- Stephen Lecce, MPP
Ontario is Improving Ventilation in King and Vaughan Schools to Keep Kids Safe and Provide a More Normal School Year
The COVID-19 pandemic has created challenges for all Ontarians, but it has been especially difficult for the province’s young people, including children and teenagers here in King-Vaughan. Students benefit when they are able to interact directly with their teachers and peers. In-person learning is critical for the physical and mental health, academic success and overall well-being of students, which is why Ontario’s government is strongly committed to providing them with a more normal school year, and safely reopening our schools.
Together, the governments of Canada and Ontario are investing up to $656.5 million to upgrade Ontario’s education infrastructure through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program’s COVID-19 Resilience Infrastructure Stream (ICIP-CVRIS). Projects include HVAC renovations, installing water bottle refilling stations, investing in network and broadband for remote learning, and space reconfigurations such as walls and doors to enhance physical distancing.
CVRIS supported 2,052 ventilation improvement projects in over 1,670 schools and co-located childcare facilities across 70 school boards throughout Ontario.
Closer to home, Ontario and the federal government are providing just over $15 million to the York Region District School Board through ICIP-CVRIS. That includes an allocation of about $450,000 to install new cooling centres and improvements to ventilation in portables at Discovery Public School in Maple. Altogether, schools in King-Vaughan will receive $3,714,379 in ICIP-CVRIS investments of which $2,780,000 is earmarked for ventilation projects.
These investments build on the more than $1 billion Ontario has invested since 2019 in new schools and child care spaces and additions to provide working families with access to quality, safe and state-of-the-art learning spaces.
Improving ventilation and air quality in schools is critically important for ensuring the safety of students, school staff and their families. Altogether, Ontario’s government is providing more than $600 million this year to improve school ventilation systems, as part of our shared commitment to keeping schools safe. That’s on top of the $1.4 billion in annual funding we provide to school boards to renew school facilities, including HVAC and windows.
Ontario’s government is following the best expert advice by ensuring all schools have improved air ventilation, and that includes deploying an additional 20,000 HEPA units (over 70,000 ventilation devices in total) to help ensure that kids remain as safe as possible.