|Elementary students with the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board and the Ottawa Catholic School Board will return to class next week while high school students will go back on Sept. 14 and 15. FILE PHOTO
The area’s two English-language school boards have decided to delay the start of the 2020-2021 school year until next week in order to allow more time for everyone involved to get used to the new normal.
The Ottawa District School Board has delayed the start of the school year for both elementary and secondary students until Sept. 8.
The Ottawa Catholic School Board has taken a more staggered approach. Kids in Kindergarten to Grade 3 will go back to school on Sept. 8 along with students in Grade 7. Students in Grades 4-6 and Grade 8 will start their classes on Sept. 9 and secondary students in Grade 9-12 will go back to school on Sept. 14 and 15.
Start dates for in-person and distance learning are the same.
According to the most recent information, close to 26 per cent of parents are opting to keep their children at home. It’s relatively the same number across both boards.
Those parents who are opting for in-person learning for their kids must find a way to get them to school for the first week while the Ottawa Student Transportation Authority (OSTA) adjusts to the new back-to-school start times and a sharp reduction in the number of students needing transportation either because they are opting to study at home, or because their parents would rather drive them to school themselves rather than risk their being exposed to the coronavirus while on a bus.
According to the OSTA, 5,500 students fewer students won’t be taking the school bus once the school year begins. The upside to all those students not taking the bus is that there will be more room on the buses for those that do to allow for physical distancing.
Elementary students enrolled in the Ottawa Carleton District School Board will attend class five days a week with each day broken up into three 100-minute instructional blocks separated by two 45 minute recess breaks.
High school students in Grades 9-12 will attend class on alternating days in two-week blocks. In week one, half of the students will go to school on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, while the other half will go on Tuesday and Thursday. In week two, the schedules will be reversed.
Once at school they will remain in the same cohort, or class, with instruction delivered in two 112.5 minute blocks separated by a 10-minute break. They will be dismissed for the day after the second block of instruction.
Classes will begin at 9 a.m. and end at 1:12 p.m. When the students return home, they will be expected to do another 75 minutes of homework posted online by their teachers and based on what they had learned earlier in the day.
On the alternating days when they aren’t at school they will be expected to study on their own using posted materials for most of the day, however, they will be able to receive help from their teachers during a virtual support period from 1:52 p.m. to 3:07 p.m.
The students will focus on one subject every day during one week and then a different course every day the following week. For instance, they may study math every day during weeks one, three and five, and then history every day during weeks two, four and six.
The first two courses will run from September to mid-November and the second two courses will run from mid-November to the end of January. Four more courses will be taught during the second half of the school year in the same manner.
The Ottawa Catholic School Board had yet to release a detailed in-person high school timetable prior to the publication of this week’s paper.
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