DAN CEARNS, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, for The Standard
DURHAM: Elementary and secondary school students in Durham Region were allowed to return to in school sessions on Monday, February 8th.
The decision, made by the Ontario government, was announced by education minister Stephen Lecce, on Wednesday February 3rd. “We know how critical getting kids back to school is, for the mental health and development of our children. But perhaps most importantly, while kids stayed home to learn remotely, and with the introduction of tough measures and the stay at home orders for all Ontarians, we have seen a consistent decline in community transmission,” Minister Lecce said, at a press conference.
In letters to parents of elementary and secondary school students, the Durham District School Board (DDSB) explained some of the new measures students will see when they return to class.
“It is now 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 [to] 12.
We strongly encourage students in Kindergarten to wear a mask,” read a letter to parents of elementary school students. All secondary school students are already required to wear masks while in schools.
That letter also stated it is “critical that students do not congregate together before and/or after school.”
In a letter to parents of high school students, the DDSB explained all secondary school students “are required to complete the mandatory self-screening for COVID-19 each morning before leaving for school.”
“If a student has not completed the screening, they will be directed to do so on their device. Paper copies will also be available for the student to complete,” the letter read. “If your child does not pass the screening before coming to school, they must stay at home and follow the directions outlined in the self-screening tool in order to keep everyone safe.”