Ontario Students Will Spend Winter Break Taking Exams – COVID-19 tests.

The provincial government announced Thursday that it will send home five rapid test kits with each public school student, a total of 11 million tests, before winter break, to use twice a week during their free time and before back to school in January.

Students who choose to participate will be instructed to take the tests on Mondays and Thursdays beginning December 23rd. Any positive rapid test result should be confirmed with a laboratory PCR test.

“These tests will provide a measure of comfort and convenience during the winter break period, something that families of school-age children are sure to appreciate,” said Cathy Abraham, president of the Ontario Public School Boards Association, in a statement. .

And, in news that was well received by school boards, and that will be a relief to frustrated teens, high school students can also look forward to a return to a normal second semester in the new year, unless the medical health officer area have concerns about local COVID-19 levels.

“Ontario’s plan for safer schools has improved ventilation, supported high vaccination rates for youth, and restored extracurricular activities and sports, all critical to students’ physical and mental health,” said the minister of Education, Stephen Lecce, in a written statement.

As the weather turns colder and activities move indoors, Lecce added that “by expanding testing options over winter break, implementing additional security measures and returning to normal business hours, we are taking steps to ensure for schools to reopen safely while supporting a learning environment for students. “

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The decision to implement a normal high school semester of four courses a day, starting in February, or earlier if scheduling allows, was welcomed by school boards, which have been lobbying Lecce on the issue.

“This return to a regular schedule for high school students will improve student engagement and achievement, while allowing educators to create more effective teaching and learning environments,” said Abraham.

Most boards currently have a modified schedule, whereby high school students take two courses every day for one week, then switch to another two the following week, or one course at a time for a month and a half.

Abraham had compared the model of two courses a week to “learning to play something on the piano, and then you can’t play the piano for a week.”

The modified semester and the “octometer” of a course were considered safer for high school students, given the need to keep them in cohorts to limit their contacts during the pandemic.

On Thursday, Lecce also announced that students who want to participate in high-contact extracurricular sports must take regular quick tests, and that parent-teacher interviews should remain virtual for now.

He also said that the rest of the federal COVID-19 funding for schools will go to the boards.

“(We) highly appreciate the release of the second half of federal COVID-19 funding, for which we have strongly advocated,” Abraham said.

“This funding could be up to $ 1.6 billion and will allow school boards to continue to responsibly plan safe and effective mitigation measures for the second half of the school year.”


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