Ontario announces back-to-school plan to 'catch up' from pandemic

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The Ontario government has released a plan to help students catch up following two years of interrupted learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The plan focuses primarily on getting students back in the classroom for a "full school experience,” however the Progressive Conservatives say they will also “enable the option of remote learning” for parents who feel it’s the best option for their child.

“Our plan starts with a return to in-person learning, on time, and with all the experiences students need and deserve like sports, clubs and field trips. Nothing is more important,” the document reads.

Few new details were released as to how the government plans to ensure in-person learning continues throughout the year, particularly if another wave of COVID-19 hits the province. Instead, the government touted their previous investments in ventilation improvements and HEPA filter units, the provision of rapid COVID-19 tests for staff and students and funding for parents to offset the costs of online learning.

Officials say these same measures will remain in place for the 2022-23 school year.

The plan also includes additional tutoring, funding to build new schools as well as mental health supports.

School boards have been offering enhanced tutoring support programs focused on literacy and math since April 2022, officials say.