School boards face unprecedented challenges combating COVID-19

As coronavirus spreads, schools are forced to come up with new measures

classroom, school,
Empty kindergarten classroom of St. Catherines Catholic School in North York. Luca Tatulli/Toronto Observer

Publicly funded schools in Ontario face a never before seen danger in dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak. With the virus spreading each day, school boards across the province are coming up with new measures to combat the virus.

Staff and students are advised to wash their hands frequently and stay home when sick.

“It’s a shock,” says Philip Gahuniait, principal of St. Catherine Catholic school in North York. “It really highlights the severity of this … virus and the effect it has on all levels of society.”

Over the past year, the TCDSB has implemented a uniform messaging system called school messenger. The program allows for direct communication between teachers and parents. The school messenger service was used to help inform parents about school closures.

“There’s going to be many challenges for parents in meeting the educational needs and safety needs,” says Gahunia.

With the closures, parents will potentially face issues in dealing with childcare and adequate childcare alternatives. As the closures continue the TCDSB will continue to update parents via the school messenger system.

“I think they’ve been pretty much on top of it,” says intensive support teacher Lisa Balsamo of the TCDSB. “Now they seem to be more responsive. There’s a lot of emails coming out,”

Custodial staff is performing additional cleaning measures at schools during the school closure period. This includes disinfecting high-risk surfaces, like tables, light switches and washrooms.

To address the closures the Ontario government unveiled its’ “learn at home” online courses on March 20. The program offers educational activities for elementary students.

High school students will also be able to access their courses and educational resources online. Students access the courses through the government of Ontario’s website.

The services are the first phase of the Ontario governments’ plan to move classes online. More education resources will continue to be moved online if school closures persist more resources will be added.

Currently, there are more than 300,000 cases of COVID-19 worldwide. Canada has about 1,300 reported cases of COVID-19, according to the Government of Canada.

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Posted: Mar 14 2020 1:44 pm
Filed under: Community COVID-19 Education News