Students in Ontario to return to school on 5th of January

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The students in Ontario are set to return to schools on January 5, 2021, the Ontario government announced Thursday. (File Photo – Bruce Public School, Ontario Ministry of Education)

“Students are set to return to schools on January 5, 2022 for school boards previously scheduled to return on January 3 to provide schools additional time to prepare for the public health measures announced today,” the Ontario government said in a statement.

The provincial government also announced additional measures in a bid to help ensure safe schools nd protect in-person learning.

The new measures including an update to the COVID-19 school and child care screener ahead of the return to school on January 5 and asking students, parents and staff for rigorous screening and monitoring of symptoms.

Non-fit-tested N95 masks will also be provided for staff in schools and licensed child care settings as an optional alternative to medical/surgical masks, and additional supply of high-quality three-ply cloth masks that are strongly encouraged and free for students and children in January.

In addition, a total of 3,000 standalone HEPA filter units will be deployed to school boards, building on the existing 70,000 HEPA filter units and ventilation devices already in schools.

PCR testing eligibility will continue for symptomatic elementary and secondary students, education staff and participating private and First Nation operated schools who have received a PCR self-collection kit through their school.

Starting in January, the province will temporarily permit only low-contact indoor sports and safe extra-curricular activities and update COVID-19 reporting requirements for school boards and child care in January.

The province will also support the projected hiring of over 2,000 staff, funded by a $304 million allocation for second semester that includes additional teachers, custodians, and mental health workers.

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