Here’s what you need to know as GTA students head back to class this week | CBC News

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Students in the Greater Toronto Area are returning to the classroom this week after two years of learning disruptions due to COVID-19. With mask policies lifted and extracurricular activities returning, here’s what parents and children should know ahead of the start of the school year. 

Starting date

Classes will resume Tuesday in a number of school boards including Peel District School Board, Durham Regional District School Board and Halton District School Board. 

Some other boards — including the largest, the Toronto District School Board — are set to start classes on Wednesday.

No new COVID-19 protocols

This year, no new COVID-19 protocols will be introduced. Under Health Ministry guidance, school boards have removed class cohorting and daily on-site screening which are no longer mandated.


School will continue to supply rapid antigen tests, which will be available upon the onset of COVID-19 symptoms.

Peel District School Board says when it becomes aware of a positive COVID-19 case, it will continue to notify students, families and staff of the impacted classes.

Schools will not be mandated to publicly report absence rates this year but some school boards, including the TDSB, say they will continue to monitor and release that information. 

Ahead of the start of the school year, the Ontario government announced Wednesday an end to a mandatory isolation period for those who test positive for COVID-19 just days before students were set to return to the classroom.

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Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore said improvements such as better ventilation and environmental cleaning in schools, combined with the level of immunization across Ontario, mean “we now can have a more permissive approach to return.”


According to the TDSB, more than 16,000 HEPA filters are in schools with at least one in every classroom. 

In-person / remote learning

The majority of students in TDSB schools will be learning in-person this school year.

While school boards will offer remote learning, approximately 4,800 students are enrolled for online learning compared to 25,000 at the same time last year.

Students at Portage Trail Community School, in Toronto, return to class on Sept. 15, 2020. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

In July, the province announced its plan to get students caught up after two years of disruptions due to COVID-19, which includes providing students with expanded tutoring and mental health support.

The plan also includes bringing extra curricular activities including clubs, band and field trips back.

In a statement released Monday, Education Minister Stephen Lecce said he is “fully committed” to a return to in-person learning without disruption this school year.

“This new school year marks the beginning of a return to a normal school experience with students in classrooms, for the full school year, with the full school experience,” Lecce said.

“That means that after two years of pandemic disruptions, students are back in normal, enjoyable school settings, including extracurriculars like sports and field trips that we know are so important to student success.”

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