Back to School – What has been announced to date
Provincial governments continue to announce tentative plans and details of what school will look like for this coming fall. As retailers consider their back-to-school strategies and product mix, we have compiled this list of recently announced or outlined provincial approaches for returning to classrooms:
- British Columbia: All B.C. public schools (kindergarten through Grade 12) will reopen in Stage 2 of the Five Stages Framework for K-12 Education likely during the week of September 14 (to be confirmed by government), which includes in-class learning with learning group requirements. A learning group is a group of students and staff who remain together throughout the school term or year and who primarily interact with each other. Schools received extra funding to implement a set of safety measures. Some disagreements with teachers still need to be worked out.
- Alberta: In-person classes will resume in September for all K-12 students. The Premier cited measures that will be in place, and the evidence shows children, “are at low risk of infection and very low risk of severe health outcomes from COVID-19.” As part of a number of new school safety measures to combat COVID-19, mandatory mask use for Grade 4 to 12 students and staff will be required in common areas. However school boards such as Calgary, kindergarten to Grade 12 will be required to wear masks. Exemptions will be made for students and staff who are unable to wear a mask due to medical or other needs.
- Saskatchewan: The Saskatchewan government has announced that all K-12 students across the province will return to class a week later than planned, now September 8. Currently there will be no provincially set requirement for students or their teachers to wear masks, nor a plan to reduce class sizes, however many school divisions have stated Grade 4-12 students will be required to wear non-medical masks while at school if physical distancing is not possible.
- Manitoba: Classroom learning will resume on September 8, 2020 for all students in kindergarten through Grade 12 at schools across Manitoba. Learning in classrooms will be full-time for students in kindergarten through Grade 8 and for special-needs students in all grades, with five days of instruction. However, in some situations where schools are unable to accommodate physical distancing, some remote learning may be required for students in grades 9 to 12. The province has stated non-medical masks are “strongly recommended” for students in Grade 5 and up on school buses and in public spaces. Its expected school divisions to have more direct language.
- Ontario: Ontario has announced that schools will be reopening this September. School boards may delay the start date for students up to two weeks to allow schools to prepare. For elementary schools (K-8), students will receive in-class instruction five days a week with no adjustments to class sizes. These students will be expected to remain with their cohort throughout the entire day, including for lunch and for recess. Secondary students in 24 “designated boards” – mainly in urban and suburban areas with high student populations – will need to submit and receive approval from Ontario for a plan aimed at reducing class sizes, with Ontario suggesting it wants class sized halved. High schools in areas with smaller enrollments will be able to offer full-time, in-person, learning. All students grade 4 to 12, as well as staff, will be required to wear a mask while at school. In addition, all parents will have the option of opting their children out of in-person classes if they wish.
- Quebec: All students in preschool, elementary school and secondary I, II and III will attend class full-time, in compliance with the standard ratios (creation of subgroups in classes). For students in secondary IV and V, school service centres are provided with two options: full time and online/every 2 days. As of today, the impacts of back to school on retailers should be similar to previous years. More info
- Nova Scotia: All students to return to class on September 8, 2020. Contingency plans have also been developed. More info
- New Brunswick: All students return to school on September 8, 2020. Grades K-8 will return to classes while students in Grades 9-12 will have blended learning (rotate between in school and at home). High school students will be expected to bring their own electronic devices to use in school. Government funding is available to assist low to middle income families in purchasing an electronic device for their student. More info and view NB Return to School plan
- PEI: All students return to class on September 8, 2020. Contingency plans have also been developed. More info
- Nfld and Lab: All students will return to class on September 9, 2020. Two contingency plans have also been developed. More info
- Yukon: To accommodate for two professional development days on August 18 and 19, 2020 that will focus on health and safety training for teachers and staff, classes in Whitehorse will resume on August 20, 2020. Rural schools will also receive professional development for health and safety training. Any updates to the school calendar for rural schools will be shared directly with school communities by August 12, 2020. More info
- Nunavut: All schools will open as scheduled, under Stage 1, for the 2020-21 school year, unless otherwise directed by the Chief Public Health Officer. More info
For more details, CTV News has created a map and outlined additional details on school openings.