UCDSB is ready to welcome students back: Director of Education

File photo of an empty classroom .(THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)

The director of education with the Tri-County area's public school board said its ready to welcome students back for the coming school year. 

Stephen Silwa, Director of Education at The Upper Canada District School Board, said on Monday that it has finalized plans to welcome all students back on a staggered basis between Friday, Sept. 11 and Sept. 15. 

Silwa said he appreciated parents' patience while all of the plans have been changed and ironed out. 

"We wanted to take full advantage of the opportunities provided by the provincial government to have more time to prepare our school sites and prepare our staff to receive students," he said. 

"We've never opened a set of schools and a school system post-pandemic, this is new for everybody." 

Silwa said schools have added a number of COVID-19 safety measures for students and staff, including mandatory masks for students from Grade 4 to Grade 12. Masks are also being strongly encouraged for all other children, but not mandatory. 

He said public health nurses will also help staff and the school board with COVID-19 related protocols this year, as well as any contact tracing that's needed, among other things.