With just two weeks to go to the start of the school year, families and educators in the Waterloo region are getting ready to return to the classroom.
But as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, it is shaping up to be a school year full of changes.
The Waterloo Region District School Board is planning a return to sports and extracurricular activities in September.
Although masks are mandatory in class, they are not mandatory during recess.
âStudents can be outdoors without a mask if they can stay in their cohort and at least two meters away from students in another class cohort,â said Bill Lemon, director of WRDSB.
âExtracurricular groups, like sports, we will need to consider additional safety measures that people will need to follow in order for these activities to take place.
An exact list of activities, and their security protocols, remains to be determined.
Another change will see the return of field trips.
âIt might not be ready for the beginning of September, but we hope we can come to a place where we can provide parents and staff with a level of comfort with these activities,â Lemon said.
The board said it is still awaiting more details from the province and is also finalizing its plan for handling COVID-19 outbreaks and cases, adding that discussions are underway with public health.
For parents in the region, planning for this year’s back-to-school season is a mixed bag.
“I’m excited. I have all kinds of feelings. It’s amazing for him to finally go out and make friends,” said Reem Itani, who is preparing for his son’s first day of school.
“We’re packing it up with new bags. I’m still waiting for the list to come from school with the things we need to buy, but we talked about masks and how things are going to be different.”
“I am really looking forward to them in class,” said Moses Moussa, a parent of three. “Interacting with other children is more important than sometimes learning.”
He said he hopes there will be no more school closures in the fall.
“I pray that things stay under control so that the children don’t have to face the same thing,” Moussa said. âUsually when kids are in class, they learn more. “