At a Special Meeting of the Trillium Lakelands District School Board, director of education Wes Hahn said that the vast majority of parents have opted to return their children to regular full day learning beginning September 8.
In his return to school presentation Hahn released the following statistics for board discussion:
- 92 per cent of parents have responded to the board survey
- 85 per cent of those responding will be returning their children to full day school
- 15 per cent of those responding have opted for remote learning
- 1,600 elementary students and 530 secondary students have opted for remote learning
Hahn continued his presentation telling trustees that the first week of school will be staggered with half the students in a class attending the Tuesday and Thursday of the week of Sept. 8 with the other half attending the Wednesday and Friday of that week.
“We will need the time to teach students the new routines,” Hahn explained.
“The ministry has approved of the staggered return and has approved the boards who want to implement it,” Hahn continued.
With a very high number of students returning to school the conversation turned very quickly to bus protocols.
“Some buses are going to be full,’ Hahn admitted,” and we won’t be able to physically distance on those buses or in some of our classrooms.”
Superintendent of business services, Tim Ellis, painted a pretty stark picture of the busing options that the board is currently looking at.
“There are limited buses available. There is also a driver shortage.”
“We have few options beyond masking and having the windows open weather permitting,” Ellis suggested.
Drivers may have additional masks available to ensure that the appropriate students are masked Ellis added.
When asked why more buses weren’t available Ellis was blunt.
“We have little flexibility. Buses are expensive to put on the road and the driver cohort risk factor is higher for many of these drivers who are 70 years of age (or older).”