KAWARTHA LAKES-The Trillium Lakelands District School Board (TLDSB)currently has 74 elementary and 85 secondary students attending in-person classes in the Special Education program in 11 schools across the district.
The board has 16,000 students in 54 schools within the TLDSB region. The region includes, Kawartha Lakes, Haliburton, Bracebridge and Muskoka.
The Ministry of Education closed all schools and forced kids into online classes in early April with the exception of students with special needs. These are typically students in the Practical Academics and Learning Skills program as well as the AIM programs according to the board.
I – Independence in executive functioning skills for learning
M – Mental fitness and wellbeing
The school board says students all attend at their home school with no intermingling. There are no cases of Coronavirus reported at any school within the board at this time.
In March more than 300 Ontario doctors and allied health professionals sent a letter to Premier Ford and Education Minister Stephen Lecce urging the province not to move forward with any more school closures as a result of Coronavirus.
“We respectfully maintain that schools must remain open for the duration of this academic year, and in the future, regardless of community rates of SARS-CoV-2,” the document said.
The letter was signed by 235 physicians and 74 allied health professionals within 24 hours, citing a number of reasons why keeping schools closed poses a risk to children.
The letter stated that children who are infected with Coronavirus are commonly asymptomatic, or have mild symptoms; that schools have a low likelihood of transmission; and that closing schools negatively impacts the mental health and well-being of children.
The primary concerns noted, regarding keeping schools closed, included higher levels of obesity, eating disorders, lower quality of learning, unsafe home environments and a deterioration in mental health. Various studies were cited, including research from McMaster Children’s Hospital.
“Our collective professional opinion is that the province must endeavour to keep schools open irrespective of potential further provincial restrictions in the coming months, to prevent numerous harms to our children.”
The province did not heed that advice and closed schools to all but special needs in early April.