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This morning, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited a café in Quebec to underline the impact of the federal wage subsidy for small businesses, highlight his government’s programs to combat COVID-19 and announce a new cohort of jobs for students struggling during the pandemic.
In the afternoon, Premier Doug Ford was joined by Education Minister Stephen Lecce to announce the provincial government’s plans for reopening schools in September.
Jobs for Students
As part of the government’s program to help students find jobs, Trudeau announced 500 “green jobs” for students in the energy, forestry, mining, earth sciences and clean technology sectors. The jobs are internships — lasting six months to a year in duration — and according to Trudeau, “will give young people invaluable work experience and the chance to explore careers in the natural resources sector.”
The provincial government is taking a regional approach to reopening schools in September and will be asking local school boards to develop three plans that will be approved by their local health officer: regular in-class instruction, at-home learning and an “adapted delivery model.” While he asks school boards to develop all three plans, Lecce expects that “all Ontario students will enter into a cautious adapted delivery model,” but also offers parents the choice to enrol their students in class or the strengthened online learning offering.
This province’s model will cap students in the classroom at 15 and require students to attend in-class instruction every other day or week with a strengthened online approach. This cohorted model will also ask students to only come into contact with their classmates and a single teacher through the day where possible. Lecce also asked that school boards ensure that students with “significant special needs” are in-class for the entire week.
This reopening plan also comes with funding announcements, with Lecce promising funding increases to every school board in Ontario, including $4 million to school boards to assist with cleaning and procuring cleaning supplies, and additional funding for special education. Lecce also announced $730 million in a grant for student needs, $10 million for mental health and $15 million to purchase devices and Chromebooks for students.