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Everyone at school tomorrow, but it’s a leap in the dark

TORONTO – The long-awaited day, that of returning to school after months and months, has also arrived for the students of the Toronto administrations, both public and Catholic. And it could be a good day, were it not for the thousand unknowns that loom also due to the delays in the reorganization of schools, necessary with the pandemic still underway. These first two days, then – tomorrow and Friday, then all at home again for the weekend – will be nothing more than a kind of “rehearsal” of what will happen during the school year. Impossible to predict, however, what will happen. 

In fact, it is not known how many students over 12 have been vaccinated and how many have not, it is not known how long the face-to-face teaching will last (will the cases rise again in the autumn? Will there be a new lockdown?) And it is not known if the “plan” “developed by the Ontario government, in fact only on paper and never tested, will work or not. A leap in the dark, in short.

While for the TDSB, TCDSB and the York, Durham and Peel public schools classes begin tomorrow, the first bell has already rung in other districts. For some, on Tuesday: the Bluewater, Niagara and Halton districts. For others, today: the Catholic district of York and the Catholic and public schools of Hamilton-Wentworth. Many photos shared on social networks by parents who greeted their children’s return to school with understandable enthusiasm.

Meanwhile, Ontario Minister of Education, Stephen Lecce, once again underlined the investments made by the Province in school ventilation, necessary to ensure the return to learning in person. The ministry has sent schools guidelines that include the obligation for staff and students to wear masks indoors. In addition, the same ministry has requested that all institutions offer a remote learning option for students who are not comfortable in the classroom due to the pandemic.

There is, however, the great uncertainty regarding the cases in which a student has symptoms attributable to Covid-19. As is known, in fact, the province has removed the “runny nose” and the “headache” from the list of symptoms of Covid-19 that require children to stay home from school and to undergo the test for the coronavirus. Symptoms considered, until a few months ago, as possible “indicators” of a non-serious infection from Covid-19, especially in the very young. The great concern of parents is: what to do in these cases? Still subject the child to the test, following the scruple that moves every parent, or give up and continue to send him to school? Fingers crossed…

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