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TLDSB education director provides an outlook on 2021-2022 school year

DAN CEARNS, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, for The Standard

KAWARTHA LAKES: Trillium Lakelands District School Board (TLDSB) has revealed more about what their upcoming school year is going to look like.

At a board meeting on Tuesday, August 24th, Director of Education Wes Hahn provided trustees with an update on the board’s plans for the new school year.

“We know there is still a concern about the [Covid 19] cases in the province and the Delta variant. But we’ve been in touch with our public health units, working over the course of the month really carefully [on] mapping out our plans for a return to school,” he said.

The board is looking forward to being able to provide in-person learning.

“We are very excited about starting in-person [learning] in our schools. That is something we, all here in the room, think is really important,” Mr. Hahn explained.

While the province made it mandatory for students from grades 1 to 12 to wear masks in schools, the TLDSB is maintaining their requirement [is,] for students from kindergarten to grade 12 to wear masks.

“We think that is important, and [the] Simcoe-Muskoka health unit also supported and recommended that [requirement],” Mr. Hahn said.

The education director noted there would be some small changes in how student cohorts are managed.

“That cohorting practice will still occur inside the building in elementary [schools], but outside cohorting is not necessary.”

Students will also not be required to wear masks outdoors. Clubs, extracurricular activities and sports will be offered to students this year too.

“That was something [which] was really missing for our kids. Sure, we feel strongly about the learning component of it, but [parents] see [the students’] connections with their peers and friends through these activities,” Mr. Hahn stated.

Cafeterias and libraries will be open for students to use as well.

“We’re going to take a very cautious approach to how open we make buildings and how quickly we start to move into spaces. We know these spaces are important, and we want students to access them. But we want to make sure the principals have a good plan for the movement in the building, and also that these spaces can be cleaned properly and high-touch surfaces can be cleaned,” Mr. Hahn explained.

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