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Return of regular semesters and release of COVID-19 funding is great news for students and school boards

11/18/2021

“Today’s announcement from Minister Elliott and Minister Lecce brings very welcome news for students, staff, and families across Ontario’s public education system.

We are very pleased to see that secondary schools will be able to return to normal semester models with four courses per day, as of February 2022 and earlier where scheduling permits, subject to local public health approval. This return to a regular timetable for secondary students will improve student engagement and achievement, while allowing educators to create more effective teaching and learning environments. This is definitely good news and something that OPSBA, and our member boards, have been advocating for in recent weeks.

OPSBA and our member boards very much appreciate the release of the second half of the federal COVID-19 funding, for which we have strongly advocated. This funding could be up to $1.6 billion and will allow school boards to continue to responsibly plan for safe and effective mitigation measures for the second half of the school year.

The decision to give all students five rapid antigen tests to take home over the Winter Break will be welcomed by school communities across the province. Testing is one of the key pillars in keeping our schools safe and open in the coming months. Just as importantly, these tests will provide a measure of comfort and convenience over the Winter Break period – something families of school-aged children are sure to welcome.

As we head into winter, with more activities moving inside, COVID-19 mitigation will continue to be a strong focus for school boards, and we’re committed to working with the government and public health authorities to adapt and respond with appropriate measures as needed. We look forward to continued conversations with Minister Lecce and the Ministry of Education.

With an announcement on Health Canada’s approval of the Pfizer vaccine for five to 11-year-olds expected imminently, the light at the end of this long tunnel has never looked brighter.”

– Cathy Abraham, OPSBA President

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