“Throughout the pandemic, the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association (OPSBA) has emphasized the need for increased investments in both technology and mental health supports. We were pleased to see the additional investments announced earlier today of $15 million in new classroom technology and $10 million to hire additional mental health workers to support students as they transition back to in-class education later this year.
The COVID-19 pandemic will undoubtedly have long-term impacts on the mental health, well-being and student achievement of our children and youth. The significant change in routines, physical activity, and social interaction, as well as the reduction of student-teacher interaction, has had varying effects on students and their families. More mental health worker support will help school boards adequately prepare for these greater needs when school buildings reopen.
The investment in new classroom technology is also welcomed, as our school boards will continue to be working through the summer to solve and mitigate remote learning challenges, including access to and stability of technology and internet access.
With the 2020-21 Grants for Student Needs (GSN) soon to be announced, we will be looking for investments and support in the following areas to ensure student, staff and community needs are properly addressed during a pandemic:
- Consequences of the pandemic, including Personal Protective Equipment costs and potentially reduced enrolment
- Student transportation
- Professional Development for teachers and education workers, including initiatives and learning on anti-Black racism
- Indigenous Education
- Special Education and student success supports
- Transitions for graduating students
- Skilled trades and apprenticeships
- Capital funding
- Local priorities funding
We look forward to the release of the GSN and Ontario’s Plan to Reopen Schools in the coming days and hope it will reflect the priorities highlighted in our submissions to the government.”
Cathy Abraham, OPSBA President