Toronto District School Board trustees are calling on the province to provide additional funding and to take into consideration the hardships some families will face in their Back to School Recovery plan.
During a special board meeting Thursday night, trustees voted to express their concerns with the province’s “hybrid” or “adapted” model when it comes to working parents with young children, single parent households and low-income families this fall. They say it will leave many families having to choose between educating their kids and their jobs.
“We want to ensure that all students can return in September in the safest way possible, but we must also recognize that if the Ministry of Education does not permit them to return every day, it will put many of the families of 247,000 TDSB students in a very difficult position — not to mention the families of thousands of TDSB staff,” said TDSB chair Robin Pilkey.
Trustees are also calling on the province to provide emergency funding for a larger and more robust staffing plan to accomodate as many students as possible back into physical schools. They also want all extra COVID-19 costs covered for such things as PPE, cleaning supplies and mental health and well-being supports.
Trustees also voted to ask the province to delay the implementation of the new math curriculum for Grades 1 through 8 until school operations are no longer affected by COVID-19.
“We recognize that the Ministry of Education has made a change to the math curriculum and expects it to be in place this September,” said Pilkey. “But as students and staff — still dealing with pandemic-related issues — return to school, we want them to focus on this critical transition and not on learning a new way to do math.”
Last month, the Ford government announced what it calls a “back to basics” math curriculum that is divided into six sections which includes financial literacy, social and emotional learning skills and coding.