Two Mississauga high schools going virtual for a day so schools can serve as polling sites

John Fraser Secondary School in Mississauga is shown in a Google Streetview Image from Nov. 2020.

Two Mississauga-area high schools will send all students online on Election Day so that the schools can be used as polling places, the schools board says.

Stephen Lewis Secondary School on Thomas Street and John Fraser Secondary School on Erin Centre Boulevard will send kids to learn online on Sept. 20.

Peel District School Board spokesperson Malon Edwards told CP24 the measure is meant to reduce COVID-19 risk for everyone involved.

“To reduce the number of people onsite at each school, and to help keep students and staff safe, all classes at Stephen Lewis and John Fraser Secondary Schools will be moved to online learning, within the Community Learning Model, for the entire school day on Monday, September 20, 2021.”

The Ontario Parent Action Network criticized the move on social media, lamenting the disruption caused when students have already lost 23-26 weeks of in-person class time over the past two years.

We learned last night that @PeelSchools has forced students & staff at 2 of their high schools to go remote on election day — online — while they give over those schools to adults voting.

ONschools have been closed to in-person learning for 26 wks. Kids have been back a week ��

— Ontario Parent Action Network (@parentaction4ed)  September 15, 2021

Other Ontario school boards including the Toronto Catholic District School Board refused to have their properties used as polling sites.

Elections Canada says it will employ physical distancing and droplet-contact protocol levels of personal protective equipment use at polling places, but cannot guarantee its poll workers are vaccinated against COVID-19 and cannot bar unvaccinated electors from casting ballots.