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Chris Selley: Ontario s back-to-school plan short on ambition but gets passing grade

Chris Selley: Ontario s back-to-school plan short on ambition but gets passing grade
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Ontario’s back-to-school plan, released Thursday, does not deserve the waves of pessimism that have been crashing over it. It is more like successful back-to-school plans from other countries than it is unlike them — mandatory masks as of Grade 4, encouraged for younger children; cohorting students; staggering arrival and departure times; a raft of health-and-safety measures including face shields for teachers; part-time remote learning for most secondary students — and it could be more like them if school boards and individual schools seize the initiative and are given the resources they need.

One small example: Of the most-studied jurisdictions that have reopened schools (or never closed them entirely), every single one implemented at least once-daily temperature checks for students. (Ontario’s plan calls for “self-screening.”) Infrared thermometers go for under $50 on Amazon. Easy. If the board says they actually cost $750 and require a full-time registered nurse to operate, the principal can pick up the phone and call her favourite local journalist. Problem solved, overnight.
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