All students will be able to return to the classroom full-time this September under the Ontario government’s back-to-school plan.

The plan notes that all elementary students and secondary students can attend school in-person five days per week. However, remote learning will remain an option for those who are not comfortable with returning to the classroom. 

Those attending post-secondary institutions can also return to campus this fall, but they will need to follow specific on-campus health and safety rules regulated by each school.

See elementary, secondary and post-secondary rules for Waterloo Region below. Please note that the province’s back to school plan will likely be adjusted based on key public health and health-care data.

Elementary School 

All children heading back to elementary school will attend school in-person five days per week.

Students will be cohorts, or within the same group of children and will only have one teacher.

Other programming, such as physical education or French, will continue while students are in cohorts.

Students, including kindergarten students, must wear non-medical or cloth masks indoors, including in hallways and during classes and on school vehicles. 

Students must self-screen for symptoms of COVID-19 every day before going to school.

Secondary Schools

All students heading into secondary school will attend school in-person five days per week.

School boards are ensuring student schedules have only two in-person classes.

Students within the Waterloo Region District School Board will be learning two courses each day一one in the morning and one in the afternoon.

Students must wear non-medical or cloth masks indoors, including in hallways and during classes and on school vehicles.

Students must self-screen for symptoms of COVID-19 every day before going to school.

Teachers and Staff

All staff in schools must wear masks, with reasonable exceptions for those with medical conditions. Staff working in close contact with children who are not wearing masks must use eye protection such as face shields or goggles.

School staff who are regularly in close contact with students will be provided with all appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), such as medical masks and face shields.

Teachers and school staff must self-screen for symptoms of COVID-19 every day before going to school.

Post-Secondary Institutes

Overall, most universities in Ontario are making COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory for those returning to campus.

University of Waterloo

Beginning Sept. 1, the University of Waterloo (UW) will require students and employees who are coming back to campus to anonymously self-declare their vaccination status. This includes anyone who is living on an on-campus residence, who will need to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19.

Unvaccinated folks  or those who do not declare their status will be directed to a rapid antigen screening program and will have to participate in COVID-19 screening twice a week.

For COVID-19 protocols, face coverings must be worn in accordance with the UW’s  face covering requirement. Every person must conduct self-screening for COVID-19 symptoms and record their presence through their campus check-in each day that they attend campus. All staff and students must also practice self-distancing on campus, providing a distance of at least two metres between each individual.

Wilfrid Laurier University

Wilfrid Laurier University (WLU) will require all students, staff and faculty returning to campus to be fully vaccinated or have plans to be fully vaccinated with an approved COVID-19 vaccine.

As of Sept.. 7, all of WLU’s community members will be required to confirm their vaccination status in advance of attending their campuses.

Those at WLU who have not been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will be provided with information on the province’s vaccination program and will be required to commit to regular testing and receive a negative test result before attending campus. However, those who are unable to be vaccinated due to medical reasons or other grounds protected under the Ontario Human Rights Code will be able to submit a request for accommodation and will be required to follow university testing requirements and health and safety protocols.

As for personal protocols, anyone experiencing COVID-19 symptoms will not be permitted to attend any WLU campus. The university’s face-covering policy requires that anyone on campus must wear an approved face covering in all indoor common areas and in classrooms and laboratories. Lastly, on-site meetings are discouraged and if gathering in person individuals must follow physical distancing protocols. 

Conestoga College

Conestoga College will be introducing a new vaccination policy on their campuses.

It is expected that the new policy will be fully implemented by Jan. 1, 2022, when the college plans on reopening completely to a near-normal college function and experience. 

Conestoga College will require vaccination for all students living in residence, as well as all students in varsity sports for the Fall term.

Students must also complete the Conestoga Mobile Safety Application screening decision tree, at least 24-hours before entering any campus or college building. Students will be supplied with two College-issued protective masks for every entry to the college. The college is asking all staff and students to practice social distancing on campus, and no gatherings of more than 10 people are permitted on campus at any time.