July 12, 2020 / 4:25 PM / a month ago

Factbox: Canadian provinces and their plans to reopen schools amid COVID-19

(Reuters) - Schools across Canada were shuttered in March to curb the spread of COVID-19, impacting some 5.5 million children.

FILE PHOTO: A school bus arrives carrying one student as schools outside the greater Montreal region begin to reopen their doors amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, Canada May 11, 2020. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi/File Photo

Planning is underway to get children back into classrooms in the fall and many provinces are considering a hybrid model: part-time in school and part-time online learning.

Here’s what Canada’s provinces are planning:

ONTARIO

Canada’s most populous province has been leaning toward a hybrid return - part-time in class and part-time online learning at home - to allow for smaller class sizes.

The provincial government has also asked school boards to prepare for an online-only return and for the possibility of a full return. A final decision will be made in August.

QUEBEC

Many elementary schools in Quebec reopened in May, though schools in the hard-hit Montreal region remained closed.

The province said students up to grade 9 will be back in school full-time in the fall, with each class split into a few bubble groups. High school students will alternate between in-person and online learning.

BRITISH COLUMBIA

British Columbia reopened some schools in late March for the children of essential workers. The province on June 1 reopened to all students, with younger children attending half-time, and older students attending one day per week.

The province is preparing for younger students to return full time in the fall, with children in grades 8-12 in class part-time.

ALBERTA

Alberta is favoring a full return in the fall, unless COVID-19 cases begin to rise. Then class sizes would be restricted, likely with hybrid learning.

SASKATCHEWAN

Saskatchewan schools will fully reopen in September with new sanitation measures, “air-fives” instead of hugs, and students and staff not allowed to mix outside their groupings.

MANITOBA

In Manitoba, schools reopened in a limited capacity for small groups on June 1. The province is favoring a full-time return in the fall, but also considering a hybrid model.

ATLANTIC PROVINCES

The Atlantic provinces are favoring in-person learning, with limited class sizes and some online learning for older kids. Nova Scotia has not yet provided its plan.

Reporting by Julie Gordon in Ottawa, Allison Lampert in Montreal and Moira Warburton in Toronto; Editing by Alistair Bell, Jonathan Oatis and Diane Craft

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