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Ottawa public school board trustee talks pushing back school start date for safety

Mark Fisher is having a hard time believing all of the proper measures can be put in place for schools to be able to handle hundreds of children by September 3.
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At least one Ottawa-Carleton District School Board Trustee is raising concerns over the short window that's been given to make schools a safe place for learning.

Mark Fisher says there's been confusion surrounding online and return to school schedules, especially for secondary school students, and the start date of September 3 seems to be creating more panic than offering clarity.

Those confused feelings have been compounded by the board only receiving direction from Ontario's Ministry of Education regarding return-to-school protocols about a week and half ago, explains the trustee.

"Well we were surprised because that type of information, because it was moving so fast, was not even getting to the board of trustees," says Fisher. "It wasn't even getting out to parents, right? That's how fast things have been moving."

Parents have until midnight on Sunday, August 16, to decide whether their children will attend classes online or in person.

Fisher says there are so many moving parts in the process at this point...that, even he, as a trustee is having a problem sorting through everything.

"We still don't even have an approved budget yet, as a board, for September. Again, because we didn't receive any grant funding information from the ministry until the middle of July, until the end of July."

At it stands, 72,000 Ottawa-Carleton District School Board students will begin classes on September 3.

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