Changes to the school year will start at home this fall.

From packing face masks to self-screening for COVID-19 symptoms, the school year will be uncharted territory for students, school staff and parents.

Hyde Park Public School in Barrie has posters and signs on the walls, directional arrows on the floor and sanitizer stations inside and out as part of its health and safety measures.

School principal, Kathy Whitley, says students will remain in cohorts throughout the day to minimize exposure.

"They will stay with that group of children from the moment they arrive, to the playground in the morning, throughout the day, through recess, and lunch, through dismissal time," Whitley says.

Water fountains are closed, but schools have water bottle refilling stations.

Teachers will wear masks inside the classrooms all day, and a shield when physical distancing isn't possible.

"Our classes are all spaced out," Whitley says. "The desks are spaced apart."

All highly-used surfaces, such as light switches and doorknobs, will be cleaned and sanitized at least twice a day.

The school board says time outside is highly encouraged for playing, eating and learning.

The public school board in Simcoe County anticipates that nearly 90 per cent of its students will return to in-class learning next week.