The Toronto District School Board invited media as well as some students.
It also came the day after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made official a cash infusion of $2 billion more to the provinces and territories to bolster safety.
Thursday’s tour offered Grade 8 student Kaiya Grant a glimpse at what school life during a pandemic will look like.
“First thing when I came in I felt pretty overwhelmed by everything,” she said.
“But once you learn what everything is for, it’s just like following the rules.”
Sanitization stations have been assembled at designated entrances. They include non-medical, disposable masks, and hand sanitizer.
Decals on the hallway floors direct students on which way to go.
George Webster Elementary School principal Lisa Medd demonstrated, along with her team, the entrance ritual students will have to go through each time.
“Making sure that our kids are screened before they enter the school by the parents, and then they have a second screening when they get into the school by the people meeting them at the door,” she explained.
While the majority of Ontario schools have been slated to reopen on Sept. 8, TDSB schools will reopen a week later.
Grade 11 student Vanessa Trotman was able to get a tour of Wexford Collegiate School for the Arts.
“Right now, I’m excited because of seeing everybody here. It’s nostalgic because I get to see all the classrooms and see all the lockers,” she told Global News.
“It makes me miss how it used to be.”
There are two points of entry for students. At each one, sanitization stations are in place. The stations also include a supply of masks and sanitizer along with posters reiterating public health guidelines.
Lockers have been cable-tied shut and the cafeteria has been closed.
Drinking fountains will be undergoing modifications to ensure only the bottle-filling faucets run, and not the ones individuals can drink directly from.
“Defining where students come into the school, defining how they’ll leave, the flow and movement in the school, is really critical,” explained Principal Tom Lazarou.
Similar to George Webster Elementary School, Wexford Collegiate students must pause in the entryway to answer a few questions from staff.
While many brace for the potential of a second wave, he expressed optimism.
“Are we prepared? I think we are better prepared today than we were in late March, absolutely, and I think as a board we will be as well,” said Lazarou.
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