Public and Catholic school boards in Peterborough and the surrounding area will receive more than $26 million combined in government funding to upgrade school infrastructure to protect against COVID-19.
The funding was part of the joint announcement Wednesday from the governments of Ontario and Canada through the COVID-19 Reliance Infrastructure Stream of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program.
The feds are providing $525.2 million while Ontario is contributing $131.3 million to the projects to 3,800 projects at almost 3,900 schools and co-located childcare facilities across 74 school boards.
For central Ontario, the following public and Catholic school boards will receive funding:
- Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board: $10,750,000
- Peterborough Victoria Northumberland Clarington Catholic District School Board: $8,356,433
- Trillium Lakelands District School Board: $7,485,000
Two French school boards are also receiving funding:
- Conseil scolaire Viamonde: $11,024,000 (three schools in Durham region)
- Conseil scolaire catholique Mon Avenir: $8,782,425 (one school in Peterborough: École catholique Monseigneur-Jamot)
The funding will support building retrofits, updates and upgrades to schools and co-located child care facilities. Projects can include HVAC renovations to improve air quality, installing water bottle refilling stations, and space reconfigurations such as new walls and doors to enhance physical distancing.
“The health and wellbeing of students remains the highest priority for our government,” said Laurie Scott, MPP for Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock, Ontario’s minister of infrastructure. “Building on previous investments, this funding will help support important upgrades for local schools.”
Catherine McKenna, Federal Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, says the pandemic has had a major impact on the wellbeing of students, parents and teachers.
“As we continue to battle this crisis, ensuring a safe learning environment for our kids is critical,” she said. “That’s why the Government of Canada is investing 80 cents on every dollar for a total of over $500 million to make schools across Ontario safer for students and teachers. These projects will improve air quality, install more handwashing stations and support better physical distancing. They are part of the federal government’s support to help Canadians get through the pandemic safely, create good jobs across the province, and build stronger, more resilient communities.”
Northumberland-Peterborough South MPP David Piccini echoed the sentiment.
“This investment will help further improve the safety of schools, and supports parents, staff and students who want in-person learning protected,” he said.