With just over a week to go before the students were set to attend classes, the Waterloo Region District School Board says it is delaying the start of the school year.
The board claims it is an effort to allow students and staff more time to transition back into the learning environment both online and in-person.
Students in Waterloo Region have not been inside a classroom since March, when Ontario Premier Doug Ford ordered classrooms to be closed as the coronavirus pandemic first began to spread across the province.
The board says the latest shift will allow staff even more time to prepare for students to return.
“This was a very difficult decision and we realize this may cause an inconvenience for some families,” WRDSB spokesperson Alana Russell told Global News in an email.
“However, as we near the reopening of schools we also know that we need to prioritize the health and safety of our students and staff and be able to best support our operational requirements for a safe return.”
Last week, the WRDSB chose to stagger the start of classes over two weeks in order to to allow staff to prepare for the coming of the school year.
The change announced Monday will see students in Junior Kindergarten attend orientation sessions, on Sept. 10 and 11.
Students with special education needs will also be back in the classroom earlier than the rest of the student body.
Students in Grade 9 will also be in a Grade 9 orientation on Sept. 9 and 10.
The following day, the first cohort of high school students (Cohort B) will begin classes while Cohort A will finally be entering into a classroom the following Monday.
In elementary schools, the plan will see students in Kindergarten to Grade 8 attend classes on alternate days beginning Sept. 14.
The students will be divided into two cohorts based upon surnames.
Group 1, which includes students whose surnames begin with letters A-L will start on Sept. 14, while students whose name begins with letters M-Z will start on Sept. 15. The kids will attend on alternate days until Sept. 18 when all the kids will be in classrooms together.
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.