Dear Minister Lecce,
On behalf of the Toronto District School Board, I am writing you to advocate for further funding and supports to help keep our students, staff and communities safe from the potential spread of COVID-19.
As you know, the health and safety of our school communities remains our top priority as we continue to plan for the re-opening of schools this September. While we appreciate your recent announcement of provincewide funding to help schools boards protect their communities from COVID-19, various school-based funding gaps still remain, including those related to class sizes, facilities and nutrition programs.
Therefore, we are asking that you:
- increase staffing to allow boards to reduce class sizes in elementary panel to the greatest extent possible;
- ensure your commitment to full funding PPE for all staff and students continues for as long as needed; and
- support effective teaching/learning in outdoor classrooms.
We are also calling on your government to fund repair and maintenance budgets for school boards throughout the upcoming budget year, which would help:
- renovate indoor classrooms and other indoor spaces to maximize ventilation and fresh air flow, including but not limited to the installation/retrofit of windows that open;
- ensure that every bathroom be equipped with touchless handwashing stations; and
- fund the installation of water-bottle filling stations to a ratio of one per every student washroom in the school.
Additionally, we also believe it’s very important that our students have continued access to nutrition programs as we move into the new school year during this difficult time. We are asking that your government, the City of Toronto and the Toronto Foundation for Student Success ensure that funding for student nutrition is maintained such that any potential increased cost of nutrition programs under COVID-19, including but not limited to the provision of prepackaged meals, does not result in any decrease to the number of meals/snacks provided in any of our schools.
I look forward to working closely with you on these issues and I am readily available to continue this conversation at your earliest convenience.
Chair, Toronto District School Board