Government Provides Plan for a Return to School
If things go according to plan, students might be back in the classroom as early as September.
Premier Dwight Ball and Brian Warr, Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development, outlined a comprehensive plan for a return to school in September that will enable school districts and parents to plan proactively while prioritizing the safety and well-being of students and school communities.
Current literature notes that children and youth are less susceptible to the risk of COVID-19 and that school closures increase inequalities in learning, particularly for those who are vulnerable.
The focus of the Newfoundland and Labrador K-12 Education Re-entry Plan is to maximize in-person attendance in the K-12 education system while ensuring health and safety measures to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission for students, all teaching staff, support workers and families.
The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is following recommendations and the advice of various expert organizations including public health officials both provincially and nationally. The plan offers guidance on a wide range of operational areas including physical distancing measures, hygiene and cleaning protocols, transportation, food services, curriculum outcomes, assessment, and guidance for students with exceptionalities, among others.
School districts will plan for three scenarios for the fall:
Scenario 1: In-school classes resume (near normal with health measures)
Scenario 2: In-school classes partially resume (with additional health measures)
Scenario 3: At-home learning (in-school classes are suspended/cancelled)
The preferred and anticipated scenario is that students will return to daily in-school classes at the beginning of the year. However, school districts are asked to prepare for implementing any of the three possibilities during the upcoming school year, including on short notice. Officials with public health and the department will be monitoring the situation closely and will provide any necessary updates prior to the beginning of the school year.