TDSB continuing outdoor educational program despite teen's death

Canoe trips like the one a 15-year-old Toronto boy took to Algonquin Park last week where he drowned continue at the TDSB.

NEWSTALK 1010 has learned the board is carrying on with its outdoor educational program despite the teen's death.

It is still not providing any answers on exactly what sort of swim test he took before he was cleared to go on the trip.

His father has said he couldn't swim.

There are five excursions planned over the next couple of months.

"We do have some outdoor education trips offered by Camp Kearney which is operated by the TDSB's Scarborough Education School and that's offered to students right across the GTA, not exclusive to TDSB students. These trips are continuing as planned with the appropriate safety precautions in place and they're taking place over much of July and August," explains spokesperson Ryan Bird.

A total of 40 students will participate in the five trips that involve multi-day canoe adventures. There will be at least four Summer camp staff on each trip.

The trips, themselves, range in duration. The shortest involves a 4-5 day canoe trip while the longest is 10 days. Students will travel to the Mattawa River area, the Martin River area or the Temagami area.

"We are still looking into exactly what happened in Algonquin last week. Once we get that information and that investigation is complete not only from the school board's side but the coroner's office and the OPP, we can then look to see if any lessons can be learned and if any changes are needed. But, in the meantime, these trips are continuing as planned with all the appropriate safety precautions in place," says Bird.

He adds that students going on these trips needed to pass a swim test which would be in-line with OPHEA safety guidelines.

The OPHEA website lists the requirements as:

Prior to canoe tripping, students must successfully complete the following swim test in its entirety:

    rolling entry (backwards or forward) into deep water at 2.75m (9’) minimum depth
    tread water for 1 minute
    swim 50m (164’) continuously any stroke

The components of the swim test must be completed in sequence and without any aids or stops.

The test must be administered by a certified swimming instructor/lifeguard (test is based on the Lifesaving Society’s Swim to SurviveTM Standard).

The swim test must be completed within the school year in which the activity is taking place.

In lieu of completing the swim test, students may provide proof of Bronze Medallion certification or higher.

Students who do not pass the above swim test or who do not have the aforementioned certification must not participate in canoe tripping.

Trip guide and outside provider (if applicable) must be aware of the swim test results.