and cohorts

Specific course information

  • Music: curriculum expectations will be met without the use of instruments
  • Instrumental Music: strings, percussion can be used, instruments that require “blowing” are higher risk and will not be used at this time
  • Vocal Music: will be modified as cannot occur even with masks
  • Foods Programs: students will not be allowed to prepare and serve food in non-instructional circumstances
  • Guitar: students should have their own instrument and music and maintain physical distancing.
  • Health and Phys Ed and Weight Room:
    • classes will be outside whenever possible
    • gyms should only be used where physical distancing measures can be followed
    • activities will support physical distancing while limiting use of shared equipment
    • shared equipment will be disinfected regularly, and students should practice proper hand hygiene before and after participating in physical activity and equipment use
  • Change rooms: access and capacity will be limited
  • Science:
    • labs/experiments will only be completed when physical distancing can be maintained, and equipment does not need to be shared by students
    • shared equipment will be disinfected regularly and students should practice proper hand hygiene before and after participating in physical activity and equipment use.
  • Co-op:
    • person community placements may be arranged, and co-op placements may also be offered virtually, where feasible.
    • students will be provided with masks/PPE for co-op placements as needed, and pre-placement must include a safety component related to COVID-19
  • Technology classes:
    • technology shops will only be used where physical distancing measures can be followed
    • activities will support physical distancing while limiting use of shared equipment
    • shared equipment will be disinfected regularly, and students will practice proper hand hygiene before and after participating in equipment use
  • Field trips: No field trips will be planned until further notice.
  • Assemblies/grade meetings: At this time, school assemblies and large gatherings will not be permitted

EQAO: The Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT) and Grade 9 Assessment of Mathematics

  • The OSSLT, a requirement for graduation, is scheduled for Thursday, April 8, 2021
  • Students graduating before February 2021 who have not yet met the literacy graduation requirement, should be enrolled in the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Course (OSSLC) or an adjudication process. Contact your secondary school for more information
  • Students in Grade 9 Applied or Academic Math courses will participate in the Assessment of Mathematics in January or June, depending on their course schedule

Volunteer hours requirement for graduation

Graduating students will need to meet the 40-hour community involvement graduation requirement and can do so virtually. Please speak with your school counselor or administrator for further information.


A self-assessment must be completed by everyone prior to accessing any HPEDSB facility at any time.

Parents/guardians must assess their child daily for symptoms of common cold, influenza, COVID19 or other infectious respiratory disease before sending them to school.

No employee/student is permitted to enter a school/building if they have:

  • Travelled outside of Canada within the last 14 days
  • Cared for or had known contact with an individual with confirmed COVID-19, or has any of the following signs or symptoms of COVID-19 within the last 14 days:
    • Fever or chills
    • New or worsening cough
    • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
    • Loss of sense of smell/taste
    • Other symptoms of an acute respiratory infection (e.g. fatigue, headache, sore throat, runny nose)
    • Stomach pain
    • Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea

Refer to the online COVID-19 screening tool from the Ministry of Health. When assessing symptoms, focus on evaluating if they are new, worsening, or different from your baseline health status or usual state. An information page is available on the Hastings Prince Edward Public Health website, and includes this self-assessment tool to help protect yourself, your family and your school community.

Special Education

Specialized class types that meet the needs of students with specific learning profiles have:

  • clearly defined outcomes of student success. Special Education Self – Contained Classes
    (Designated Class placements operated by the school district, such as: Resource/Regional (LSP/CIP); Education and Community Partnership Program (ECPP) (previously named Care and/or Treatment, Custody and Corrections Facilities – CCTC or “Section 23”) will continue to operate each day
  • daily timetabling (five days per week) will be offered to students accessing programs with foundations in modified curriculum and/or alternative curriculum, within special education classes
  • program type specific documents, that will remain fluid and co-constructed with program include, but are not limited to, care of specialized SEA equipment, food purchase and life skills programming and supports for student self-care
  • families of students accessing programming through one of the HPEDSB specialized class types will receive information regarding how programming is being adapted for current health and safety protocols

Special Education self-contained classes (Designated Class placements operated by the school district, such as: Resource/Regional (LSP/CIP); Education and Community Partnership Program (ECPP) (previously named Care and/or Treatment, Custody and Corrections Facilities – CCTC or “Section 23”) will continue to take place each day. Physical distancing might not be possible for some students, in these cases, staff will be provided with appropriate PPE.

Special Equipment Amount (SEA) and safety plans

In working with students with challenging behaviors, there is a necessity to consider Ontario Human Rights Code-related needs and accommodations and maintain key safety plan guidelines as they are structured to ensure both staff and student safety. Practices will be supplemented by use of PPEs, as directed by health and safety according to the level of student need for proximity (e.g., face shields, masks, gloves, standard PPE), etc.

  • Planning at the school level, will focus on tiers of response and staff responsibilities
  • Employees regularly assigned (e.g. permanent and long-term occasional teachers) to the school should be engaged in the Safety Plan Program Implementation/Support to students presenting with risk of injury behaviours and supply staff assigned to other students
  • Provision of face shields will be made for staff who support students in the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community, as well as those students who receive speech and language support

Alternative learning environments

Many students access alternative learning environments, such as sensory and calming rooms. Ongoing communication between educators and Facility Services will be essential in the access and cleaning of these spaces.

  • When these designated spaces are within a special education class setting, they are considered part of the program space and can be accessed by any student within the cohort with class-based cleaning protocols implemented (e.g, student specific materials brought in/out with individual students)
  • When these designated spaces are accessed from a hallway, deeper cleaning between student/staff access is required as students/staff will be from a variety of cohorts within the school
  • Factors and possible strategies to consider for calming rooms with multiple students accessing the same space:
    • Schedule times within a cohort of students
    • Each student could have an individual bin of items for sole use
    • Cleaning protocol of surfaces between students’ use of sensory equipment as many of these items go into a child’s mouth
    • Students will need sole access to the preferred items
    • Items should be disinfected. Educational assistants and educators should clean sensory tools as per existing procedure/protocol

Sports: Intramurals and interscholastic activities

Individual sports may continue with proper hygiene and physical distance in place. Team sports continue to be on hold until public health indicates it is safe for team sports to resume.

Staggered entry

In order to support a best start to the school year, the first day of school is staggered for all students, including those with special needs, as indicated below:

Thursday, September 3, 2020

  • First day of school for all JK*-Grade 4 students who have indicated they will return to school in person
    •  These students will only attend school this day; their second day of school will be
      Tuesday, September 8
    • For students in a 4/5 split class: the Grade 4 students attend on September 3 and the
      Grade 5 students attend on September 4
  • First day of school for all Grade 9 students who have indicated they will return to school in person

Friday, September 4, 2020

  • First day of school for all Grade 5-8 students who have indicated they will return to school in person
    • Their second day of school will be Tuesday, September 8, 2020
  • First day of school for Grade 10 students who have indicated they will return to school in person
  • Second day of school for Grade 9 students

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

  • First day of school for all Grade 11-12 students who have indicated they will return to school in person
  • Full return to school for all students

Monday, September 14, 2020

  • First day of school for all students attending the K-12 Virtual School

*Some elementary schools are taking a differentiated approach that may vary from the above staggered entry for Kindergarten students and they are making individual calls to families.

Student late attendance and appointments

  • If a student must leave school before dismissal, the parent is to contact the school to register the appointment
  • For late arrivals, parents should notify the school
  • Parents will not be able to enter the school; staff will greet late students/bring students to a “safe zone” or other identified area outside the school for any appointment

Student Services team in schools, clinical supports and community partnerships

  • Student Services (SS) team members greatly value how our services are embedded within the overall support to students, staff and families
  • Central professional staff who come to schools to support students will be adjusting their schedules to spend time in blocks at schools, to reduce the number of exposures and transitions to and from different schools
  • To ensure adherence to health protocols and clinical professional standards, adaptations to our service model are being made to ensure safety for all with partners including: Quinte Children’s Treatment Centre, community partners in Nursing, Mental Health and Addictions Nurses, Public Health Nurses, Youthab Addictions Worker, KGH Heads Up Early Psychosis Nurse, CMHS Intensive Services Workers and many others
  • These protocols will be communicated directly to impacted schools and the families of children receiving these services

Psychological services and mental health teams

(includes psychological services, speech and language, social work, audiology)
Priorities will be general considerations for all students, and transition support for students with specific developmental and mental health needs.

  • Consideration will be given to students who can be supported through virtual services rather than in-person
  • With respect to the health and safety there will be a need to consider such precautions when Student Services (SS) staff are on site:
    • SS staff are included in the count of staff/student on site
    • SS staff are organized in terms of schedule of visits and access to school spaces
    • Clinical spaces will be set up according to guidelines set out by health and safety, along with Facility Services
    • These spaces are designated for prioritization of clinical purposes for 1) SS team members; and school based rehabilitative services. Team members will be responsible for the coordination of access. School level responsibility is to ensure that spaces are not repurposed.
    • Clinicians will be following protocols, such as those developed for assessment materials, to support the health of students and team members

Note: special considerations will need to be given for travel between schools and minimizing exposure and contact.

Supporting students with special needs

The Student Services team is working to review all aspects of COVID-19 that may impact the safety of staff and students. Our aim is to develop system and school-based processes that identify and plan for the students with identified special education needs in consideration of school loading restrictions. We will prioritize where possible the face-to-face school attendance of students with identified special education needs and ensure effective instructional programs are available to all students whether learning face-to-face, or through a remote model.

Student Services teams will work with administrators and Facilities Services to identify locations where confidential mental health and/or assessment supports can be provided to students (e.g. for use by clinical services/professional services staff). A plexiglass barrier or use of a face shield and mask may be required if physical distancing is not possible. Touch point cleaning and disinfection within this space will need to occur in between uses.

Regular class placements

The regular class is considered the most inclusive of placements.

  • The majority of students with special education needs, access programming in a regular class program
  • Individualized programming accommodations that meet the student’s needs and maximize dignity, integration and full participation will be supported within the three scenarios for school programming.


Classroom technology plays an important role in students’ day-to-day learning. Our goal is to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission while allowing students to share technology when appropriate.
The following are some best practices for schools:

  • Students are encouraged to bring their own devices
  • Students will be directed to wash their hands before and after using shared technology, including interactive whiteboards or SMARTboards
  • Where possible, schools will dedicate a small set of devices for each classroom and avoid moving devices between classrooms
  • Within a classroom, a particular shared device may be dedicated or assigned to a small group of students. For example, a Chromebook can be assigned to three or four students and they always use the same Chromebook
  • Where possible, students will use the same device while they are at school
  • Self-cleaning wipes will be available for technology in the school main office; staff will use it to perform extra cleaning, as necessary


The Ministry is encouraging active transportation (see points below) and for parents/guardians to drive their child to school.

Students in Grades 4-8 are required to wear masks on school buses. Students in JK-3 are encouraged to wear a mask on the bus.

  • Assigned seating will be in place
  • To ease pressure on transportation demands, active forms of travel, for example, walking and riding bikes are encouraged
  • Private transportation provided by parents and care-givers is also encouraged
  • Schools will communicate school-based plans to manage traffic flow of pick-up and drop-off safety

Transportation inquiries are to be made through https://triboard.ca


Cleaning and disinfecting will take place away from students wherever possible. Where possible, bringing fresh outdoor air into the school will be encouraged.

Volunteer programs

Volunteer programs in all schools are suspended at this time and will be reviewed at a future date.

We will continue to do our best to communicate and inform of any changes.

For more information, please contact:
Kerry Donnell, Communications Manager, 613.966.1170 or 1.800.267.4350, extension 62354, [email protected]

Last updated: July 20, 2021 at 12:24 pm
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