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TDSB asking province for additional funding for coronavirus-related costs

Last Updated May 12, 2020 at 10:22 pm EDT

FILE - iPad Pro (MIKE YAWNEY/CITYNEWS)

The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) is asking for more funding from the provincial government to help recover some of the costs the board has incurred during the coronavirus pandemic.

The TDSB made the request in a motion at a special meeting of trustees Tuesday night.

“Trustees passed a motion that requests funding to help school boards provide additional staffing and resources to support mental health and wellbeing; special education; children with special needs; students transitioning from elementary to secondary school; and those struggling with literacy and numeracy,” a TDSB news release said Tuesday.

The board also said they hope to get back some of the costs associated with remote learning, as well as have funding available for when schools become fully operational post-pandemic.

Publicly-funded schools have been closed since mid-March and boards have been leaning heavily on technology to keep students learning across the province.

With so many students relying on technology for their schooling, the board said they are requesting the province replace the money used from the TDSB’s budget to buy devices like iPads for use in remote learning.

“The TDSB has delivered more than 56,000 devices to families since the beginning of the school closure period,” the board said. “With requests for devices still being received, more than 4,000 additional devices are expected to be delivered in the upcoming days.”

The board said they would like to see provincial technology funding set to a “one device to one student ratio.”

On April 17, the government announced it was partnering with technology giant Apple and Rogers Communications to provide iPads and internet access for low-income students across the province.

Rogers Communications is the parent company of Citytv.