Health and Safety for the 2020-21 School YearPublished on August 20, 2020
The August MPP column in Community Voice
The Ontario Government worked with local school boards to ensure a safe resumption of classes for the 2020-21 school year. The Province’s “Back to School” plan was created following extensive consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, health experts on Ontario’s COVID-19 Command Table, medical experts at The Hospital for Sick Children, parents, students, and our education sector partners – including teacher and education worker unions. Health and safety are the guiding principles of the Province’s efforts to get students back in their classes.
In implementing the plan, government officials will be taking every precaution, investing more, and listening to the best medical advice in the country to keep students, staff, and families safe. Still, parents who do not feel comfortable having their children physically return to school will have a choice to pursue online remote learning. The Premier and Education Minister have been clear on this point: the Government respects the choice and authority of parents.
School doors open September 3rd and students up to grade 8 will be heading back to school full time, while secondary students will return with limited class sizes and specific modified schedules. Physical distancing and disinfection protocols will be respected. Masks will be mandatory for students Grade 4 and up, while mask use will be encouraged, but not required for those between kindergarten and Grade 3 (as recommended by the Hospital for Sick Children). Extracurricular activities and clubs will still be permitted, as long as safety protocols are followed.
Across Ontario, the Government is investing $309 million to help schools reopen safely, with money going towards PPE, extra staff, cleaning supplies and COVID-19 testing capacity.
On a related note, locally, I recently made an announcement that the Ontario Government has invested $30.5 million into three schools in Kanata and Stittsville. These investments are great news to those constituents who advocated for more class spaces in our community. The new schools to be built are Fernbank Elementary School and ÉÉP Kanata Sud; and, additional class spaces will be built in St. James Catholic Elementary School. (More information at www.merrileefullerton.ca/news)
So, in a few weeks we celebrate Labour Day and the beginning of our Fall routine. For the 2020-21 school year, the Ontario Government is committed to ensuring academic success for students -- and that the health and well-being of students, staff, and their families is protected.
STAY IN TOUCH: Please do not hesitate to contact the Community Office by phone or email, should you need help, have a request or inquiry about provincial programs and services. My staff -- Tiffany and Daniel -- and I are pleased to assist.