The Legislative Assembly of Ontario remains adjourned for the summer with Members of Provincial Parliament (MPPs) returning on September 13, 2021.
COVID-19 Update / Return to School Fall 2021
As the school year rapidly approaches, school boards are preparing revised health and safety protocols, with the implementation of the new provincial vaccination policy of foremost concern. On August 24, Dr. Kieran Moore, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, sent a memorandum to Stéphane Perrault, Chief Electoral Officer of Canada, regarding the use of schools for election-related purposes. Dr. Moore is advising that only schools that meet the following conditions be considered by school boards and Elections Canada for the establishment of polling stations, particularly in elementary schools:
- Direct path to location of polling station;
- There must be separate entrance(s) and exit(s); and
- Must be able to keep students (including children in licensed child care centres co-located in schools) and staff separate from the public.
A memo regarding the COVID-19 School Testing Pilot Program was also sent to school boards on August 24 and after a previous government update, information regarding School Board Implementation Resource for Data Collection and Reporting was sent. On August 26, L’Association des conseils scolaires des écoles publiques de l’Ontario (ACÉPO) issued a news release about mandatory vaccines.
On August 27, updates to the students and children screening tool, as well as the screening tool for employees and essential visitors in schools and child care settings, was provided. The changes reflect Ministry of Health alignment on symptoms, immunization status, isolation periods, as well as international travel and rapid testing results.
See the Ministry memo re updates to the school screening tool for the 2021-22 school year.
OPSBA President Cathy Abraham will be attending a virtual meeting hosted by Steven Del Duca, Leader of the Ontario Liberal Party. The meeting, including leaders in the health care, education, business and municipal sectors, will discuss vaccines mandates. The other trustee associations have been invited and will also be attending. Invitations were extended to the Premier, other party leaders and the Chief Medical Officer of Health.
Federal Election 2021 – Student Vote Canada
CIVIX, in collaboration with Elections Canada, is organizing the Student Vote program for the September federal election. Participating schools receive free learning resources and election supplies. After learning about the election, students cast ballots for the official candidates running in their riding. More than 6,000 schools are expected to participate from across the country. This program is a great way to spark conversation about current issues and develop the habits of active and informed citizenship among students. This free program is targeted at grades 4 to 12. Schools can register at www.studentvote.ca/canada.
As previously reported, OPSBA will be coordinating advocacy efforts with the Canadian School Boards Association (CSBA). CSBA has met to discuss and finalize federal elections messages that are to be shared with member associations and OPSBA’s resources used in the 2019 Federal Election will be updated.
Ministry of Transportation (MTO) Regulatory Proposal re: Driver Responsibility Exemption for Seat Belts on Buses
Earlier this week, MTO shared information with stakeholders about a current regulatory proposal that would, “exempt bus drivers from the requirement to secure children between the ages of eight and 16 years of age.” Other considerations include signage and audible announcements for passengers to wear seat belts. The proposal is posted until September 21, 2021. OPSBA’s Policy Development Work Team will review the proposal and may submit a response on behalf of the Association.
Other News Releases and Information
- August 24, 2021 News Release: Ontario Deploying Last Mile Strategy to Further Increase Vaccination Rates