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A unique school year begins

(Cartoon by George Longley)

It’s that time of year as students and teachers head back to school with new backpacks, clothes and more – but this time there’s a catch.

This year the world is reeling from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw 132,000 cases in Canada, and 27.3 million cases worldwide.

In total, Canada has seen 9,146 people die from COVID-19. Oshawa itself saw 294 cases, and 23 deaths.

Because of COVID-19 most of the world has been working from home, social distancing, wearing masks, and much more in order to contain the virus and stop it’s spread.

However, as Ontario’s schools ended up closing shop in March during the last school year, it is time for kids to return to school and to continue their education in a safe manner.

What that safe manner is, however, is yet to be seen as school boards work to find a way to have students attend school with as little risk as possible.

In Durham, students will be doing a two week staggered start, which means students in elementary school will be attending on specific days of the week based on their last name.

Students whose parents didn’t feel comfortable sending their children to school were provided with the opportunity to do online learning instead.

Whether this will work is yet to be seen, but students, teachers, and parents all must work together to keep the virus from spreading in schools.

This means proper social distancing, washing hands regularly, wearing masks, and generally respecting one another’s boundaries.

If a student or a teacher feels sick and is showing any signs of COVID-19, it is best to stay home. Toughing it out this year can have severe consequences.

Teachers need to help students remember their new boundaries of six feet, or two metres, and parents have a role to play too.

Ultimately, everyone needs to come together, while staying apart, to keep each other safe and healthy this school year.