Return to School Plan Highlights Music Education and Classroom Groupings
FREDERICTON (GNB) – Classroom groupings, or classroom bubbles, in the new school year will help protect the health and safety of students in kindergarten to Grade 8 by limiting their contacts. These groupings will also help facilitate contact tracing, if required.
Within their classroom groupings, students will be able to interact with other students and educators without physical distancing. This means they will be able to play, do crafts and group work throughout the day. While they will be able to share supplies or materials in the classroom, it is highly recommended that students have their own supplies. If supplies are shared they should be cleaned at the end of the day.
Students will need to physical distance from other groups and from students outside their classroom grouping by two metres. Equipment that is used by multiple groupings, such as physical education equipment or computers, will be cleaned after each use.
The size of the grouping will vary based upon the grade level. For students in kindergarten to Grade 2, the group size will be reduced to as close to 15 as possible. Grades 3 to 5 will aim for groupings close to 22 students, while Grades 6 to 8 will be regular class sizes.
All students and staff in the kindergarten to Grade 8 system will be required to bring two clean, community face masks to school with them every day unless they have been advised by a medical professional not to wear a mask.
Students in kindergarten to Grade 5 will not be required to wear masks in their classroom grouping but will be encouraged to wear them in common areas, like hallways. Students in Grades 6 through 8 will not need to wear a mask while in their classroom grouping, but they will be required to wear one in common areas, including on the school bus unless they are seated with a member of their household.
For staff in the kindergarten to Grade 8 system, masks are not required within their classroom grouping, but are required in common areas. Specialty teachers, like gym and music teachers, and supply staff are required to wear masks when working with students if physical distancing is not possible.
Students of all ages will be able to sing and use instruments throughout the year. Wind instruments and singing will be allowed, however, additional health and safety measures will also be required, including physical distancing, increased cleaning and disinfection. These activities should take place in outdoor spaces as much as possible. When weather prevents outdoor classes, proper hand sanitization is required prior to entering the space where music is taught and upon leaving.
Students in kindergarten to Grade 8 will participate in music class within their class groupings. Physical distancing within their class grouping is not required, and musical instruments may be shared within the grouping. They will be able to sing indoors when weather prevents this activity from taking place outside. Students will be encouraged to sing softly and to increase their physical distance when singing indoors.
Students in Grades 9 to 12 will maintain a physical distance of two metres while participating in music class or other music-related activities. They will be permitted to share instruments, provided they are cleaned between uses. It is recommended that students in Grades 9 to 12 sing only outdoors, weather permitting, or in large spaces to ensure they can properly physical distance.
The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development has released a detailed parent and public guide supporting the Return to School: September 2020 plan for the public-school system.
The Return to School: Guide for Parents and the Public provides a detailed overview of what students, parents and guardians need to know before returning to school in September. Return to School: Direction for School Districts and Schools outlines the requirements schools and school districts must meet while developing their COVID-19 operational plans, which will be made available to parents. It works in conjunction with Public Health guidance to the department and may be changed based upon the evolution of the pandemic.
The department will continue to work with educators, schools and school districts in the coming months. Schools and districts will make individual school operational plans available to parents on Sept. 3.
Parents with questions about the Return to School plan can email . For questions about the Laptop Subsidy Program, parents can call 1-833-901-1963 or email .
01 September 2020