Students in Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba and Nova Scotia return to school
Millions more Canadian students will head back to school today as officials across four provinces work to keep classrooms safe from COVID-19 and the threat of Omicron-driven staff shortages.
Students in Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba and Nova Scotia are set to return to class after starting the new year online because of record-high case counts.
In Ontario, however, a winter storm is throwing a wrench in the school reopening plan, with many boards announcing schools will remain closed today due to heavy snow and bus cancellations. Some boards are offering online classes instead, while others are not.
The provinces had said the switch to remote learning was intended to take pressure off the health-care system and give schools more time to improve safety measures.
Deploying rapid antigen tests and upgrading air quality in schools are among the steps governments say they’ve taken ahead of the return to class, with some of the work still underway.
Still, some parents and teachers’ unions are voicing concerns that those efforts won’t be enough to keep classrooms safe and ensure there’s enough staff available to keep schools operating.
Officials and school boards have told parents there are contingency plans in place, but to expect potential shifts back to online learning if the virus’s spread forces enough people into isolation.
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