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Kenora - Head Office
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Phone: 807-468-5571 Fax: 807-468-3857
Toll Free: 877-275-7771
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Toll Free: 877-287-5430
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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions about the 2020-2021 School Year

These FAQs were last updated on August 20, 2020. 

Recently Added FAQs

Q:  What happens when someone gets sick at school?

A:  We have worked with the Northwestern Health Unit to develop protocols for if students or staff show symptoms while they are at school.  Every school will have a designated room that is an area where they can be separated from other staff and students.  Schools will separate staff and students who displaying symptoms in a supervised area until they are able to go home.  The ill child will be supervised at a distance of 2 m.  If very ill, staff will wear appropriate PPE while supporting the student.  Hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette will be practiced at all times.  The space will be fully cleaned after the child is picked up.  The Health Unit is providing a list of COVID-19 symptoms which have been increasing since the onset of the pandemic.  Schools will immediately notify the parents and guardians if their child becomes ill.  The need for emergency contact information is necessary.  The class the ill child or staff member was in may be closed until appropriate cleaning has taken place. In that situation, the students and staff would be relocated to another area in the building.  Persons who test positive may not return to school until they cleared according to public health unit guidelines.  The best thing parents can do is, if your child is ill or showing any symptoms, they need to be kept at home.  There is a second protocol as well, if the school is notified that a child/staff member has become ill overnight, and who needs to be notified and areas of the school need to be cleaned based on where the staff/student was prior to becoming ill.  Protocols are provided to every staff member and staff will be trained on protocols at first staff PA day. 

Q:  Will parents be notified when there is a positive case in their school or classroom?

A.  As a school board, because of the sensitivity of health data, that will be at the direction of the Northwestern Health Unit.  Certainly, if there is contact tracing required, they will be notified directly by the Health Unit.  You will be notified if there is a concern – that will come directly from the Health Unit and for those who would have come into contact.

Q: Should there be a positive case in our child's cohort and we are directed to self-isolate by public health, meaning we cannot attend in-person, will our child receive support through remote learning immediately or will they have to wait?

A: Each situation would be looked at on a case by case basis.  In situations where students are not able to attend in-person as a result of public health protocols, families will be supported although access to full remote learning may not be available right away.  

Q:  Will the hockey academy be running in the first semester?

A:  Yes, secondary hockey academies will run as scheduled, provided they have the enrollment to run that course - with off ice opportunities at this time, to work on skill-building – until at least December.  For elementary hockey academies, we are holding off entirely until Dec. at which time we will re-evaluate.  This is due to cohorting as we have to reduce the number of contacts that students would be exposed to keep students safe.

Q:  I have 4 children currently enrolled in French Immersion.  If I opt to do virtual learning in English this year, will they be allowed back into the program next year?

A:  If registered in French Immersion they will participate in French Immersion with a KPDSB French Immersion teacher.  If they leave the program to take English programming, they would stay in the English stream following that.

Q:  My son has a hearing impairment.  He wears hearing aids and has an IEP.  He relies heavily on lip reading.  It is our understanding that his teacher will be wearing a mask.  This is a concern for us, and we are wondering how this will be addressed.

A:  We have been working with our Procurement Officer to get masks that have clear portions on them that will allow for children who have hearing impairments and read lips to clearly see the mouths of their support staff and teacher.  Also, there will be consideration for Kindergarten – we will be supporting those that need speech language support and those masks will be considered for that usage as well.

Q:  My child is in Kindergarten, if we put our child in distance learning, does schoolboard supply a device for my child’s use?  (i.e. IT equipment)

A:  Yes, Chromebooks will be supplied (loaned out) for remote learning and we may be able to support some families in accessing Wi-Fi if that is a barrier to their participation.  Families would reach out to their school principal if this is the case.

Q: Will there be live streaming classes with opportunities for interaction? i.e. cameras in the classrooms

A:  We are waiting on the survey data because we know that participation in classes particularly at the secondary level is critical for subject specific learning. Once we have the data, we will be able to make those decisions and school administration will communicate this to families.  Synchronous learning is an important part of the remote learning plan.

Q: My son is due to begin Kindergarten this fall and I’m planning on sending him in person.   As the shadow days in the spring were cancelled, is there any plan to host shadow days or provide a slow entry for first year K students?

A:  Schools will be reaching out to the families of year one Kindergarten students. Some schools did virtual visits in the spring, we know it is important for students (and families) to have that gentle entry.  You can expect to have outreach from schools, or you can reach out to your school principal to make arrangements that are best for you.

Q: If we choose to change our enrolment type to in class from online, at one of the pre-determined dates, will our school be able to accommodate increases in in-person class size while still maintain physical distancing guidelines?

A:  The survey results are an important part of helping us to staff appropriately.  There are pre-determined dates to change from one type of learning to the other which will allow us to re-staff if necessary.  Survey data is key to ensure that we are able to maintain health and safety protocols for all.

Q:  Who is doing lunchtime supervision and what screening/training are they being given?

A: Lunch supervisors must abide by all health protocols, including a daily self-assessment.  They will be provided training by their school-based administrators or designate.

Q:  Will parent council still operate?

A:  Yes, they are integral to the operation of our schools and we look forward to meeting and working with them again.  Parent Council meetings will likely continue to be in a virtual format until we are notified by the medical officer of health or the ministry that we no longer need to limit visitors into schools. 

Q: Will there be any sort of grade 9 orientation or tour activities prior to the first day of school?

A: We recognize that the transition from elementary to secondary is very important.  Staff will be planning for this this and team building activities for the new grade 9 students, while ensuring that safety protocols are in place.

Q:  Can you please explain the difference between synchronous and asynchronous learning?

A: Synchronous learning means ‘learning at the same time as the rest of the group’ - whether it is with the entire classroom or a small group or whether it’s one on one with the teacher.  A-synchronous means on your own time, basically i.e. work that is assigned through a virtual learning environment such as a google classroom, email, phone call etc.-depending on the ability for connectivity for students.  It could include recorded instruction to do work on own time.

Q:  What type of training is being provided for staff in terms of the language, discussions and education around COVID-19?

A:  Schools’ Mental Health Ontario supports every school board across the province with the implementation of mental health priorities to develop mentally healthy classrooms has been working diligently all summer to create a return to school set of resources for all levels – from director/trustees to educators.  We anticipate students returning to school with lots of experiences and stories to share – some traumatic and emotional.  Mental Health educators have developed a set of resources that provide very explicit scripts to respond to these social/emotional experiences and stories, in a very compassionate and respectful manner. 

Q: I would just like to know a little bit more about relationship building.  My son tends to gravitate toward friendships with younger peers.  I am a little bit concerned about his ability to make friends within his cohort. What relationship-building techniques will be in place?

A.  Cohorting for some students may mean making new friends.  Strategies that will be put in place are:  buddy activities, new pairings of students within the classroom so they hopefully form new relationships that carry on during the unstructured times; and facilitated group play activities.  We have all of our school supports still in place such as access to school counsellors, family navigators, our special education resources teachers, educational assistants, and other caring and trusted adults in the school environment.

Q:  My child was going on the Toronto school trip this year.  I am wondering if this is still happening?

A.  Although it is a very exciting opportunity for students, we have been directed by the Ministry of Education to cancel all trips.  This decision could be revisited in December, but at this time, we will not be able to do trips.

Q:  We are wondering about online learning and what it will look like especially for Kindergarten.  Will it be taught by the regular teachers and if so, how/when will on-line learning take place if the teacher is already at school and teaching in person?

A:  Virtual classes for Kindergarten classes was fun, but different.  Live sessions with teachers and Early Childhood Educators (ECEs) provided stories, songs, art and drama activities, virtual field trips AND working with families with suggestions for asynchronous activities that can happen such as outdoor play activities and follow up to the instruction that happens live online.  As far as their own teacher goes, it will depend on the family survey data – it is possible that we may have teachers that are exclusively teaching on line – depending on how many students we are supporting in that learning method.

Q:  Are elementary students expected to bring school supplies from home or is the school going to supply the students with what they need? 

A: At KPDSB we supply all elementary supplies as equity is important to us.  Students can bring their own special pens, pencils and markers if they wish.  We will ensure supplies are labeled and kept for each individual student, so we have fewer points of contact/sharing.  We are recommending that students bring their own refillable water bottle.

Q:  Will secondary students be allowed to go home on the lunch break or are they expected to remain on school property in assigned lunch spaces?

A:  We strongly encourage students to stay at the school for the lunch break. However, we do acknowledge that some may choose to go home.  If they stay in the school, there will be designated areas for lunch with their cohorts. 

Q:  Will fine arts band instruction continue?

A:  This will be part of the school-based plans.  Bringing students together for band may exceed the number of direct/indirect contact that students are might have.  Therefore, we may have to put band on hold in its traditional format.  We do have direction from the Ontario Music Educators Association, that helps to support and inform our planning whether it is instrumental programs or vocal music programs that helps to maintain programming for students during COVID-19 but makes sure it is done in a manner that has been ok’d by public health.  Schools have been encouraged to reimagine programs but the health and safety of our students and their families and staff is critical so this may mean putting a pause on some programs.

Q: Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT) – will last year’s Grade 10 students have to complete the OSSLT this school year?

A: Last year’s graduating students were exempt only.  Students in grades 10, 11 or 12 this year that have not yet taken the OSSSLT will need to fill this requirement for graduation.  They can write OSSLT this school year (the Ministry has indicated that they will be running it twice this year – once in the fall and once in the spring in a virtual format).  Students who were previously eligible and who were not able to write because of COVID-19 are also eligible to be placed into the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Credit which is a course that students take in place of the OSSLT.  Last year’s students who were not able to write do need the literacy credential in order to graduate.

Q:  High school sports – are they happening this year?

A:  High school sports will continue in PE classes.   We are meeting with regional partners to see if regional sports will happen.  OFSSA, who manages secondary sports for the province, have cancelled all fall sporting events/competitions.  They will revisit this to see if they can do winter or spring events, but at this time, all fall Ontario-wide secondary events are cancelled.  We will try to continue with some athletics in schools – based on conversations with the Health Unit and our schools but we will have to be careful that they are sports that are non-contact sports e.g. cross-country running would be acceptable. 

Q:  My son is entering Grade 9 this fall.  When will he be informed which classes he will have to start the school year?

A:  Once surveys are completed and we know the number of students that will be attending school and attending remotely, we will be able to complete timetables/schedules.  Then students/families will be informed.

Q:  Volunteer hours – How are children to get volunteer hours to graduate as not everything is open and they were not able to do volunteer hours this summer due to COVID?

A:  There is a lot of searching for virtual placement and virtual hours – guidance counsellors and staff will be working with students to provide ideas and share resources on how to acquire their 40 hours in order to graduate.

Q: IIf child is having trouble wearing a mask, will there be supports at the school to help them get used to it?

A:  Families need to help them to learn to wear a mask prior to school starting.  If your child has medical/sensory reasons for which they cannot wear a mask, you can speak to the school principal about exemptions.  We will be scheduling outdoor times/breaks.  Public Health Officer of Ontario has indicated that if children are outside and more than 2 metres apart, they can remove masks for a break.  We will have training for staff and students on how to wear masks as part of our health and safety training.  We look forward to working together to support children in wearing their masks at school.

Q:  For graduating Grades 12s, will bursaries/grants/scholarships/applications to post secondary schools continue as usual this year?

A:  We don’t expect any changes.

Q:  School Bus transportation – Did filling out the school board's survey for returning to school register my child for the bus?  If they didn’t use the bus last year, do they still need to call and register?

A:  If your child was registered to a bus at the end of in-class instruction last school year (March 2020), and you have not been contacted by the busing consortium this summer, your child will still be registered to their bus.  If your child did not ride the bus last school year, and you require school bus transportation in September, you will need to register them for the bus as soon as possible.  Visit for more information.  Filling out our survey did not register unregistered students for the bus.

Q:  Will students be permitted to leave from and return to their classroom group for purposes of attending doctor and dentist appointments if approved by the parent or guardian?

A:  Yes, as long safety protocols are followed.  Students may need to sign out and back in, following the school’s protocol.

Q:  Will there still be tutoring offered to students at school?

A:  We receive information from the Ministry of Education regarding our formal tutoring programs after the beginning of the school and will reach out to parents through the schools when we know we have funding for the programs.  However, with regard to intervention or supporting learning in general,  students can work 1-1 or in small groups as long as they follow protocols.  Whether or not we have programs in place we are always looking for ways to support our students.  We have spec education teachers and Four Directions coaches etc. There are many ways for students to access supports.  It’s important that they feel supported in their academics.

Q:  Will schools be open after hours for students who use the library or classrooms to complete their homework?

A: No, not at this time.  This may be possible later but at this time, students will be at school just for the school day.

Q:  Will my child be allowed to attend elementary school in person on a part-time basis?  I would like them to attend 3 days per week instead of 5 days per week.  Is this possible?

A:  Outside of Kindergarten where this might be possible for a ‘gentle entry’, no.  It’s important that students attend every day (if in person) as they will miss out on opportunities.  

Q: What will elementary school drop off look like?  Will school start times be staggered?

A: This is part of school-based plans and will be communicated by schools prior to the first day of school.  Busses are scheduling their routes ‘as per usual’.  The plan for entering the school will look different due to social distancing.  We will likely see one cohort entering the school at a time.  There may be staggered outdoor times to eliminate hallway congestion.  The daily number of minutes of instructions remains the same and must be followed as per Ministry guidelines.

Q:  Are elementary students allowed to play outside first when they arrive at school or are they required to line up and go directly into the school?

A:  That depends – it will be part of school-based plans as it does depend on size of schools.

Q:  Is there a max cohort size?

A:  Maximums are set by the Medical Officer of Health for Ontario – They are: 

  • 50 indirect/direct contacts for elementary
  • 100 indirect/direct for secondary.

KPDSB average Secondary class size is 19; average Elementary class size is 21.

Q: Ventilation in schools/classrooms – what is being done in that regard?

A:  Directors of Education had the opportunity to meet with the Chief Public Health Official in Toronto who is responsible for air quality. We have been directed by the Ministry to review all of our HVAC and air handling systems and to submit an analysis of that to the Ministry of Education.  We will upgrade all of our filtering systems to manage smaller particulates such as viruses and bacteria.

Q:  Hot lunch programs at elementary schools:  There have been announcements of secondary schools being grab and go - what does this look like at the elementary level?

A.  Anything with regards to food, we take direction from Public Health.  Food plays an important role in all our schools, we will continue to provide those supports to students, but it will be ‘grab and go’.  We have to make sure we don’t have cross-contamination – health protocols are very important, particularly at this time.  Food programs will continue.  There should be little disruption to this program.

Previously Answered FAQs

Q:  My child would like to do a combination of both in-person and remote learning.  Is this an option?

A:  We have been directed to offer two options to families by the Ministry of Education.  Families have to pick either in-person or remote learning through our Return to School Survey for families, we are not able to offer a combination of the two.  Should families choose one option and want to switch to the other, you will be able to do so but will have to wait until predetermined dates throughout the school year to actually make the switch.  These dates will be aligned with formal assessment periods.

Q:  What are the predetermined dates for switching between in-person and remote learning?

*This question was updated on August 12, 2020 to include elementary and secondary switch dates.
**This question updated on August 20, 2020 for edits to secondary quadmester dates and adding dates to notify schools for both elementary and secondary.

A:  Students will be able to switch between in-person at predetermined dates during the school year.

Elementary Change Dates To Switch Between In-person and Remote Learning

Please note - Families must notify their child’s school two weeks prior to these dates to change the delivery model for their child

  • November 2, 2020 - Families to notify schools of their intent to switch models by October 19, 2020
  • February 1, 2021 - Families to notify schools of their intent to switch models by January 18, 2021

Secondary Change Dates To Switch Between In-person and Remote Learning

Please note - Families must notify their child’s school two weeks prior to these dates to change the delivery model for their child

  • November 12, 2020 - Families to notify schools of their intent to switch models by October 29, 2020
  • February 1, 2021 - Families to notify schools of their intent to switch models by January 18, 2021
  • April 19, 2021 - Families to notify schools of their intent to switch models by April 6, 2021

Q:  If we chose the remote learning option, can we anticipate this will continue in the same manner as it did last school year? Or, will we have a dedicated online teacher?

*This question was updated on August 12, 2020 to include both synchronous and asynchronous learning opportunities for remote learning

A:  Students learning remotely will be provided with 300 minutes per day of virtual learning and assignments, the same amount of instructional time as students attending in-person, for both elementary and secondary programming.  At the secondary level, 110 hours of class time is required for a credit.  All subject areas will be taught virtually whereas in the spring, specific content was focussed on at different grade levels. Remote learning teachers will have classroom websites and students will participate in synchronous and asynchronous learning activities.

Q:  For students opting for remote/distance learning, how will exams be handled? 

A:  Teachers will be providing students who opt for remote learning with culminating activities at the end of each quadmester.

Q:  Will my child have access to the school’s mental health worker remotely?

A:  Yes, Mental Health services can be delivered remotely. 

Q:  Is my child able to access the speech language services electronically if we chose remote learning?

A:  Yes, speech and language services can be delivered virtually

Q:  What grades are required to wear masks?

A:  Non-medical masks will be mandatory for all students in grades 4-12.  Non-medical masks are not required but are encouraged for students in Kindergarten to Grade 3.  Students may wear their own non-medical masks, and non-medical masks will also be made available for students through their school. Reasonable exceptions on the requirement to wear masks will apply.

Q:  What exceptions will be made with regards to masks being required?  Can you list specific information about what will qualify for an exception?

A:  Exceptions will be made on a case by case basis.  As an example, students with sensory or breathing difficulties may be exempted.

Q:  What qualifies as a ‘non-medical face mask’.  Will a face shield be accepted in place of a mask?

A:  The Government of Ontario identifies an acceptable face mask as fully covering your nose, mouth and chin without any gaps. A face shield does not meet these requirements.  Non-medical face masks can be purchased or made in accordance with the requirements above and schools will provide non-medical masks for students who need them.

For more information on face masks, please visit:

How to wear a fabric mask safely -

Ontario face coverings and face masks information - 

Q: Will the school provide masks for my child?

A: Yes, schools will provide non-medical masks for children who need them.

Q:  Will there be physical distancing markers in the schools to support students in following physical distancing?   In classrooms?

A.  Yes, all common areas/shared spaces (hallways etc.) and school offices in all of our schools will have physical distancing markers and signage installed prior to the start of school.   Classrooms will be set up with distancing, assigned seating for students and a designated area for teaching that is 2 metres from the closest student desk.

Q:  Will there be physical distancing required on school buses?

A:  The Ministry of Education has indicated that to support a return to school 5 days a week, school buses may be operated close to capacity.  School buses will have assigned seats.  Seat assignments will sit children with siblings and/or classmates and other children attending the same school as much as possible.  Masks will be mandatory for grades 4-12.  Active forms of travel (for example, walking and cycling) and private transportation by parents and caregivers, are encouraged where possible, to ease pressure on transportation demand.

Q:  Will staff wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)?  Does the school board have a stock of PPE?

A.  All staff will be provided with medical-grade masks and face shields.  Staff who work closely with students one on one where physical distancing is not possible (ie. Education Assistants) will wear full Personal Protective Equipment or PPE when necessary (including gowns and gloves if required).  Our Board has a supply of PPE at each school and we will continue to restock our supply throughout the school year. The ministry is supporting school boards with the supply chain in the same way they support hospitals.

Q:  What enhanced cleaning procedures have been put in place to keep everyone safe?

A:  Products that provide both cleaning and disinfection will be used (for example, hydrogen peroxide products).  Increased environmental cleaning with a disinfectant will occur throughout the day on any high touch areas such as:

  • Washrooms (cleaned after each use where possible)
  • Lunchroom tables
  • Photocopiers, phones, etc
  • Drinking fountains will be bagged off leaving the bottle filler available for use
  • Door handles, light switches, entrance door push bars, elevator call buttons, stair rails
  • Other areas as required or requested

Capacity limits for washrooms and shared spaces may also be in place, although specific details on that will depend on the size of the room, or in the case of washrooms, the size of the washroom, number of sinks, and the size of the school. 

The more frequently a space (like washrooms) is used, the more often it will be cleaned/disinfected.  School custodians will be in schools during the day to assist with cleaning and sanitizing.

Q:  What are the protocols for using the washrooms and sanitizing?

A:  Please see the information above.   

Q.  Are there handwashing/hand sanitizing stations available throughout the schools?

A:  We have purchased hand sanitizing stations that are foot activated that will be installed in key areas of our schools and offices.

Q: Is there staggered drop off/pickup requirements at schools that we need to be aware of?

A:  Multiple entrances and areas for drop off and pick up will be used.  This will be planned by each school.  Some students may need to arrive later than peers and leave earlier than peers in order to support social distancing measures.  This will be dependent on size of the school, number of entrances and student enrolment.  Your child’s school will ensure you know if your school will have staggered drop off/pickup requirements closer to the start of the school year.

Q:  How will schools ensure my child only interacts with their cohort?

A:  Elementary students will stay with their class as their cohort.  Lunch breaks and nutrition breaks will be staggered.  The Ministry of Education has indicated elementary schools are to limit indirect and direct student contacts to approximately 50 students while at school in the school reopening guidelines.  

Secondary schools will limit direct and indirect contact to 100 students as per Ministry of Education requirements.  Classes will be limited to two per quadmester to limit the number of contacts per student.  Some areas may be closed to facilitate this (ie. cafeterias may only be grab and go)

Q:  Will recesses and lunches be staggered?

A:  Yes, lunch breaks and nutrition breaks will be staggered. 

Q:  My child is in secondary school, what will an average day look like with students taking less courses at one time?

A: Our schools will start the school year with a full return in the conventional model of four quadmesters.  Students will participate in two courses per quadmester. See chart below.


Quadmester 1

Sept 3 – Nov 6

Quadmester 2

Nov 9-Jan 28

Quadmester 3

Jan 29-Apr 13

Quadmester 4

Apr 14 – Jun 25


150 instructional minutes

Sem 1

Period 1 class

Sem 1

Period 3 class

Sem 2

Period 1 class

Sem 2

Period 3 class







150 instructional minutes

Sem 1

Period 2 class

Sem 1

Period 4 class

Sem 2 

Period 2 class

Sem 2 

Period 3 class

Important Dates: 

Final Report Cards will be distributed to students/families on these dates

  • Quadmester 1:  November 18, 2020
  • Quadmester 2:  February 9th, 2021
  • Quadmester 3:  April 27, 2021
  • Quadmester 4:  July, 2021

We will also be updating calendars to include midterm reports, exam days, parent - teacher conferences, periods of time when students may switch from remote to in-person learning.

Q:  What does this mean for clubs and extracurricular activities for the 2020-2021 school year?

A:  We expect most will be able to continue, especially those where social distancing and health protocols can be maintained.  We are awaiting further information from the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations (OFSSA) with regards to sports for the 2020-2021 school year.  More details on extracurricular activities will be released at the start of the school year.

Q:  For families that choose to have their child attend school through remote instruction, are there extracurricular activities that can be done remotely?

A:  For those students who attend virtually, instruction will be available.  Extra curricular activities will not be available virtually at this time.

Q:  Will there be any cohorting of children by family rather than by grade?

A:  On school buses, yes.  At school, if we are required to go to an adapted model at some point, schools will work to ensure that students from the same families are attending on the same day.  Students will be put in classes with age appropriate/grade appropriate peers. 

Q:  The Northwestern Health Unit has mandated masks for everyone in indoor public places effective August 17th.  The Ministry of Education has stated masks are required for students in grades 4-12 but only encouraged for Kindergarten to Grade 3.  Why the discrepancy?

A:  Dr. Williams, Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health, when asked this question, indicated that emerging evidence is that the transmission risk and rate of infection is quite low, not that younger students can't transmit,but younger age groups do not have the community level of transmission.  This does not occur until the pre-teen and teen age. Dr Williams indicated that Ontario is using masking, cohorting and public health measures to manage risk.  They are using international experts who have already had the experience of sending students back to school, the Sick Kids guidance document and the many medical professionals around the COVID command table.

Mental health of children should be the first priority, and then put in other checks and balances especially at levels where transmission is more probable.

Q:  When will class schedules/timetables be released? 

A:  Timetables will be finalized following the August 17, 2020, deadline for families to indicate if their child will attend in-person or remotely as that information is required to complete timetabling. Your child’s school will share specific dates for the release of this information in the coming weeks.

Q:  Are students allowed to leave school property for lunch hours?

A:  Students are encouraged to bring a bag lunch. 

Q:  Will schools be taking students temperatures or screening students for symptoms before they enter the school each day?

A:  At this time, we have not been directed to check temperatures of students before allowing them into the school.  Families are expected to do a self-assessment at home prior to sending their child to school each morning.  Children with COVID-19 symptoms are not to be sent to school.  We will share this assessment with families prior to the start of the school year. It can also be found at the following link

Q:  I have read that families will be required to do a self-assessment each day before sending their child to school.  What is included in the self-assessment?

A:  The self-assessment is available at this link -

Q:  My child has one on one support at school.  With physical distancing required, what will this look like?

A:  Students’ level of support will not change as a result of new guidelines and procedures put in place in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Staff will wear full PPE and follow all public health protocols where physical distancing is not possible. 

Q:  Before I make a decision, I would like to contact the school and see how many children would be in my child’s class.  Will schools be able to provide that information?

A:  Schools will not be able to provide class size information prior to the August 17, 2020, deadline as families are able to choose in-person or remote learning up until that date.

Q:  How will gym time be utilized with masks and physical distancing required?

A: Students may have their own equipment as an example and practice skill development as opposed to games with contact.  Phys ed sports and activities without contact will be the focus. Depending on the grade level, school may consider some of the following activities:

  • Dance
  • Yoga
  • Ball mastery
  • Meditation
  • Taekwondo
  • Skiing
  • Snowshoeing
  • Track and field (running and long jump)
  • Skipping
  • Tai Chi
  • Cycling safety and rodeos
  • Cycling & mountain biking
  • Frisbee golf
  • Hiking
  • Physical theatre
  • Orienteering
  • Geocaching
  • Survival skills
  • Leadership development
  • Fitness from a wellness perspective
  • Community support/kindness
  • Outdoor education

Q:  What is the protocol if a child attending in-person tests positive for COVID?   Or if a teacher/staff member tests positive?  if my child was exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, will they be sent home for two weeks to self isolate?

A:  Families must notify their child’s school of a positive COVID-19 test.  Once notified, we will follow all direction by the Northwestern Health Unit with regards to contact tracing and notifications.

Q:  What happens if parents send their children to school who have symptoms of COVID-19?

A:  If staff or students are experiencing any symptoms of COVID 19, they must stay home from school and should seek testing and appropriate medical attention.  Direction from the Medical Officer of Health states that children who have any of the symptoms of COVID-19 cannot be sent to school.  Students displaying symptoms will be isolated in a designated area of the school under supervision of school staff and sent home as soon as possible.  Students with symptoms will not be permitted to use school bus transportation to return home.

Q:  How do schools plan to physically distance 20-30 kids in one classroom?  How do I find out my school’s specific plans?

A:  Student desks will be physically distanced as far apart as possible and will be assigned to a student.  Classes with larger enrollment may be reassigned to a classroom in the school that is physically larger to accommodate distancing.  Outdoor learning opportunities will be utilized throughout the day.  The medical officer of health has required masking, cohorting and limiting the number of direct and indirect contacts as protocols in addition to distancing to mitigate risk since students may not be able to be 2 m apart within the classroom.  Much like a social bubble, the student's classmates are considered their cohort.

Q:  I didn’t respond to the survey by August 17, 2020.  What do I do now?

A:  Schools will reach out to families who have not responded leading up to the deadline.  If you did not respond to the survey and you were unable to be reached by the school prior to school start-up, you will automatically be placed into virtual learning.

Q:  If we choose to send our children to school in-person and they come down with a simple cold, are we required to keep them home until they no longer have symptoms?  Will they have the option of keeping up with their school work by distance learning in that case?

A:  The medical officer of Health will be releasing additional guidance on this.  It is expected that anyone experiencing any symptoms of COVID 19 stay home until they are well and are cleared by public health to return.

Symptoms include:

  • severe difficulty breathing (struggling for each breath, can only speak in single words)
  • severe chest pain (constant tightness or crushing sensation)
  • feeling confused or unsure of where you are
  • losing consciousness
  • fever (feeling hot to the touch, a temperature of 37.8 degrees Celsius or higher)
  • chills
  • cough that's new or worsening (continuous, more than usual)
  • barking cough, making a whistling noise when breathing (croup)
  • shortness of breath (out of breath, unable to breathe deeply)
  • sore throat
  • difficulty swallowing
  • runny, stuffy or congested nose (not related to seasonal allergies or other known causes or conditions)
  • lost sense of taste or smell
  • pink eye (conjunctivitis)
  • headache that’s unusual or long-lasting
  • digestive issues (nausea/vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain)
  • muscle aches
  • extreme tiredness that is unusual (fatigue, lack of energy)
  • falling down often
  • for young children and infants: sluggishness or lack of appetite

Q:  One of my children suffers from asthma and he sometimes develops a cough as a result, especially in the winter months. Will he be allowed to attend in-person if he develops a cough or will he be sent home?

A:  Additional information is coming from public health.  See the symptoms listed above.

Q: If students are not able to share items like markers and crayons etc., will we be given a list of the things our children will need to bring to school?

A:  Schools will provide the necessary school supplies for students.  Families are asked to supply indoor shoes and reusable water bottles as drinking fountains will be closed, however, bottle filling stations will remain available.

Q:  Will my child be forced to be tested for COVID-19 while at school without my knowledge or consent?

A:  No, schools are not issuing COVID-19 tests to students. 

Q:I still have questions, what do I do?

A: Please email your questions to  We are hosting an information session for families on Wednesday, August 12, 2020, at 7:00pm and will try to answer as many submitted questions as we can during the session.  Please click here for information on how to join the session.