With class back in session, CTV’s Madison Erhardt chatted with Jodi Lloyd, Chair of the Simcoe County District School Board, about how the first day went and what to anticipate in the weeks ahead.

Madison: Elementary students with last names starting from A to G are back today, along with grade nine students. What have you heard about how it’s gone so far?

Jodi Lloyd: What I have heard so far is that it’s been very positive.

I think people were anxious over the weekend, and I think people are happy for the first day to start and to get the return to school going.

We have been working at it for a very long time, so I do think there is relief in the return to school.

Madison: What have schools learnt today that will help them going forward?

Jodi Lloyd: Well, I think it’s a gradual return to school. We are working with a segment of our population.

We have about a third of our students back today, and that will increase as the week proceeds, but it gives everybody in the building and all of our students the opportunity to learn together because it certainly is not the same school it was.

Madison: What still has to get done to help with the staggered starts?

Jodi Lloyd: We will be going through all of the new processes with the students as they join us every day to make sure everyone understands them, and everyone is familiar with them.

We want it all to be successful, and it is new, so for some people, it could be very stressful. So we will be working with each group of students as they come into our buildings to ensure that they understand and feel welcomed.

Madison: Teachers will be connecting with their online students over the next two weeks. What does that mean?

Jodi Lloyd: We will be reaching out, and we will be working with them to get their timetables finalized, to get their courses selected, to familiarize them with the platforms we will be using: D2L or Google, and just to make sure they gave the technologies and resources to make it work as well.

Madison: How full are the classrooms? Is there an average number of students per class you are trying to maintain?

Jodi Lloyd: At this point in time, we have to see who actually returns to in-class learning.

As you are aware, we have a staggered start this week, so we won’t have definitive numbers until we are able to conclude the week. Once we conclude the week, we hope that those numbers are aligned with the survey that we did with parents.

If not, if there is a difference, then we may have to make adjustments.