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With schools not reopening, when can you get your kids’ stuff?

Both public and Catholic boards are making plans with the health unit for students to collect their belongings over the next few weeks
2020 school lockers generic
Photo courtesy CSPNE.

Your child left a brand-new pair of shoes or their spring jacket in their locker.

With school essentially out for summer, how are you supposed to get them back?

On May 19, the province announced that all publicly funded schools in Ontario will remain closed for the duration of the 2019-20 school year in response to COVID-19.

Now that the decision has been made, both the Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board (SMCDSB) and the Simcoe County District School Board (SCDSB) are busy making plans along with the health unit to make it safe for kids to collect their personal belongings before summer break officially starts.

“We learned (on Wednesday) that the Ministry (of Education) has committed to providing school boards with a bit of a template, or some guidelines that will help us facilitate some logistical hurdles,” said Pauline Stevenson, communications manager with the SMCDSB.

“It’s one thing to have a high school of say, 1,300 students get in and out, but they’re older. It’s another thing for say, a kindergarten classroom where students have left coats, clothes, artwork... there’s so much we have to facilitate,” she said. “It’s not going to be an easy endeavour.”

The Catholic board has about 22,000 students that are looking to collect their belongings from lockers and classrooms county-wide.

Over at the public board, their senior team is also busy making plans.

“We are working on the process right now,” said Sarah Kekewich, manager of communications for the SCDSB. “The senior team is working on it and it’s just a matter of co-ordinating that.”

Families of students in the public board will be contacted to arrange for the return of borrowed technology equipment by the end of the school year.

Representatives from both school boards indicated they will be working closely with the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit to come up with a plan, which will then be communicated directly with parents on a school-by-school basis.

During a health unit media call on Friday, medical officer of health Dr. Charles Gardner elaborated on the type of advice the health unit would be providing to both boards on how to arrange pick up of personal items.

“When they proceed with this, they’ll have to do it in a careful way,” he said. “It’s going to have to come down to a booking process to make sure they don’t have too many people coming in at once.”

Gardner said physical distancing will need to be maintained and cleaning procedures will have to be established.

“One person per family would be best and the schools will have to maintain excellent disinfection throughout,” he said. “I’m sure it can be done safely, and I have no doubt it will be done safely.”


Jessica Owen

About the Author: Jessica Owen

Jessica Owen brings 11 years of experience to her role as regional reporter for Village Media, primarily covering County of Simcoe matters, education and features
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