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Ontario releases its COVID-19 safety plan for schools

Eileen Buckley

The Ontario government has unveiled its plan for how it will handle a possible COVID-19 outbreak in schools. Premier Doug Ford said his government is prepared to do whatever it takes to protect children.With only a couple of weeks before classes are to begin, the Ford government has finally outlined its plan for how coronavirus outbreaks will be managed and dealt with.

Those plans are based around what will happen if a student either shows symptoms or tests positive for COVID-19, also if a teacher, bus driver or parent contracts the disease.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce said it will be the local public health departments that will have to bear the brunt of the responsibility.
“The school community is properly notified," Lecce said. "Immediate and rigorus contact tracing kicks in.  In some cases the class cohorts will be tested, sent home or closed until the outbreak is declared over, as approved the chief health officer and the local health officer.”
Students with symptoms of COVID-19 will be sent home, but do not have to get tested. They will be asked to stay home for 24 hours after they stop experiencing symptoms.

Meanwhile, Ottawa has announced $2 billion in additional money to the provinces to help with school safety. Ontario’s share is more than $760 million. It will be used for more teachers, personal protective equipment, school boards and preparations for a second wave of the virus.   

Critics said the money should have been announced a month ago.

WBFO’s comprehensive news coverage extends into Southern Ontario and Dan Karpenchuk is the station’s voice from the north. The award-winning reporter covers binational issues, including economic trends, the environment, tourism and transportation.
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