In consultation with Dr. Janice Fitzgerald, Chief Medical Officer of Health, and Public Health officials province-wide, the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District (NLESD) is preparing to resume in-class instruction for schools in the Central, Western and Labrador regions, in accordance with certain parameters and protocols outlined below.
For the Avalon Region, the ‘circuit breaker’ period has been extended for at least two weeks, up to and including March 12, 2021. Schools in the Avalon region will therefore continue to adhere to the Scenario 3 Protocols for Online Learning for different grade groupings. The only exception at this time is for students with complex needs, who will be able to access in-school learning if their families wish to avail of it. Schools will be following up with families to provide further information.
Central, Western and Labrador teaching staff will begin in-class instruction as follows:
- K-12 grades begin in-class instruction under Scenario 1 (near normal), where possible under newly-updated health and safety protocols, on Wednesday, March 3,
- The exception is at certain schools (e.g., some intermediate/high schools) where classes cannot adhere to newly-updated health and safety protocols around cohorts and physical distancing. These classes will begin instruction under a Scenario 2 (blended in-class/at home learning) environment, on Wednesday, March 3.
- Information on Scenario 2, and affected schools, is in the document linked here and below.
Public Health has updated recommendations to health and safety protocols for in-class instruction, including:
- All school staff will be required to wear a Level 1 medical mask and face shield at all times within instructional spaces and at any other time a two-metre physical distance cannot be maintained between students/other staff. A Level 1 medical mask is a disposable, non-surgical 3-ply mask.
- All students in Grades 4-12 are expected to wear a mask (not necessarily a Level 1 medical mask) at all times on the school bus and during the school day, including when seated in classrooms.
- Grades 7-12 students who cannot cohort (i.e., maintain a consistent class grouping throughout the school day) must maintain a two-metre physical distance at all times.
- Students in Kindergarten to Grade 3 are expected to wear a mask at all times on the school bus and are encouraged, but not required, to wear a mask during the school day.
In schools where in-class instruction has resumed, teachers will be engaged in face-to-face instruction, and online classes will not be available.
“While we are pleased to see a partial return to semi-normalcy in most regions, we recognize the additional health and safety protocols may take some getting used to,” said Goronwy Price, Chair of the NLESD Board of Trustees. “We ask that people be patient and understanding, and support our staff, students and each other as we move to this next phase of teaching and learning.”
The District will continue to work closely with the Department of Education, educational partners, the Chief Medical Officer of Health and Public Health officials in the various regions of the province, to adhere to the recommendations and advice provided - which are expected to be adjusted if Covid-19 circumstances change.