COVID-19 Updates:

  • Community Update

Ontario Prepares for the Safe Reopening of Schools

The Ontario government released its safety plan for the resumption of class for the 2020-21 school year, outlining scenarios for how students, teachers and staff can safely return to classrooms in September. The plan also provides choice to parents, enhanced online learning, and additional funding. While the decision to return to the normal school day routine will continue to be based on medical advice, boards and schools are being asked to plan for alternative scenarios that may need to be implemented in September depending on the province’s COVID-19 situation.

Ontario’s plan to safely reopen schools will provide options for parents – to send their children in-class or to enter online learning – with health, safety and well-being at its core. Boards will be asked to plan for the following three scenarios to be implemented in September, depending on the public health situation at the time:

  1. Normal school day routine with enhanced public health protocols – Students going to school every day, in classes that reflect standard class size regulations.
  2. Modified school day routine – Based on public health advice, an adapted delivery model has been designed to allow for physical distancing and cohorts of students. Under this model, school boards are asked to maintain a limit of 15 students in a typical classroom at one time and adopt timetabling that would allow for students to remain in contact only with their classmates and a single teacher for as much of the school day as possible. This model would require alternate day or alternate week delivery to a segment of the class at one time.
  3. At home learning – Should the school closure be extended, or some parents choose not to send their child back to school, school boards need to be prepared to offer remote education. Remote education should be delivered online to the greatest extent possible, including the establishment of minimum expectations for students to have direct contact with their teacher at the same time on a regular basis, also known as synchronous learning. Synchronous learning can be used as part of whole class instruction, in smaller groups of students, and/or in a one-on-one context.

The government is instructing school boards to be prepared with a plan, should it be required, that includes an adapted delivery model, which could include alternate day or alternate week attendance, staggered bell times and recess, and different transportation arrangements, among a variety of other considerations to ensure the safety of students and staff.

The government’s safety plan for schools was created following extensive consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, health experts on the COVID-19 Command Table, medical experts at The Hospital for Sick Children, education sector partners, frontline workers, parents and students. While this plan reflects the best medical and scientific advice and recommendations available, parents who do not feel comfortable having their children physically return to school will have a choice to pursue online remote learning.

Key elements of the safety plan include:

  • guidance for developing health and safety protocols, including the use of personal protective equipment;
  • expectations of an in-class school environment;
  • professional development training for teachers on the new protocols and directions;
  • supports for students with special education needs;
  • enhanced mental health and well-being supports;
  • proposals on how educators and students can move fluidly between in-class and remote learning;
  • guidelines to help schools and boards in their communications with students and parents;
  • guidelines for student transportation systems;
  • expectations for the delivery of curriculum and assessment across subjects and grades;
  • guidance for working with First Nations students, parents and communities;
  • regional options for reopening based on the advice of local public health authorities; and
  • a checklist to help boards in their reopening planning.

Moreover, the government announced $4 million in net new funding for cleaning, cleaning protocols, and financial support to hire additional custodial staff in September to ensure schools are safe.

School boards have been asked to prepare their own safety plans for the upcoming school year and submit them to the ministry by August 4, 2020. The ministry will be providing all boards with an opportunity to share their draft plans and seek feedback from a formalized table of medical experts that the ministry will be convening.

School boards will also be required to communicate with parents and students prior to the start of the 2020-21 school year, outlining the safety plan, guidance on health and safety measures and protocols, and any other changes that will be implemented when schools open in September.

Ontario Gradually Reopens DriveTest Centres

On Monday, June 22, 2020, Ontario’s driver testing services provider, DriveTest, will begin to gradually offer limited driver testing services in a staggered, phased approach across the province. Driver Examination services will be reintroduced in three phases until full services are restored this fall. The gradual approach will ensure that strict protocols are in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This is part of the government’s efforts to ensure that critical services are in place so people can return to work as Ontario reopens.

Visiting DriveTest Centres

To reduce crowding and support new requirements for physical distancing, health checks and enhanced sanitation, most DriveTest centres will serve customers who want to take a knowledge test, exchange a driver’s licence and apply for or upgrade a commercial driver’s licence based on when they were born. 

People with birthdays between January to June will be allowed to visit a centre the first week of reopening and people with birthdays between July to December will have access to DriveTest services the following week:

Customer Birth MonthWeek #Dates
January to JuneWeek 1June 22-June 27, 2020
July to DecemberWeek 2June 29-July 4, 2020
January to JuneWeek 3July 6-July 11, 2020

Access to DriveTest services will continue to alternate weekly until full services are restored.

Plan Your Trip to DriveTest Before You Go

Learn more about available driver testing services, how to access DriveTest centres, and which customers are being served each week at DriveTest.ca

Information will be updated every Monday.

Extended Driver’s Licence Status

The Ontario government has extended the validity of all Ontario driver’s licences to keep people safe and reduce the need for in-person visits to ServiceOntario and DriveTest centres to contain the spread of COVID-19. No one will lose their licence due to COVID-19.

For more information, please visit https://www.ontario.ca/page/extended-validation-periods.

Phase 1

On Monday, June 22, 2020, all 56 full-time DriveTest Centres will reopen for the following transactions:

  • G1 knowledge and vision tests
  • M1 knowledge and vision tests
  • Driver’s licence exchanges
    • Out-of-province licences
    • Out-of-country licences (jurisdictions with reciprocal driver’s licensing)
    • Out-of-country licences (non-reciprocating jurisdictions)
  • Commercial driver’s licence applications and upgrades
    • Knowledge tests
    • Vision tests
    • Medical report submissions
    • Criminal Record and Judicial Matters (CRJM) Check or equivalent document submissions
    • School Bus Driver Improvement Course certificate submissions
  • New Entrant Education and Evaluation Program (NEEEP)/ Commercial Vehicle Operator’s Registration (CVOR) Test
  • Commercial road tests (Class A, B, C, D, E, F and Z) at 28 locations across Ontario:
    • Barrie, Belleville, Brampton, Brantford, Burlington, Chatham, Clinton, Cornwall, Downsview, Guelph, Hamilton, Hawkesbury, Kitchener, Kingston, Lindsay, London, Newmarket, Oshawa, Orangeville, Orillia, Ottawa Walkley, Peterborough, Sault Ste Marie, St. Catharines, Simcoe, Sudbury, Thunder Bay and Timmins

Phase 2

 Starting on Tuesday, August 4, the following services will be available:

  • Road-testing for G2 driver licences
  • Road-testing for all motorcycle licences
  • Commercial driver road testing will expand to the remaining 22 DriveTest locations across Ontario that road test commercial drivers. 
  • Part-time Travel Point locations will resume driver examination services as locations become available for the public’s use.

Phase 3

Starting on Tuesday, September 8, all DriveTest centres and Travel Point locations will be fully operational, including G road-testing services.

Ontario will work with the service provider and with public health officials to ensure that the above dates are appropriate depending on the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak. 

New Health and Safety Protocols

To protect the safety of Ontarians, DriveTest will also require customers to wear face coverings inside centres and during road tests, sanitize their hands when they enter the building and undergo temperature checks before road tests.

All DriveTest staff will wear personal protective equipment when serving customers. Driver examiners will also be equipped with face shields, sanitizer packages and seat covers when conducting road tests.