Masks in Grade 1. Smaller classes. Combo learning. New poll taps into what Ontario families want when schools reopen

Ontarians prefer a combination of in-school and at-home learning for students and want kids to start wearing masks in class starting in Grade 1, a new poll for the Star has found.Some 37 per cent of those surveyed last week by Campaign Research say they are very or somewhat confident in a safe return to school if kids attend full-time, with 57 per cent somewhat unconfident or not at all.And when it comes to masks — which the province has mandated for students in Grades 4 and up — more than a third of those surveyed felt children should don them starting in Grade 1, or when they are six years old.“That is something that was a surprise to me — I thought maybe Grade 4 or Grade 5,” said Campaign Research principal Nick Kouvalis. “I was surprised to see that plurality at Grade 1 ... people picked the lowest grade because they want to be careful.”The public “is just cautiously optimistic that things can go back to normal,” but wants to proceed slowly, he added.More than 50 per cent of those surveyed said classes should have 15 students or fewer, with less than a third thinking 15 to 20 is best. Just seven per cent felt classes of 20 or more were appropriate.The province has come under considerable criticism for not limiting class sizes in elementary schools, where some grades can see up to 30 kids in a room. In response, Education Minister Stephen Lecce has announced funding to hire additional staff, and is now allowing boards to access more contingency funds as well, though boards say it’s not enough to get to 15.Campaign Research polled 1,031 people across the province last Monday to Thursday using Maru Blue’s online opt-in panel. For comparison purposes, a random sample of this size would have a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points, 19 times out of 20.When asked their preference for the fall, just 14 per cent of respondents opted for in-class learning, 19 per cent cited online learning, and 53 per cent said a mix of the two. That is similar to Campaign Research polling last month, Kouvalis noted.The hybrid learning model — which will be in place for high school students in large, urban boards only — had the strongest support in Simcoe and York Region, which includes Lecce’s riding.The public was also somewhat split on whether school boards had enough time to prepare for reopening amid COVID-19, with 38 per cent saying yes, 46 per cent responding no and 16 per cent unsure.Respondents also approved of the “quadmester” — or two courses at a time — for teens, with 52 per cent in support of that model and just 15 per cent disapproving. Some 33 per cent were unsure. The highest rate of non-confidence in a safe return to school full-time was found among respondents in the city of Toronto, and the lowest in Halton and Peel regions. Boards themselves have been surveying parents about their intentions, and say that while it’s early, it appears about one-quarter are opting for their kids to learn online at home.The poll also asked about post-secondary education, where there is a clear division of opinion on whether it is safe to reopen universities with in-person classes, with 36 per cent in favour, 36 per cent against and 28 per cent unsure.However, in Northern Ontario, almost half — or 47 per cent of those surveyed — felt in-person university courses were best.When it comes to opening up student residences, however, just 29 per cent of respondents across the province approved, with 45 per cent saying such a move was not safe. Kristin Rushowy is a Toronto-based reporter covering Ontario politics for the Star. Follow her on Twitter: @krushowy

Masks in Grade 1. Smaller classes. Combo learning. New poll taps into what Ontario families want when schools reopen

Ontarians prefer a combination of in-school and at-home learning for students and want kids to start wearing masks in class starting in Grade 1, a new poll for the Star has found.

Some 37 per cent of those surveyed last week by Campaign Research say they are very or somewhat confident in a safe return to school if kids attend full-time, with 57 per cent somewhat unconfident or not at all.

And when it comes to masks — which the province has mandated for students in Grades 4 and up — more than a third of those surveyed felt children should don them starting in Grade 1, or when they are six years old.

“That is something that was a surprise to me — I thought maybe Grade 4 or Grade 5,” said Campaign Research principal Nick Kouvalis. “I was surprised to see that plurality at Grade 1 ... people picked the lowest grade because they want to be careful.”

The public “is just cautiously optimistic that things can go back to normal,” but wants to proceed slowly, he added.

More than 50 per cent of those surveyed said classes should have 15 students or fewer, with less than a third thinking 15 to 20 is best. Just seven per cent felt classes of 20 or more were appropriate.

The province has come under considerable criticism for not limiting class sizes in elementary schools, where some grades can see up to 30 kids in a room. In response, Education Minister Stephen Lecce has announced funding to hire additional staff, and is now allowing boards to access more contingency funds as well, though boards say it’s not enough to get to 15.

Campaign Research polled 1,031 people across the province last Monday to Thursday using Maru Blue’s online opt-in panel. For comparison purposes, a random sample of this size would have a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

When asked their preference for the fall, just 14 per cent of respondents opted for in-class learning, 19 per cent cited online learning, and 53 per cent said a mix of the two. That is similar to Campaign Research polling last month, Kouvalis noted.

The hybrid learning model — which will be in place for high school students in large, urban boards only — had the strongest support in Simcoe and York Region, which includes Lecce’s riding.

The public was also somewhat split on whether school boards had enough time to prepare for reopening amid COVID-19, with 38 per cent saying yes, 46 per cent responding no and 16 per cent unsure.

Respondents also approved of the “quadmester” — or two courses at a time — for teens, with 52 per cent in support of that model and just 15 per cent disapproving. Some 33 per cent were unsure.

The highest rate of non-confidence in a safe return to school full-time was found among respondents in the city of Toronto, and the lowest in Halton and Peel regions.

Boards themselves have been surveying parents about their intentions, and say that while it’s early, it appears about one-quarter are opting for their kids to learn online at home.

The poll also asked about post-secondary education, where there is a clear division of opinion on whether it is safe to reopen universities with in-person classes, with 36 per cent in favour, 36 per cent against and 28 per cent unsure.

However, in Northern Ontario, almost half — or 47 per cent of those surveyed — felt in-person university courses were best.

When it comes to opening up student residences, however, just 29 per cent of respondents across the province approved, with 45 per cent saying such a move was not safe.

Kristin Rushowy is a Toronto-based reporter covering Ontario politics for the Star. Follow her on Twitter: @krushowy

Source : Toronto Star More   

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9/11 Tribute In Light Will Go On After Receiving Assistance From New York State

The 9/11 Memorial & Museum initially said the annual tribute would not happen next month because it would put the production crew's health at risk.

9/11 Tribute In Light Will Go On After Receiving Assistance From New York State

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Sept. 11 Tribute in Light will go on this year after Gov. Andrew Cuomo and others stepped in to ensure it could be organized in compliance with coronavirus safety restrictions.

The 9/11 Memorial & Museum initially said the annual tribute would not happen next month because it would put the production crew’s health at risk.

The museum’s initial statement said the decision was made “after concluding the health risks during the pandemic were far too great for the large crew required.”

The memorial and museum said nearly 40 stagehands typically work in close proximity to produce the installation, which organizers said does not align with COVID-19 safety precautions.

RELATED STORY: Families Of 9/11 Victims Fight Decision To Cancel Tribute In Light At Ground Zero

On Saturday, museum president and CEO Alice M. Greenwald released a statement saying in part, “In the last 24 hours we’ve had conversations with many interested parties and believe we will be able to stage the tribute in a safe and appropriate fashion.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the state “will provide health personnel to supervise to make sure the event is held safely while at the same time properly honoring 9/11.”

Greenwald also thanked former mayor Mike Bloomberg, who is also the museum’s chairman, and the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. for helping to offset the increased costs of the tribute.

Last month, the memorial and museum said this year’s ceremony would not include a live, in-person reading of the victims’ names due to coronavirus concerns. Instead, a pre-recorded name reading will be played.

The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, which is sponsored by CBS2, is organizing its own ceremony adjacent to Ground Zero for 9/11 families with plans for an in-person name reading.

You can get the latest news, sports and weather on our brand new CBS New York app. Download here.

Source : CBS News York More   

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