By Varad Mehta
As the school year approaches, students will face several changes such as: Quadmester for secondary students, and wearing a mask where two metres of social distancing cannot be maintained.
Christopher Mammoliti, Ward 4 Toronto District School Board (TDSB) trustee, said the school board is working together to ensure the best solutions for the school year. Mammoliti said that the work has been in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and the public health associations, including Toronto Public Health. Following the advice of public health associations, Mammoliti said Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) will be provided to the staff, and non-medical masks will be available for students. Students can wear their own non-medical masks as well. The TDSB stated in their Returning To School guide that, “Reasonable exceptions on the requirement to wear masks will apply.”
Mammoliti reiterated the importance behind these plans.
“Safety is our number one priority.”
He also added that today is a very challenging time, but there will be a light at the end of the tunnel, and communities will unify to help one another.
Along with Mammoliti, Ida Li Preti, Ward 3 Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB) trustee, reinforced why safety is a major priority going into the school year. Li Preti said along with safety measures such as proper sanitization and three-sided plexiglass desk shields for students and teachers in a class over 15, more teachers and staff will be hired as well to help out.
Li Preti said that a saliva-based testing pilot project has been actively considered, which will be a non-intrusive way to do testing, as it can be done at a student’s home. Li Preti highlights the importance of working with health officials to ensure the safest environment.
“As long as we follow the advice of Toronto Public Health in terms of remaining safe, I think we can do this. We can all work together,” Li Preti said.