3 Mississauga schools reporting 30% absence rates

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Published February 10, 2022 at 7:01 pm

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Three schools in Mississauga have reported a major absence rate of at least 30 per cent this week of Feb. 10.

The province recently shifted from reporting COVID-19 cases in schools to monitoring overall absence rates. The percentages below are the combined percentage of students and staff who were reported as absent.

Whether the students/staff are absent due to COVID-19 or other reasons is not specified. There is, however, concern that over the figures’ accuracy since some schools mark remote-learning students present when they might be isolating for COVID-associated reasons.

On Feb. 9, Peel Alternative South school had the highest absence rate at 33.3 per cent. St. Oscar Romero Catholic Secondary School in Erin Mills reported 32.7, while Glenhaven Senior Public School reported an even 30 per cent.

Two high schools in south Mississauga, Lorne Park (27.3) and Port Credit (20.7), are also over 20.

The data is self-reported to the Ontario Ministry of Education and is current as of 2 p.m. the previous weekday. Typically, the data is updated around 10:30 a.m. the next day.

Ontario students have lost more days of in-person learning during the COVID-19 pandemic than their counterparts in every other jurisdiction in Canada and the United States. Most recently, the children were on remote learning for the first two weeks of January.

Schools re-opened for in-person learning as of Jan. 19, with Health Minister Christine Elliott saying there is “very little evidence” that schools are leading to high levels of transmission of COVID-19.

Both the province and the federal government have made commitments to improving ventilation in schools, but it is dwarfing by a ballooning backlog for general school repairs.

In April, the feds announced plans to invest $525.2 million toward education-related projects as part of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program. The province also committed more than $131.3 million toward projects, which works out to just more than $27,000 per school.

However, in the fall of 2019, Ontario’s general schools repairs backlog was estimated to be $16.3 billion. That figure predates both the pandemic and a recent spike in inflation.

The school repair backlog was pegged at $15.9 billion when the Ontario PC Party government was elected in 2018, ending 15 years of Liberal governments.

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