Ontario Commits to Keeping Students in School Throughout the School Year


Ontario is committed to keeping students in school throughout the school year

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Ontario Minister of Education Stephen Lecce

The Ontario government on Monday presented the outlines of its back-to-school plan, which prioritizes maintaining face-to-face school throughout the next school year and continuing to catch up.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce pledged Monday to keep Ontario's two million students in the classroom for the future. x27;in-person learning in the upcoming school year as the province continues to deal with the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is so important for the mental and physical health of children, he said at a press conference in Ajax, where he announced the plan for his ministry's catch-up for pupils who have fallen behind during pandemic-related school closures.

Rapid diagnostic tests will be available for students and staff during the 2022-2023 year. We will continue to provide masks and have massively improved ventilation in schools, says the minister.

Parents who wish to do so are however free to choose to keep their children learning in mode virtual.

Students in Ontario have been absent from in-person classes longer than children and youth in any other place in North America since the start of the pandemic in March 2020.

Stephen Lecce also addressed ongoing contract negotiations with education unions.

He hammered home the message that the government intends to conclude a voluntary agreement with unions in response to media questions about whether it was considering legislation to designate teachers as essential workers, which would remove their right to strike.

He evaded this question, but emphasized keeping students in the classroom and resuming extracurricular activities, such as field trips, sports and even musical workshops.

< p class="e-p">Teachers and education workers volunteer their time for extracurricular activities. During negotiations, his ministry will insist that the full range of these activities be accessible to students.

We know that educators care deeply about their children. They will do the right thing and ensure that these experiences are returned to the children. We must insist as a government that all of these elements be restored, Lecce stressed.

I think parents have little tolerance for disruption after two years of x27;uncertainty and the government defends them, he continued of the contract negotiations.

The NPD, the official opposition party in Queen's Park, for its part recalled that extracurricular activities are carried out by teaching staff on a voluntary basis. NDP education critic Marit Stiles has pointed the finger that Stephen Lecce will not tolerate teachers and education workers deciding not to do extra extracurricular work no paid.

“They're exhausted. They love that aspect of the job, but it's volunteering. If you want them to participate, you have to talk about respecting them.

—NDP Education Critic Marit Stiles on extracurricular activities

The Association of Franco-Ontarian Teachers (AEFO), which began talks with the government on Monday, raised the same point in a press release. In a statement, President Anne Vinet-Roy said Mr. Lecce seems to forget that extracurricular activities have always been optional and voluntary for education workers.

As negotiations with education unions begin, Marit Stiles said she fears that if teachers are not respected they will go in the same direction as the health sector with people leaving the profession, such as nurses.

To provide the best learning conditions for students, the AEFO demands real, significant investments […] to take concrete actions and make education a real priority.

  • Supporting students with learning difficulties through tutoring
  • Preparing students for the labor market
  • Providing more #x27;money to build schools
  • Giving students mental health support

The vast majority of funding for the different elements of the plan has already been announced by the government.


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