TORONTO — Ontario students of all ages will once again be returning to school in a pandemic—but this time the majority will be learning in the classroom.

Children haven’t physically been inside a classroom since mid-April when the province shuttered schools to in-person instruction as a result of rising COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

While many may be looking forward to a return to normalcy this year, there is a lot that parents and students need to be aware of before heading to school on that first day. What safety protocols are in place currently? What happens if there is a COVID-19 case at a school? Will children need to play catchup when it comes to their studies?

In Episode 9 of Life Unmasked, the team hopes to answer some of these questions and look back at what teachers, parents and students have learned over the past year. Dr. Lana Parker, professor of education at the University of Windsor, joins the podcast to talk about why parents shouldn’t be too concerned about learning deficits and why in-class learning is invaluable.

We’re then joined by Ryan Bird, spokesperson for the Toronto District School Board (TDSB), who provides some insight into what parents should expect when they send their children back to school. In early August, the province released a 26-page back-to-school plan providing guidance on masking, cohosting, extracurricular activities, and infection prevention measures.