Ontario has ordered school boards to develop policies on accommodating students with service animals in classrooms.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce announced Monday that boards have until Jan. 1 to come up with their rules.

The directive to boards says they are expected to allow a student to be accompanied by a service animal when it would support the student's learning needs.

Currently, over half of Ontario school boards have service animal policies.

The Greater Essex County District School Board says it revised its policy just last year.

The Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board says it has a checklist that principals must follow, but it will adopt a policy.

The checklist requires a letter from a physician confirming the need for a service dog, and it establishes the need for a case conference where a team would develop a transition plan for the animal.

Boards' policies will also have to include a protocol for addressing concerns from other students or staff, such as allergies.

Lecce was joined for the announcement by fellow caucus member Amy Fee, who fought for years for her son to be allowed to bring his service dog to school.

Fee's son Kenner has autism and his family says his dog has a significant calming effect on the boy, who is prone to high anxiety and frequent meltdowns.

With files from CTV Windsor