Ford government plans on releasing $35M for schools

Published On October 7, 2020 | By Melanie Valente-Leite | COVID-19, News

The Toronto District School Board will be receiving millions from the Ontario government to aide with safety within schools. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press)

Melanie Valente-Leite

With the government’s new plan on ensuring new safety procedures for schools, many parents still worry about their children maintaining distance from their friends at school.

“Unfortunately, there is no such thing as social distancing with kids,” said Yohanna Rondon, a mother of three who attend a school in the TDSB. “But knowing they are going that extra step, gives me peace of mind.”

The $35 million for the Toronto District School Board, announced in an Oct. 5 statement at Queen’s Park by Premier Doug Ford and Education Minister Stephen Lecce, is to hire more staff members, decrease class sizes, and double the schools’ cleaning.

“As we find ourselves at the beginning of the second wave of COVID-19, we know there are schools in hotspot areas that need extra support to keep students and staff safe,” Ford said.

This plan is part of the government’s $1.3 billion agenda, announced on Sept. 8, to safely reopen schools.

TDSB started classes on Sept. 15, and with COVID-19 cases in Ontario increasing since the return to school, students and parents are feeling anxious.

Makayla Poertner, a Grade 11 student at Martin Grove Collegiate Institute in Etobicoke, worries her school isn’t taking the right precautions.

“Knowing this information does make it seem like it would be safer, but if there were more restrictions in place regarding students and break times/after school, I think I’d feel safer returning,” Poertner said.

Martin Grove Collegiate Institute confirmed eight new cases of COVID since the beginning of the school year.

Despite increasing cases, the school said there is no evidence of transmission in the school and remains open.

Ontario is one of the provinces that offer online and in-person classes for students who opt to stay home, like Poertner.

“I believe that if you’re capable and confident, you can learn the same or better using the virtual online school,” she said.

The money will be distributed to boards in Toronto, Peel Region, Ottawa and York Region, four regions that have seen a significant amount of COVID-19 cases increasing.

“We are currently reviewing our needs to determine who the money can be spent on,” saud Ryan Bird, Social Media Relations for TDSB.

“We will decide on how we can use this new money to support our schools,” he said.

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