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Ontario Hansard - 14-June2021

Hon. Stephen Lecce: I announced, over a month ago, the Grants for Student Needs as well as the PPE funding. In that announcement, I made clear that this July, the incoming Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Moore, will provide the final counsel and advice to the province based on public health indicators and vaccination rates.

What we have intended to do—notwithstanding that advice that will come in some weeks, once we’re closer to September—is create a more normal, stable and, yes, safe September for all children and staff. I’m proud to report that nearly 40% of children aged 12 to 17 have received their first dose of the vaccine, and we’re well on our way by August to get every student and every staff member who wants one a second dose ahead of September. That’s part of our plan for the broader population to be double-dosed this summer.

Mr. Speaker, we’ve allocated $2 billion in increased investment, with $1.6 billion specifically for COVID resources to maintain asymptomatic testing, the doubling of public health nurses, the enhancement of cleaning our schools and strict screening before kids and staff enter. As well, there is additional money for learning loss. We’re going to continue to invest in mental health, learning loss and COVID-19 resources to ensure students and staff remain safe this September.

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