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Belmont elementary school plans move forward with future of pupil spacing still uncertain
BELMONT, ONT. -- The community of Belmont, in Central Elgin, is officially getting a long sought-after elementary school, but whether it takes into account future rules around spacing requirements brought on by the current pandemic remains a question.
The $8.7-million kindergarten to grade eight school announced by Elgin Middlesex London MPP Jeff Yurek Thursday morning will accommodate 345 pupils.
When questioned by CTV News, Yurek conceded that the plans were put in place before the pandemic, and before safe spacing was a consideration. Still, he said he’s comfortable that the capacity numbers will hold.
“This would take into account prior to any changes that the Ministry of Education has made this year planning for this upcoming school year. However this school will not be operational until 2023-2024 and we’re hopefully at that time have a vaccine or treatment for the current pandemic, and will be more into a system where it was previously, pre-COVID.”
He said going forward there will be safety protocols for health and social distancing.
A specific location in Belmont has not yet been decided for the future school, which will replace the aging South Dorchester and Westminster Central public schools.
The new Thames Valley District School Board facility will also take students from the Northdale Central Public School, River Heights Public School and Davenport Public School attendance areas.
According to the board, the original recommendation to build a new school in Belmont was approved in May 2017 after extensive consultation.
“We listened to our stakeholders and realize there is a need for a new school in the Belmont community. This school will foster an inviting learning environment and build on everything that this community has to offer,” said Meagan Ruddock, one of Elgin County’s two trustees, in a statement.