Launch of Voluntary COVID-19 Testing for Asymptomatic Students in Hotspots

Published on December 01, 2020

The government has always said we will do whatever it takes to keep students and staff safe, which is why we are introducing new initiatives and more funding to ensure schools are supported, safe and remain open through the second wave. 

We are again building upon our plan to protect students and staff by increasing funding and expanding testing, training, and interactive learning supports, to keep our schools open and safe.

The government is launching voluntary COVID-19 testing for asymptomatic students in regions of the province which currently have a high number of active COVID-19 cases; specifically, the Ottawa, Toronto, Peel and York regions.

Expanding asymptomatic testing will introduce a critical layer of prevention in higher-risk schools that will help ensure we continue to deliver safe and open schools for our kids

This voluntary testing will enhance disease control in some of our hardest hit regions and will make it easier to track and prevent the spread of COVID-19 in schools by helping to identify cases early.

The government is also providing $13.6 million for select school boards in response to rising COVID-19 cases in Durham, Halton, Hamilton and Waterloo. The funding could be used to hire between 135 and 175 additional teachers, about 240 additional custodians, or purchase about 27,145 additional technological devices for students to aid online learning.

For all school boards across the province, the government is also providing funding stabilization; protecting potentially hundreds of millions of school board’s GSN funding, including approximately $41M for the TDSB alone, to help alleviate some of the impacts of unexpected enrolment declines as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, as some parents have kept their kids out of the school system. 

To support high quality remote learning, we have directed the creation of two new learning portals developed in partnership with TVO and TFO. To support students who are self-isolating, quarantining at home, or wishing to build their skills by accessing additional educational resources developed by Ontario certified teachers, our government has launched TVO Learn and TFO IDÉLLO, apprendre à la maison.

We are also instructing a mandatory training day on the first day of class in January 2020, to amplify awareness and compliance of COVID-19 safety protocols, focused on importance of distancing, hand hygiene, proper masking, and mental health.

With our support for asymptomatic testing, funding to keep schools safe, and new online learning options, we are putting kids first and laying the groundwork for success in 2021.

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