Other health and safety protocols that will be put in place include self-screening of students before entering school or on a school bus, mandatory masking for students in Grades 4 to 12, the provision of medical masks to teachers and staff and the cohort.
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“One of the challenges we have in the elementary school panel (is) that our classes are big,” said Craig Smith, president of the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO). Thames Valley.
Smith joined 980 CFPL’s Devon Peacock on the Friday Morning Show to voice ETFO Thames Valley’s concerns.
“The anxiety (is) that we have kindergarten classes that revolve around 30 students, primary classes can skip up to around 23 kids, junior classes, 28 to 29, and our middle classes, between 30 and 35 children. ”
Besides the tall classes, keeping at least two meters apart is another concern, according to Smith.
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Sufficient funding is also a major concern.
“Yes, the government has provided additional funding, but the funding is probably not up to the task (for) the council to do the things that need to be done in terms of class sizes and some of the other protocols. security, ”Smith said.
Sam Oosterhoff, Parliamentary Assistant to Education Minister Stephen Lecce, also joined 980 CFPL’s Devon Peacock on the Friday morning show to address concerns.
Oosterhoff, who said Ontario’s back-to-school plan was “broad, detailed and science-based,” assured that sufficient funding would be provided.
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The Ontario government announced in mid-July that it was investing $ 736 million in public education for the 2020-2021 school year, bringing the total to more than $ 25.5 billion.
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“This is the highest amount an Ontario government has spent on education, and it is focused on the key areas we heard from our Chief Medical Officer and his team,” said Oosterhoff.
“We are hiring 500 new nurses in schools, 1,200 guards, and putting in cleaning supplies and masks.”
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Besides funding, another major concern Smith raised was about masks and how they are mandatory for certain classes.
“The requirement for masks is a good thing, but I think the challenge we will face is that students (Grades 4-8) will have to wear a mask (as do) teachers, but students kindergarten to grade 3 will not.
“Plus we will have teachers (with) underlying medical conditions that will prevent them from being in school. The larger question will be: (what will teaching and learning look like)? Smith said.
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The mental health of children during the pandemic was another key topic of discussion.
“The data indicates that children (are) deeply affected by the effects of the pandemic,” said Kim Moran, CEO of Children’s Mental Health Ontario.
“It really shows that we need to have the resources and supports in place for their mental health and to help their parents as well.
Moran told Devon Peacock of 980 CFPL on the Friday morning show that anxiety is the most common mental health problem “even without a pandemic so it’s still the number one problem.”
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“Anxiety goes hand in hand with depression, so we see both.”
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“The impact of social isolation on children is really profound and we need to help children navigate this truly uncharted territory. … We also know that the more vulnerable children will be more affected, ”said Moran.
Once the school year officially begins, 24 school boards, including the Thames Valley District School Board and the London District Catholic School Board, will adopt a blended learning model for high school students, while the rest will be allowed to open with a daily presence for high school students. .
Parents are allowed to keep their children at home and learn fully online if they are concerned about the possibility of their children being exposed to COVID-19.
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