Education minister defends administration’s back-to-school strategy as students go to course that week

Education minister defends government’s back-to-school plan as students head to class this week

Education Minister Stephen Lecce is safeguarding the provincial administration’s back-to-school strategy as pupils get prepared to hit the books the week ahead of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lecce toured a school bus Newmarket on Monday afternoon to look at the security and wellness protocols set up to protect both pupils and motorists.

Some secondary pupils in Peel Region are going back to college tomorrow to get a orientation, together with some basic and secondary students in the Durham District School Board.

Lecce talked to CP24 and said parents must feel at ease understanding that the state has set forth more funds and tools to keep pupils safe in college.

“. . .We have, yes, place more funds in place, however, we’ve also put an extremely thoughtful outbreak management strategy set up,” Lecce explained. “We have committed a physician, Dr. Hyer, to direct it. We’ve got public health nurses, and resources within our universities.”

The government has offered school boards throughout the state using $100 million in financing to employ new instructors and has enabled them to use their own book funds.

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However, numerous boards, such as the Toronto District School Board (TDSB), remain concerned it will not be possible to guarantee sufficient physical distancing among pupils.

That is a frequent concern among many parents and teachers who fear classroom sizes are still too significant.

The TDSB is slipping into its reserves to reduce class sizes but cautions it is not going to be adequate to fulfill a two-metre spacing recommendation issued by Toronto Public Health.

The program covers course sizes in 26 pupils in junior and senior kindergarten, 20 pupils in Grades 1 through 3 and 27 pupils in Grades 4 through 8. The cap Grade 4 to 8 courses would return to 20 for universities in neighbourhoods with high degrees of COVID-19.

Lecce reported the government has worked together with boards at high risk regions to provide more funds to make a secure atmosphere for pupils.

“We’ve concentrated on ensuring the schools on earth possess the entire complement of funds, of PPE [personal protective equipment], hand sanitizer. They’re what is called greatly staffed. Meaning more rigorous cleaning, much more staffing, longer distancing,” Lecce explained.

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Elementary and secondary pupils in the TDSB go back to college Sept. 15.

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Michael Turner

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