A 7 cent solution?

Even the Wilkinsons needed 26 cents which may be almost 4 times what a student in Ontario might get.

When there are shootings in American schools, we Canadians sit back and express our disgust with the “thoughts and prayers” that go out. It’s especially bad when that’s all that there is.

We talk about how this could all be prevented. It just required a little (lot) of work to avoid.

We are about to tangle with something potentially worse as we know that school districts are preparing to re-open this fall in Ontario. While all three of the scenarios involve opening schools, two of the three involve opening school buildings as well.

Recently, I read this Twitter message from Carol Campbell pointing to a press release from the Ontario Parent Action Network.

The actual press release can be read here.

I was aghast at the conclusion that only $0.07 was being provided for the return. This is the sort of thing that needs to be challenged and questioned by the members of the opposition. Fortunately, our MPP Taras Natyshak (@TarasNatyshak on Twitter) has no hesitancy about questioning the Premier.

These are questions that I would suggest that he be asking the Premier about this.

  • Mr. Premier, the Ontario Parent Action Network has analyzed your plans for funding COVID-19 protection in schools and released a document that indicated that your government will provide 7 cents per student to provide for their safety. Can you confirm this or indicate what the actual amount will be?
  • Mr. Premier, this spring your government cancelled the EQAO tests saving the province money that would normally have been earmarked for this program. Can you confirm that testing will be cancelled again and that the funds for this program be allocated to the plans for safe schools in the time of COVID-19?
  • Mr. Premier, we know that educators routinely supplement provincial spending for learning materials in classrooms. Are you expecting that they will provide their own PPE and sanitizer this year?
  • Mr. Premier, in my riding two distilleries Hiram Walker and Wolfhead Distillery have produced hand sanitizer and donated it “where necessary” to the community. Is this part of the plan for re-opening school buildings?
  • Mr. Premier, obviously 7 cents will not provide a complete and safe solution for our schools. Are you recommending that school districts cancel programs and redirect funds towards the safe re-opening of our school?
  • Mr. Premier, we need to offer more than “thoughts and prayers” as school buildings re-open. While the onus is on individual school districts for specific plans, is there an overall Ontario recommendation that this House can stand behind?
  • Mr. Premier, the World Heath Organization has reported recently that COVID-19 may be easier spread indoors. Indeed, our provincial Stage 2 plan currently forbids indoor eating at restaurants and bars. Given that Ontario has an inventory of very old and very new schools, how can you assure Ontarians that all buildings will be safe for students, teachers, and staff?
  • Mr. Premier, you are very public in your pronouncements that you have consulted with health experts on the gradual re-opening of Ontario. What experts have you consulted with concerning the re-opening of school buildings?

If you had the ability to ask a question about this, what would it be? I know that MPP Natyshak follows me, so any suggestions that you make might well be read by him.

4 thoughts on “A 7 cent solution?

  1. Hi Doug!

    If I wasn’t retired, my anxiety would be through the roof.

    What seems to be missing is any discussion of “out of the box” solutions. Here’s something I’ve come up with:
    My idea from last night is to make “bubbles” of 10 children (students). The bubbles would be created by parents / students. Given it’s a bubble, the students can touch each other and do not need masks or social distancing. The bubble would meet during the traditional school day, hopefully not at school. There would be an “adult” supervisor who would be paid. The person could be a parent or a high school graduate (ie university students). Learning materials would be provided online. For bubbles with no place to meet, they could meet in a public building – school / rec center / library. For rural students, a busing system could provide transportation to the bubble meeting location. Teachers would be assigned a number of bubbles to check in with, remotely or a social distance meeting at school, on a regular basis.

    Regardless of the system that is implemented, if students return to school in the fall, 7 cents is not nearly enough.

    Peter

    Like

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