Back to the books: What to expect on the first day of school
Public health officials in California say an unvaccinated elementary school teacher who took off their mask to read to students ended up infecting more than half of them. (Narongchai Hlawprasert/Adobe Stock Photo/CNN)
TORONTO -- Ontario students of all ages will once again be returning to school in a pandemic—but this time the majority will be learning in the classroom.
Children haven’t physically been inside a classroom since mid-April when the province shuttered schools to in-person instruction as a result of rising COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.
While many may be looking forward to a return to normalcy this year, there is a lot that parents and students need to be aware of before heading to school on that first day. What safety protocols are in place currently? What happens if there is a COVID-19 case at a school? Will children need to play catchup when it comes to their studies?
In Episode 9 of Life Unmasked, the team hopes to answer some of these questions and look back at what teachers, parents and students have learned over the past year. Dr. Lana Parker, professor of education at the University of Windsor, joins the podcast to talk about why parents shouldn’t be too concerned about learning deficits and why in-class learning is invaluable.
We’re then joined by Ryan Bird, spokesperson for the Toronto District School Board (TDSB), who provides some insight into what parents should expect when they send their children back to school.In early August, the province released a 26-page back-to-school plan providing guidance on masking, cohorting, extracurricular activities, and infection prevention measures.
Since then, each school board has also been adjusting their own policies to deal with more local pandemic challenges. The TDSB has provided a few additional public health measures, including a ban on in-person assemblies and differences with extracurricular activities as well as cohorting. They have also mandated vaccinations for all staff, trustees and visitors.
Life Unmasked airs first on the iHeart app every Thursday morning before becoming available on other streaming platforms. If you have questions for the podcast team, or an idea for an episode, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.