Rainbow schools on Island will reopen with enhanced health and safety protocols

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SUDBURY – The Rainbow District School Board (RDSB) will welcome back students on Tuesday, September 8 and board officials outlined their reopening guidelines on Tuesday during a strategic planning committee meeting.

RDSB Director of Education Norm Blaseg presented the reopening guide on Tuesday, stressing structure, stability and safety. He pointed out that under provincial reopening guidelines Sudbury area schools, including those within RDSB, have been classified as non-designated and in both the elementary and secondary school panels they have been directed to open for in-person attendance this fall.

“Though the classroom experience will look and feel differently this year, parents/guardians and students can be assured that our caring educators will deliver quality education with safety first and foremost,” said Mr. Blaseg. “We miss our students and look forward to welcoming them back to class.”

Students will only have two options, either attending school or having a full day online program.

Secondary school students will have a different timetable this school year, with the intention of limiting their direct contacts to less than 100 students per week. Students will take four credits/subjects in the first semester, explained Mr. Blaseg. In week one, students will have a 150 minute period one class (subject one), lunch, and then a 150 minute period two class (subject two) each day. Week two will follow the same process, with three and four class.

Students in Grade 4 to 12, including the 3/4 split classes, will need to wear a mask or cloth face covering while indoors in all areas in the school, said Mr. Blaseg. Students in Kindergarten to Grade 3 will be encouraged to wear masks indoors, but it is not required while they are in their school. However, they will be required to do so on school buses.

Parents/guardian must confirm student attendance for in-school or online learning.

Parents/guardians are required to confirm whether their children will be attending in person or online by completing a confirmation of attendance form by Friday, August 21. Parents/guardians must complete one form per child. The form can be accessed online at bit.ly/rdsbreopening. There is a link to the form on the board website at rainbowschools.ca.

If not attending in person, students will be expected to attend school remotely on a full-time basis with access to learning materials posted online as well as synchronous (live) and asynchronous (pre-recorded) learning opportunities throughout the day.

Attendance will be taken daily.

Elementary students will have timetables to connect remotely/synchronously with a distance learning teacher;secondary students will connect synchronously (live to the classroom) with their regular classroom teachers.

Technology will be provided, as required, for distance learning.

The earliest time students who opt for distance learning can reintegrate into face-to-face instruction will be at mid-term in November.

Those students who are returning to class in person are required to fill out a daily COVID-19 pre-screening questionnaire, with parents of K-8 students required to compete the questionnaire daily before sending their child to school.

Schools will have to report any suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 to Public Health Sudbury and Districts (PHSD). PHSD will then decide if any additional steps are required, for example declaring an outbreak and closure of classes/and or schools.

Mr. Blaseg told the meeting that students will be in cohorts, or groups, which will not change, meaning students will learn, eat and maintain COVID-19 protocols together.

A reopening guide for Rainbow schools is posted on rainbowschools.ca and will be updated as required. To access the guide online, click on www.rainbowschools.ca/parents/coronavirus/reopening.

The guide includes information on what parents/guardians can expect when classes resume. It also includes an overview of health and safety protocols being implemented to limit the spread of COVID-19.