Can I see my friends when I go back to school?

Published 2020-08-26 07:02

Schools are separating kids into cohorts. Here’s what that means

As everyone around you talks about back to school, you’ve probably been hearing a lot about cohorts.

It’s one of the ways provinces are hoping to keep schools COVID-free.

Here are a few answers to questions you may have about cohorts, based on the information provided by several provinces.

Each province has a different plan, but this will give you a good sense of what to expect.

What are cohorts?

Cohorts are small groups of students that do everything in school together, such as classes, lunches and recess.

Why do we need cohorts at all?

The idea of cohorts is to limit how many people each person is in contact with.

If you come close to only a few people, the germs won’t spread around the school as much.

If someone in a cohort gets COVID-19, it becomes a lot easier to figure out who else has been at risk through contact tracing: you just go straight to the cohort.

Students line up on the first day of school. Two schools in Ottawa started earlier this month. (Image credit: Francis Ferland)

Can I see my friends?

If your friends are in your cohort, then yes, you can!

Cohorts vary in size depending on your province and grade.

If your friends are not in your cohort, you probably won’t be able to spend lunch and recess with them.

You might not see them around school much, either, because some schools are going to stagger students’ recess time so not too many kids are outside at once, and to limit contact in hallways.

Teenager play basketball outside a school.

Expect recess to look a bit different this year, as kids will likely stay in cohorts. You may also have to physically distance from each other. (Image credit: Katherine Holland/CBC)

If you take the bus, you’ll probably be seated with someone in your cohort, or a family member.

CBC Kids News contacted various provinces and school boards, and most places are still figuring out the details.

Expect your parents to receive emails from your school and school board for more information.

TOP IMAGE CREDIT: (Shutterstock, Philip Street/CBC)

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