Ontario Committing $35 Million to Offset Effects of Online Learning During COVID-19


Ontario schools will receive an additional $35 million for reading supports and summer classes for children who have battled learning loss during the pandemic, sources say.

On Thursday, Education Minister Stephen Lecce will announce the funding as well as the annual Grants for Student Needs – known as the GSN – for school boards for the 2022-23 school year.

Pandemic supports include $25 million for reading assessment and intervention programs as well as a $10 million increase for summer learning, which is in addition to the 33.5 million dollars already budgeted for the second year of the program. Another $1.4 million is set aside to expand online math tutoring.

Although experts say there is no doubt that students in Ontario have experienced learning loss during the pandemic – having learned more online than any other jurisdiction in North America and much of Europe – there is no full tracking.

In other jurisdictions, students have been found to be up to three months behind, particularly in reading, and learning online for significantly less time.

The Toronto District School Board found a nine percentage point drop in Grade 1 student reading levels for students learning online and a three percentage point drop for those learning in person.

The research and advocacy group People for Education compiled an overview of what all provinces are doing to help schools meet the challenges of the pandemic and found that “although all provinces and territories have detailed safety measures for schools, few have articulated a vision or guidelines for managing, assessing, or responding to the educational impact of COVID-19, and none have allocated the substantial funding that true recovery and renewal will require.

People for Education said only four of the country’s provinces and territories – Quebec, Nunavut, British Columbia and Yukon – have “developed comprehensive documents that provide both guidelines and goals to help students and staff to cope with the continued impacts of the pandemic”.

It calls on the federal government to create an advisory table on public education — something teachers’ unions have also advocated for — and “expand funding to provinces, territories and First Nations with a stimulus fund for education.” ‘multi-billion dollar and multi-year education’. ‘ to support planning, evidence gathering, assessments, increasing the number of staff and vital resources.

On Thursday, Lecce will also release the GSNs, which for the 2021-22 school year were $25.6 billion — which did not include COVID-19-related funding — and amounted to around $12,686. per student, compared to $12,525 the previous year.

Last year, Ontario spent about $62 million on summer learning and $20 million on early reading assessments.

Last year, leading pediatric experts said children needed significant support to help bridge pandemic learning gaps.

In an April 2021 letter to Prime Minister Doug Ford, the Canadian Pediatric Society said “as paediatricians, we have seen the devastating effects of the pandemic on children and youth,” including mental health issues. as well as “school regression, including school dropout and reduced literacy levels; significant decrease in physical activity and increase in time spent in front of a screen; missed or delayed developmental screenings…(and) growing inequalities, especially among racialized children and youth, and families where parents cannot work from home.


Conversations are opinions of our readers and are subject to the Code of Conduct. The Star does not share these opinions.

Comments are closed.