It was a cold and blistery morning, but students heading back to class Monday morning didn't seem bothered.
"Both my kids were excited to go back today, and that’s what they wanted, and I think it’s a good thing,” says Cheryl Sauve.
Many parents who adjusted to become part-time tutors during online learning in January are happy it’s over.
“To sit on the computer for six hours isn’t what I think kids are meant to be. They want to be in school to engage,” says Claudia Kawa.
Some parents like Adriana Rojas were torn over their fears of COVID-19, and what their kids wanted.
“It’s a mix of feelings, because I’m really concerned about the virus. And at the same time my daughter is really excited.”
Monday's return to class also saw the return of the virus with a case of COVID-19 confirmed at Central Public School in Woodstock. Contacts of the case have been notified.
With the return to school in the Thames Valley District School Board (TVDSB) and London District Catholic School board (LDCSB), many parents have also been asking about opportunities to switch learning models.
TVDSB Education Director Mark Fisher says for students wanting to return to in-class learning that won’t be an issue, but for parents hoping their children can continue remote learning, it’s not as easy.
“A little bit more complicated for the move from in-person to full remote, but not impossible if there are extenuating circumstances,” he says.
In Toronto, Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce announced new funding for testing and personal protective equipment.
“Access to robust asymptomatic testing has been offered to each and every public health unit that is welcoming students back to class,” he says.
But the minister says those decisions will be left to the local health units, and the Middlesex-London Health Unit's Dr. Chris Mackie says there just aren’t enough resources to test every student.
“There is not capacity for testing for all students in the system. And so we will look for opportunities, whether there are clusters or small outbreaks.”
Mackie says they are still awaiting more information about the testing announcement, and how to best implement it.