On Wednesday, January 20, 2021, MPP Piccini welcomed the news from Education Minister Stephen Lecce that local in-person learning would resume for students in Northumberland and Peterborough.
“On the advice from the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the government is allowing seven public health units and over 100,000 students to return to class on Monday, January 25,” said MPP Piccini. “Getting students back into class is our top priority. According to Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health and leading medical and scientific experts, including the Hospital for Sick Children, Ontario’s schools are safe places for learning.”
To ensure schools remain safe, the government is introducing additional measures including province wide targeted asymptomatic testing, enhanced screening, mandatory masking for students in Grades 1-3 and outdoors where physical distancing cannot be maintained.
Based on the most recent data and the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, elementary and secondary schools in the Peterborough Public Health Unit and Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit catchment area will be permitted to resume in-person learning on January 25, 2021.
This means that most schools in the following schools boards will resume in-person learning on January 25:
· Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board
· Peterborough Victoria Northumberland and Clarington Catholic DSB
· Conseil scolaire catholique MonAvenir
· Conseil scolaire de district catholique du Centre-Est de l’Ontario
“This is good news for our community, and an excellent sign that when we follow public health measures, restrictions can ease. If children are showing any symptoms, parents should get them tested right away so they have results before school resumes on Jan. 25. Don’t forget that back to school means back to daily COVID-19 screening, and that students and staff must stay home with any symptoms. Even though local schools will reopen next week, we remain under the Stay at Home order so that means no socializing before or after school. If we can continue on this path, I know we can bring local case numbers down further in the hopes of lifting the Stay at Home sooner than later.”
Dr. Rosana Salvaterra, Medical Officer of Health, Peterborough Public Health
“We have consistently heard from parents in Northumberland – Peterborough South that they were anxious to have their school aged children return to school. Parents wanted the certainty of the school structure during this time of uncertainty. The positive mental health aspects for these children to be able to see their friends in a safe learning environment cannot be understated. Mental health is part of your overall health. We believe that the diligence that our community has shown in the fight against COVID-19 will continue once school resumes and we will continue to observe the Stay at Home order before and after school.”
David Piccini, Member of Provincial Parliament, Northumberland – Peterborough South
To support families during this period, child care will remain open and available for non-school aged children across the province. Where elementary schools continue to be closed for in-person learning, before and after school programs continue to be closed and prohibited from charging parent fees. Emergency childcare will be extended in the regions impacted to support health care workers and other essential workers that need it during this period.
To support students facing mental health difficulties, the Government announced an additional and immediate $10 million from its phase 2 federal funding allocation to support student mental health and expand access to services in both rural and urban communities. This funding builds on the Government’s investment of more than $32.5 million in student mental health since the start of the COVID-19
pandemic. This investment supports up to 475 additional staff to support student mental health and compliments the addition of 625 school-based public health nurses and expanded mental health education. In addition, direct financial supports through the Ontario’s Support for Learners program remains open until February 8, 2021.