By MPP Toby Barrett
COVID-19 has been one of our greatest challenges. We are all touched by it. Although older people are more vulnerable, children are at risk and must be protected. But, moving forward, they must be protected and educated. The Ontario government is maintaining the flexibility to do what’s needed to maximize the learning experience while putting public health first.
Since March, using advice from top medical experts and the Chief Medical Officer of Health, this government has worked hard to communicate, adapt, and develop strategies to educate and inform parents, and protect students, teachers, and support staff.
On March 20, the Ministry of Education unveiled the Learn at Home web portal, which provides families and students with key online learning resources for all subjects and grades.
Our goal of safely reopening schools and respecting parental choice continued on June 19, when we released a reopening guidance plan to school boards and asked for their upcoming school year restart plans. On the same day, the Ontario government announced $736 million more for the 2020-21 school year, increasing the total to more than $25.5 billion. This funding, through the Grants for Student Needs (GSN) program, represents the largest public education investment in Ontario’s history. Our average per-pupil funding has reached $12,525, an increase of $250 over the previous year.