Ontario is investing $25 million in technology and mental health supports for students as they prepare to return to school in September. Education Minister Stephen Lecce said earlier today.
“We know that the COVID-19 outbreak has impacted student mental health and well-being,” Lecce said. $15 million will be used to buy classroom up to 35,000 computers for those who are unable to access technology.
The province is looking at a school environment that could include both online, and in-person learning. “COVID-19 is forcing the world around us to change, to adapt, and to embrace the digital landscape. Lecce said. The province announced a Learn At Home web portal in April.
$10 million will go towards hiring mental health workers. “There is nothing more important than ensuring the health and safety of our children and youth, and that includes mental health,” Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Michael Tibollo said. This brings the total to $35 million in new permanent funding in order to hire 180 frontline workers..
“It is to be expected that returning to school will also present unique challenges after a prolonged series of closures. Improving access to mental health professionals and other resources is good for children,” President and CEO of the Hospital for Sick Children Dr. Ronald Cohn said. The hospital endorses reopening schools. “Not opening schools in September would continue to have a negative impact on the mental, behavioural and developmental health of children,” Cohon said. A full list of their recommendations can be ready through their website.