LONDON, ONT. -- Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced Thursday that elementary and high school students will both return to classrooms in September, but not all in the same way.

While elementary students across the province will return full-time, with no change to class sizes, high school students will return with an adaptive model in some boards, but full-time in other boards.

Students in both the Thames Valley District School Board (TVDSB) and London Catholic District School Board (LCDSB) will be part of the adapted model.

That means in-person attendance will be in cohorts on alternate days with classes of about 15 students. In-class attendance is expected to account for 50 per cent of instructional days.

The TVDSB, which serves London and surrounding communities and is the biggest in the region, has been preparing for three different possibilities: in-school learning, at-home learning, or an adapted blend of the two.

The province also announced $309 million in additional education funding for the safe reopening.

Representatives from school boards, unions and government opposition have said that a full-time return to school will require a significant increase in education spending.

Earlier this week Liberals unveiled their fully costed plan for what it would take to reopen schools, which included the hiring of hundreds of educators and opening new classrooms in places like community centres.

Additional protections

The province also announced that non-medical masks will be mandatory in Grade 4 to Grade 12, while younger students are encouraged, but not required to wear them in common areas.

Medical masks will be provided for teachers and all other school staff and schools must implement additional hand hygiene, cohorting, and distancing measures.

Visitors to schools will be limited and pre-registration is required.

Some of the changes at the elementary level are already being implemented in TVDSB schools include teachers wearing masks, larger drop-off distances, dedicated desks, no group work, staggered recess, hand washing stations, and signage reminding of physical distancing.

As for whether students are required to return to the classroom, COVID-19 screening and what happens if a student is diagnosed with COVID-19, additional details are available here.

- With files from CTV Toronto and CTV's Celine Zadorsky.