Reducing the school experience to a computer screen has created greater inequities particularly with special needs kids and those who already come from marginalized and racialized communities. The long-term repercussions will be felt for years to come in kids who have become disengaged and drop out at higher rates than before the pandemic.
We need a government that prioritizes education and will ensure these students do not get left permanently behind.
Previous Liberal governments understood that investment in education was a priority and built our education system up to be one of the best in the world.
Before the pandemic, our current Conservative government mandated two online high school credits as a requirement for graduation. Now, despite overwhelming evidence that online learning does not work for the majority of students, they are forging ahead with these plans for the coming school year. We need an end to permanent, online learning.
For those who need the extra time and help to get back on track academically, returning funding for an optional fifth year of high school would relieve much of the stress and associated mental health concerns, experienced by both students and their parents. Learning outcomes will increase, leading to better post-secondary success rates-a win-win for all.
More, not less, investment is required now to lower class sizes, introduce learning recovery supports and ensure safe schools
Socialization with peers is a critical part of healthy childhood development. We have asked children to abstain from all personal social contact, at a great cost to their mental health. Anxiety surrounding the return of in-person learning, depression triggered by social isolation and other mental health concerns have skyrocketed. As our kids return to school, we need to ensure that specific supports are in place and wait times for services are reduced to ensure at-risk youth are identified early and receive the help they need to successfully transition back to in-person learning.
Parkdale-High Park grade 10 student (annonymous)
Many kids actively discouraged from physical exercise through the cancellation of organized sport now need to be actively encouraged to participate again-or many will not return. These kids need to be supported back on a path of physical well-being.