Trustees of the Limestone shool board, and now the Catholic board, are urging the Minister of Education for Ontario to improve COVID safety measures as in-class learning resumes.
In a letter to the Ontario Minister of Education, Stephen Lecce, Tom Dall, the chair of the board of trustees for the Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School Board, has outlined a number of concerns he feels the province has not addressed ahead of students returning to classes on Monday.
Dall outlines a lack of consultation and transparency prior to the implementation of the back-to-school plan amid surging COVID-19 infections driven by the highly-transmissible Omicron variant.
The Limestone District School Board will write a similar letter after its board of trustees voted in favour of it during this week’s board meeting.
The Catholic board’s letter goes on to say there needs to be better access to broadband internet for all students, but notably those living in rural areas.
They’d also like PCR and rapid antigen tests made available to students and staff who have COVID-19 symptoms before they come into the school.
The chair of the board would also like additional funding, for more staff to help with online learning, and they’re asking for a change to the Immunization of School Pupils Act to include the COVID-19 vaccine as mandatory.
“The health and safety, mental health and well-being of staff and students through the lens of our gospel values is our mandate,” Dall writes. “Please address our concerns in a manner that will help our stakeholders navigate this pandemic in a way that will minimize their trepidation for their welfare.”