Provincial Liberals have unveiled a plan for getting students back to class.
“Since the government hasn’t unveiled a plan for the fall, I did,” said party leader Steven Del Duca.
In Simcoe County, his Students in School Action Plan includes 870 new classroom locations, the hiring of 640 additional educators and 350 more caretakers.
Classes, he says, would be no larger than 15 students.
“Students and their parents in Barrie, Innisfil, Bradford and Orillia have been waiting for far too long to hear what will happen in September,” said Del Duca. “Living with this uncertainty has caused unnecessary anxiety during what has already been a stressful time. Getting our students back to school safely is what kids critically need for their own development and it’s the only way their Moms and Dads can have peace of mind to return to work.”
Del Duca said reopening the economy without full-day school in September puts families in impossible situations, forcing parents to choose between their children’s education and their work.
Provincially, the Liberal plan will cost $3.2 billion (a one-time funding plan for the 2020-21 school year) and will fund:
- 15,000 More Elementary Teachers to reduce class size to 15 $1.30 billion
- 10,000 More Caretakers to keep elementary and secondary schools clean $500 million
- 14,000 New Classrooms in Community Centres, Campuses, Arenas, etc. $200 million
- 2,000 More Secondary Teachers $170 million
- School Transportation (Cleaning, Retrofits, Staggered Starts) $80 million
- Sufficient Cleaning/Hygiene Supplies and Equipment $120 million
- 1,500 Special Education Professionals to Help Close Learning Gaps $120 million
- New equipment for students and educators (approx. 400,000 new devices) $200 million
- Reverse PC Cuts to School Mental Health and hire 1,000 more Mental Health Professionals to support staff and students $75 million
- Provincial Leadership in Centrally Procuring and Purchasing Personal Protective
Equipment for Students and Staff (e.g., face shields, masks, gloves) $110 million
- Support Parental Engagement and Communication $25 million
- Public Health Coordination of Screening, Testing and Contact Tracing N/A
- Contingency (10%) $290 million