Back to school plans in place for Catholic board

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Despite the ongoing pandemic, staff and students alike are exciting to be heading back to the classroom this week.

Windsor Essex Catholic District School Board Director, Emelda Byrne, says they've been consulting with key stakeholders like school principals, employee groups and the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit to be ready.

"We are still taking a very cautious and measured approach. We want to look at mitigating our risks and maximizing our health and safety protective measures. What does that mean for our parents, they should know we are screening our students in the sense of elementary as well as secondary students coming back into the building," Byrne said.

Byrne says masking, physical distancing, stronger hand hygiene and better utilization of outdoor space are all key safety measures that the board's schools plan to use.

The board finalized its Return to School Guidelines for the 2021-22 school year last week, and Byrne says everyone feels good about the plan in place for the fall.

"We do have a lot more students coming back to in-person which is great," she continued. "Some of our students have not been in our schools since March of 2020, so that sense of calm, that sense of welcoming as well as that cautious and measured approach is really what we're trying to reiterate at this time."

Byrne says she paid a visit to some school sites late last week and it was apparent that faculty are ready to welcome students back.

"There's already people smiling in the buildings saying we can't wait to meet and greet our students and their staff and those families. Because we do know that some of those students haven't seen friends or peers in a long time in elementary or secondary so they're really looking forward to that and so are we."

With their new guidelines focused on a cautious and measured approach in place, Byrne says they will continue to focus on providing students with the best learning experience possible.

- with files from AM800's Rob Hindi