Every Ontario student should be safe from COVID-19

The Supporting Students Campaign, about which GAJE has written in the past few weeks, points to the pledge that Ontario’s Education Minister Stephen Lecce committed two weeks ago to all parents of children in school. 

“To ensure our schools remain safe in January 2021 and beyond, we will continue and enhance testing in schools and allocate a new and significant investment in school safety, including in enhanced air quality, more PPE, and additional staffing and cleaning. We will do whatever it takes to ensure our kids can continue to learn.” 

To the extent that the province’s ability to fulfill that pledge derives from its resort to the federal government’s Safe Return to Class Fund, the minister’s pledge rings hollow for the families whose children attend independent schools. For, as we have written in the past, none of the 125,000 students attending independent schools in the province – among whom are the children in Jewish day schools – has received any benefit from those funds.

The Campaign, however, also draws our attention to the positive news that the Ontario Government has included the children in independent schools – including Jewish Day Schools – in a program that provides $200 or $250 per special needs child to assist parents deal with Covid-related costs in this school year. The grants have been recently extended to apply to high school students as well.

The deadline for applying for this assistance is Feb. 8, 2021.

For information about applying go to: https://www.ontario.ca/page/get-support-learners

The Supporting Students Campaign has posted new guidance for correspondence to the minister expressing thanks for the grants for special needs children as well as disappointment and dismay regarding the government’s unfair treatment in relation to its refusal to disburse Safe Return to Class funds to independent schools.

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For information about the Supporting Students Campaign, please go to their website: https://www.supportingstudents.ca

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Be safe. Be well. Shabbat shalom. 

GAJE, January 29, 2021

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