Plan for the safe reopening of schools in September includes critical investments and resources to keep kids and staff safe
This pandemic has been hard on families. It’s been hard on parents trying to balance work and child care and it’s been hard on kids who are separated from friends their own age. Our PC government wants to get our kids back to school, but it has to be done safely – because when it comes to keeping them safe, we won’t take any unnecessary risks.
To that end, our government was pleased to release its plan for the safe reopening of schools in September, which prioritizes student health and safety, provides school boards with unprecedented resources and flexibility to implement this plan, and accommodates regional differences in public health dynamics and population density.
All publicly-funded elementary schools will be reopening provincewide, five days a week. Most secondary schools will start the school year in an adapted model of part-time attendance. Class cohorts of up to 15 students will alternate between attending in-person and online, with at least half of the time being spent in-class. Secondary schools with lower risk will reopen with a normal daily schedule, five days a week.
This plan was developed by Ontario Health, experts at SickKids and local public health officials. As always, our PC government respects parents’ choice and therefore parents will be the ultimate decision maker on whether or not their child will attend school in-person. Meanwhile, school boards will ensure remote learning is available for all students.
“This plan reflects the best medical and scientific advice with a single aim: to keep your child safe,” added Stephen Lecce, MPP for King-Vaughan and Minister of Education. “While this plan will continue to evolve to respond to the changing threat of COVID-19, we will remain constant and consistent in investing in the resources, staffing, and cleaning supports, and strict health and safety protocols to keep our communities and our classrooms safe.”
The opening of schools will be supported by an over $300 million investment in PPE, staff and cleaning supplies, as well as mandating masks for staff and children in grades 4 and above (with medical exceptions). We will also support surveillance testing in Ontario’s secondary schools, an aggressive and targeted testing plan for secondary students on a regular basis.
Additionally, licensed child care centres across Ontario will also be permitted to open at full capacity, and EarlyON Child and Family Centres will be permitted to reopen with in-person programming, starting September 1.
Our PC government’s plan for reopening safely is a deliverable plan, and one that ensures that students can maximize their time in the classroom, being taught face to face by a teacher.