BARRIE -- With only five weeks until the first bell rings for the new school year, the Simcoe Country District School Board (SCDSB) announced its plans for returning to the classroom on September 8.

All staff members are required to wear masks, while students and staff will be asked to self-screen daily, anyone with symptoms told to stay home. The board promising expanded mental health supports and online resources.

"This includes social workers providing counselling to students both in-person and through remote delivery consultation to education and support staff and parents to support students who are encountering mental health challenges," says Dawn Franks, Mental Health Lead with the Simcoe County District School Board.

Across the board

  • Staff at all schools will be required to wear a mask provided by the SCDSB
  • The board is asking all staff and students to self-screen health conditions before attending school each day.

Elementary schools

  • Students will return full time
  • Kindergarten through Grade three are not required to wear masks, but it is encouraged.
  • The board will provide masks to grades four through eight students who are required to wear masks.

Secondary schools

  • All students are required to wear masks, which will be provided by the SCDSB when physical distancing is impossible
  • Students will return on a quadmester schedule. They'll enroll in only two courses from September to November, changing to two different courses from November to February.

The board says parents who don't want their children to return to in-class learning will have the option to opt-out, and instead continue online education.

The school board is sending home that survey within the next few days and hopes to have it returned within a weeks time in order to prepare for the first day of school on September 8.

Click here for more school reopening information.

With files from CTV's Mike Arsalides.