Opening up schools for community: Insights from Dr. Charles Pascal

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly disrupted the state of the world. Everyday activities that we thought we could rely on - such as our children going to school five days a week - have been brought into question. While the current pandemic has had devastating impacts, may there also be opportunities to create change for the better? The SPACE Coalition sat down with Dr. Charles Pascal to discuss how we may seize this moment in history to restore schools as inclusive, welcoming public assets for use by the entire community.

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Maximizing community use of school space in the COVID-19 rebuild

Even though Ontario entered another stay-at-home order last week, we still see a new normal on the horizon. With the vaccine rollout ramping up and warmer weather approaching, there is reason to believe that reprieve from the consecutive lockdowns is around the corner.

We here at the SPACE Coalition continue to strategize about how community use of school space can be maximized when the time arrives that we can resume permits.

A key piece of this work has been our new briefing note, Maximizing community use of school space. This document outlines key considerations and recommendations for improving access to school space when herd immunity has been substantially achieved.

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TDSB considering gradual re-entry of permit use

Members of the SPACE Coalition regularly attend the TDSB Community Use of Schools Community Advisory Committee. It is through this platform that we receive updates on community access to school facilities, which we are dedicated to sharing with the broader community.

After very limited access since the start of the pandemic, the TDSB is considering a phased in re-entry plan for permit use.

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2021 Ontario Pre-Budget Submission

Ontario's budget is a financial plan for how it brings in and spends money. The budget defines how much money goes towards social and communities services, including access to public spaces.

Every year the Government of Ontario seeks input from the public on matters related to its budget.

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SPACE COVID Update and Next Meeting

SPACE Members:

Although we have not been in contact with you for some time, the SPACE team has met several times, plus Lynn, Susan and Heather have attended the TDSB’s Community Use of Schools Community Advisory Committee (CUSCAC) meetings in October, November and December.

Today’s message will

  • share what we heard at CUSCAC meetings
  • note issues and thoughts we have identified regarding community use in general.
  • outline our thinking about community use of schools as we move forward through the coming “Vaccine Administration” period and eventually into an anticipated “Herd Immunity” period
  • provide some additional information resources.
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2020-2021 Ontario Pre-Budget Submission

Every year the provincial government seeks input from individuals and organizations to build their budget. The provincial budget impacts community use of space in many ways, both directly and indirectly.

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Materials from How to Hub: Community Hub Development Forum

On Saturday, September 29, 2018, the SPACE Coalition hosted the How to Hub: Community Hub Development Forum at the Lawrence Heights Community Centre. This event brought together more than 60 residents and service providers from across Toronto to share, learn and connect.

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