Premier of Ontario and Minister of Education to make announcement on Friday
Ontario Premier Doug Ford and his Education and Tourism ministers will make an announcement Friday, a day after his government announced changes to its plan to reopen schools aimed at reassuring parents, teachers and school boards.
Ford, Education Minister Stephen Lecce and Tourism, Culture and Sport Minister Lisa MacLeod will speak at Queen’s Park on Friday at 1 p.m.
Yesterday Lecce announced changes to the plan to reopen schools in the province, allowing school boards to access their reserve funds to pay for the hiring of teachers to reduce class sizes and increase distance physics in elementary school classrooms.
He also announced funding for the coordination of e-learning and $ 50 million to upgrade HVAC systems in school buildings to increase ventilation.
He also indicated that the start of the school year could be staggered, with different classes starting on different days and renting space in a community center or other facilities to use as classrooms.
Toronto Mayor John Tory says he has offered municipal facilities for use by schools, but has yet to hear a response from the province or a school board.
Boards, including the Toronto District School Board, said most of the money they had in reserve was already earmarked for ongoing projects and that it would be unwise for them to embezzle the money to reduce class size.
The TDSB also said it was not sure at this time whether classes could resume as planned on September 8.
Lecce told CP24 on Friday that an offset in class start times was acceptable, but not an absolute delay.
“If school boards want to stagger the opening – to alleviate the fact that large numbers of students enter school on day one, that seems prudent. But parents really want their kids back to school, there is an imperative health and development issue that parents get their kids back to school.
He reiterated his conviction and that of Ford that the plan adequately finances measures to combat the virus.
“I think we can be ready. We are making the investments and the boards are working hard.”
Meanwhile, the four unions representing teachers in the province said Thursday they believe the plan to reopen schools could violate Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act and wanted a meeting with the ministry. of Labor to express their concerns.