The Ontario government has announced that school boards will have access to reserve funds in order to reduce elementary class sizes and increase physical distancing as children return to the classroom in September.
The announcement comes amid growing criticism in recent weeks over the government’s back-to-school plan, which teachers’ unions have said doesn’t go far enough to protect children from the spread of COVID-19.
Education Minister Stephen Lecce says the announcement “unlocks” $500 million in funding for select boards across the province. Boards that do not have access to these reserve funds will be awarded a “top up” of $11 million.
The government says it will also spend $50 million to update HVAC systems in schools to improve ventilation in the classrooms, as well as $18 million to help facilitate online learning through principal and support staff hires.