When the school year begins at Alexmuir Junior Public School some time in the next week or so, the corridors won’t be filled with the usual hustle and bustle of the fall semester.
In fact, there won’t be many students in the Scarborough school at all.
Just 26 per cent of students at Alexmuir, located near Midland Avenue and Finch Avenue East, are registered for in-person learning, with 68 per cent registered for online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a report released by the Toronto District School Board recently. (There was no response from the remaining 6 per cent of households.) There are similarly low rates in other nearby schools; of the 10 TDSB primary schools with the lowest registration for in-person learning, nine are in Scarborough.
That’s no coincidence, says Mitzie Hunter, Liberal MPP for Scarborough-Guildwood.
“There are parts of Scarborough which have been COVID hotspots since the beginning of the pandemic. People know that if there’s community spread, it’s more likely that it will be in schools. I do believe people are afraid,” said Hunter in an interview.