Ontario school reopening plans give parents option to keep children at home

By Moira Warburton
TORONTO (Reuters) - Ontario Prime Minister Doug Ford said Friday that parents will have the option to leave their children at home to continue distance learning in the three scenarios that school authorities should consider while the Province prepared for the reopening of classrooms for 2020 -21 school year.
The three scenarios in Ontario are: return to pre-pandemic education where all students are personally present and strict cleaning guidelines apply; a modified routine that allows a maximum of 15 students a day to enter classrooms and adjust schedules to limit student movement throughout the day; or continue to study exclusively at home.
The province said that depending on the state of the coronavirus pandemic in September, each school district will choose the most appropriate option. Canada's most populous province closed its schools in mid-March to limit the spread of the novel corona virus and most other provinces.
Earlier this week Quebec said all schools would reopen in September with social distancing measures.
The school authorities of Ontraio are asked to plan each of the three scenarios and to switch flexibly to any option at short notice.
The committees must be ready to submit their plans to the government by early August in accordance with provincial guidelines.
"We need to empower school authorities to make decisions based on their local needs, challenges, and local priorities," said Ford. "The fact is that this virus remains a threat and our children's health and safety are always paramount becomes."
The government will consult with health authorities in August to decide which scenario is appropriate.

(Reporting by Moira Warburton in Toronto; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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