Students in Niagara head back to class tomorrow with some new safety measures in place

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Students in Niagara will be returning to in-person learning Monday.

Niagara reported 23 cases of COVID-19 Sunday, marking the lowest daily case count since December 9th.

Acting Medical Officer of Health Dr. Mustafa Hirji says schools should be the first to open, and last to close in a pandemic.

He says schools were not a major source of infection in the fall, and he hopes that trend continues.

All students across the province, who chose to learn in-person, will return to schools Monday Feb. 8th, except for those in Toronto, Peel and York.

The government has implemented some new safety measures, including mask use for students in grades 1-3, masking for grades 1-12 outdoors when physically distancing isn't possible, and targeted screening for students and staff.

Here is the government's list of upgraded safety measures:

-Province access, in consultation with the local PHU, to targeted asymptomatic testing for students and staff;

-Mandatory masking requirement for students in Grades 1-3, and masking requirement for Grades 1-12 outdoors where physical distancing cannot be maintained;

-Providing 3.5 million high quality cloth masks to schools as back-up supply for Grade 1-12 students;

-Enhanced screening for secondary students and staff;

-Guidance discouraging students from congregating before and after school; and,

-Temporary certification of eligible teacher candidates who are set to graduate in 2021 to stabilize staffing levels, following high levels of absenteeism.