The Ontario government is providing $35 million to give additional immediate support to schools in COVID-19 hotspots.
On Monday, Premier Doug Ford said that this funding will go towards school board supports in Peel, Ottawa, Toronto and York Region to provide more staff, custodians, physical distancing in classrooms, or technological improvements for online learning.
This funding is part of the government’s $1.3 billion plan to safely reopen classrooms across the province.
“As we find ourselves at the beginning of a second wave of COVID-19, we know there are schools in hotspot areas that need extra supports to keep students and staff safe,” Ford said.
“That’s why we’re immediately authorizing the release of this funding to reinforce existing investments to improve physical distancing and remote learning and hire more staff so our kids and teachers stay safe and healthy.”
Of this funding, the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) will be getting $9 million more, which could provide 120 more teachers or 11,000 technological devices.
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Specifically, this money will go towards providing increased distancing between students through the hiring of additional teachers, early childhood educators, and educational assistants.
It will also go toward giving increased remote learning supports, including the hiring of additional teachers, early childhood educators and educational assistants, as well as devices for students who have chosen to learn remotely.
“Our priority as we enter the flu season is to ensure our schools take every preventative measure possible to ensure students and staff remain safe,” said Education Minister Stephen Lecce. “We are delivering this additional funding ― targeting those communities with higher rates of transmission ― to ensure we prevent the spread and maximize the safety of Ontario families.”
Lecce also emphasized that the province wishes to keep schools open for the mental well-being of students, even though there have been 449 cases reported in the last two weeks.