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Nov. 26, 2020 | Thursday
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Letter: COVID exposes flaws in Niagara school consolidation and busing policies

 Dear editor:

There is no doubt that COVID-19 has impacted NOTL in many ways.

It also has brought to light longstanding flaws in our local institutions. The District School Board of Niagara is one of those institutions.

Over the last three decades, across Ontario and especially within the boundaries of the DSBN, there has been a relentless policy of closures and consolidation.

This has enabled the school board to ensure all classrooms are filled to capacity.

The problem is that most studies, if not all, have found that this practice has been a serious obstacle to positive student performance.

To support consolidation, DSBN has leaned heavily on busing, which was never a good idea for children of any age.

Viruses, like the flu, bullying and sexual harassment flourish on crowded school buses. There are studies anyone can read online that show busing is a serious impediment to student performance. Nothing good happens on a school bus.

COVID-19 has made it very clear. To protect our children and enhance education for children in NOTL there needs to be a complete reversal of consolidation and busing practices.

This will not be easy, however, it has to happen.

If the school board can't do it, then the province should return the education tax to our town council.

Our council built Niagara District High School and seven elementary schools. The province took that away in 1968. The province should give it back – what's left of it.

Don MacDougall