Christine’s Chronicle – February 2021

Published on February 24, 2021

In this month’s Chronicle, I would like to take a moment to share with you an update on COVID-19 and address some of the questions my constituency office has received about schools. As your local MPP, I want to make sure that you have the information you need to help keep you, your loved ones and our community safe.

On February 8th, the Ontario government announced that, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the province is moving to a regional approach. When it is safe to do so, the province will gradually transition each public health region from the shutdown measures to a revised and strengthened COVID-19 Response Framework: Keeping Ontario Safe and Open. For York Region Public Health, it is proposed that the shutdown and the Stay-at-Home order will continue to apply until at least Monday, February 22, 2021. To learn more about the public health measures that currently apply to each public health region, including York Region, please visit: Ontario.ca/COVIDresponse.

While we have seen some progress in our fight against COVID-19, this is not a reopening or a return to normal. Until vaccines are widely available, it remains critical that everyone in our community continues to limit close contact to our immediate households and stay at home as much as possible. By continuing to follow all public health and workplace safety measures, we can continue to reduce the number of new cases and the strain on our health system. This is especially important now that there are new COVID-19 variants in the province that pose a significant risk to our communities. We all need to continue to do our part to stop the spread of this virus.

I know that many of you may have questions about what this means for you and your loved ones. Over the last few weeks, my constituency office has received a number of question regarding schools and the status of March Break.  On February 11th, the Minister of Education announced that March Break will be postponed until April 12-16, 2021.  This decision was made in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and public health officials, including many local Medical Officers of Health.  This decision will help keep school safe by limiting opportunities for congregation outside of school.

To further support the province’s collective efforts to keep school safe from COVID-19, the Ontario government is providing an additional $381 million in funding provided through the federal Safe Return to Class Fund.  Although transmission in schools has been low, this funding will be used to improve air quality and ventilation in schools, support online learning, promote student mental health and hire more staff.  York Regional District School Board has been allocated $70,625,827 and York Regional Catholic School Board has been allocated $29,227,166.

I know that this year has been challenging, but I want to reassure you that there are better days ahead. I am so proud to represent our community, and I continue to be inspired by your spirit and resilience.

Recently, I was pleased to join Paul Dutton and Sean Riddell on Conversations in Newmarket with Neighbur, a local podcast that focuses on our Newmarket-Aurora community. In this new episode, we discuss the impact of COVID-19 on small businesses and the supports the government has put in place to hep businesses during this challenging time. We are joined by special guest Rob Clark, Founder and Principal of RC Design, whose business recently won the Newmarket Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business of the Year Award. To listen to the podcast, please visit the new Christine’s Updates section of my website, www.christineelliottmpp.ca.  This is where I will be posting my messages to our community. 

As always, should you have any questions about provincial matters, please reach out to my constituency office by calling 905-853-9889 or emailing [email protected]. We are here to support you.