13 August 2020 – Investment to support reopening of schools in September

Type of Intervention: Guidance, Regulation
Sectors Involved: Education, Health
Level of Jurisdiction: ON
Lead People/Agency: Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education, and Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health

Overview: The Ontario government is investing more into the province’s education system to promote the safe reopening of schools in September and protect students and staff. The investment of over half a billion dollars will support physical distancing measures in classrooms, provide direct funding to utilize non-school community spaces, and allows school boards to make adjustments for their local needs. This investment builds on the province’s existing plan by unlocking access to reserves of up to $496 million, allowing school boards to apply monies to their local priorities and immediate needs. The investment also offers $50 million in funding to support improved ventilation, air quality, HVAC system effectiveness in schools. The Ontario government is also releasing a policy/program memorandum (PPM) to ensure that students receive high-quality, consistent teacher-led remote learning. The PPM will strengthen the minimum expectations and assist in ensuring a consistent approach across the province to ensure students are engaged in their learning. An additional $18 million has also been invested to help school boards hire more principal and administrative support to deliver and oversee synchronous, live learning to improve the overall student and staff experience.
Full details here: https://news.ontario.ca/en/release/57990/ontario-takes-additional-steps-to-better-protect-students-and-staff

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Type of Justification: Advice of INTERNAL government advisory committee or group
Source of Evidence or Justification: Sub-national, Chief Medical Officer of Health, medical experts
Evidence/Justification: The justification for this investment is that additional funding will enable better compliance to public health restrictions in schools, including physical distancing and improved air quality. This will ultimately strengthen the layers of public health protection that will help keep students and staff safe. Additionally, providing funding to school boards will allow for adaptations to the local context and needs, including making changes to class sizes and leasing additional spaces. It is explained that the plan has been developed based on the best medical advice currently available, with consultation from the Chief Medical Officer of Health and medical experts across Ontario.