M

OPSBA statement regarding the closure of all public schools through to May 4

3/31/2020

Toronto, March 31 – “The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented and rapidly evolving event that requires an unprecedented response.

School boards across Ontario greatly appreciate the direction and advice being provided by our provincial and local public health officials. Along with the Ministry of Education and our education partners, we are committed to providing the best possible continuity of learning for all of our students.

As we enter our second week of school closures with many more ahead, it’s important that we all continue to look after our bodies and minds. Most of us, including our students and our own children, are not working and living in our regular routines. We may be spending much more time than usual with our families and loved ones, or be isolated and feeling lonely without regular social interactions. Emotions for all are more pronounced. For that reason, School Mental Health Ontario (SMHO) has been working with mental health leaders and superintendents across the province to support mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of these materials are now posted on the SMHO website at https://smho-smso.ca/.

Staff from school boards across the province have been working together with the ministry and labour leaders to put in place a plan to keep students learning. I am pleased to report that the tone of these conversations has been positive and collaborative – we all want what’s best for our students. At this point, the Ministry of Education has its Learn at Home website, and I know many boards have a number of great resources on their websites as well, and are working with their dedicated staff to reconnect teachers and other school staff with students from kindergarten to Grade 12.

I want to emphasize that as public institutions we have a duty to ensure we assist with the fight against the coronavirus in any way we can – I am so proud to see school board trustees and staff and school communities across Ontario rising to the challenge.”

Cathy Abraham, OPSBA President

ajax-loader