Province announces more funding for back-to-school plan as debate over returning heats up

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Province announces more funding for back-to-school plan as debate over returning heats up's Profile



The province says school boards can access $500-million in their own reserves to achieve measures such as physical distancing as students and teachers head back to class.

That includes hiring more teachers and custodians and finding new spaces for learning.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce maintains the notion that the province isn’t doing everything to ensure a safe return to the classroom isn’t fair.

“The fact that we are listening, standing before you on a weekly basis, to announce new investments and new supports, to unlock resources to follow the signs and listen to the chief medical officer of this province, should only underscore our commitment to the protection of our most vulnerable, which is our children,” shared Lecce.

$50-million to upgrade HVAC systems to improve air quality was also announced, as well as $20-million to support online learning.

Meanwhile, the province’s four major teacher’s unions allege Ontario’s back-to-school plan violates its own occupational health and safety legislation.

The unions have asked for a meeting with the minister of labour and representatives to discuss the issue by next Friday.

They claim the provincial plan fails to provide adequate health and safety protections such as smaller class sizes, minimal measurable standards for ventilation in schools, and mandatory masking for younger children.

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