The Oakville Resiliency Report is timestamped in September 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic is not over. Welcome to the fifth and final installment of our #WeekendReads series on Oakville Resiliency Report updates! But don’t fret, continue to join us every Friday as we share new information and reports of interest. Click here for previous installments.
Sources can be found here or by clicking the superscript within the text.
Now slightly more than one year into the pandemic, education has been turned on its head. What started as a temporary call for virtual classes – in elementary, secondary and post-secondary settings – has now become common.
Students and their parents have been able to choose whether they’ll attend in-class or virtually. Virtual classes are considered stressful by both parents and students, with concern over being attached to a screen.¹ However, almost 18% of Ontario schools are reporting cases of COVID-19.² In Halton, more than 80 schools have reported cases of COVID-19 since they reopened in February.³
To combat this, the Province announced that they would be expanding asymptomatic testing in schools after a pilot last fall discovered that one school had between 4% and 5% of students test positive for COVID-19, despite showing no symptoms.⁴
Universities and colleges have also moved completely virtual, with students attending class online. Extra-curricular activities and university-wide events have also been cancelled. Some universities are preparing to be back in classes in the fall for things like tutorials and labs.⁵ The intention is to continue incorporating in-class and at-home learning.
Charities focused on education have had a difficult year, with demand generally outpacing capacity. These charities have tried to stay up and running and 81% of education-focused charities have continued to operate with modifications.⁶
- 63% report a decrease in revenue
- 72% say their donations have decreased
In a time where there are limitations on singing, dancing and playing musical instruments in classrooms⁷, and where nearly everywhere in Ontario gyms and recreation centres remain closed or are operating at reduced capacity, it’s easy to see why the arts, culture and recreation sector is in dire need of help.
Arts, culture and recreation organizations are more than two and one half times more likely to have completely suspended their operations than other types of organizations.⁶ They’ve faced both decreased demand and decreased capacity to physical distancing requirements, leading many to shut their doors. In 2020, nearly 1 in 4 charities did not receive any donations, with smaller, grassroots organizations and arts-focused charities taking the biggest hit.⁸
In the last few weeks, the provincial government has pledged $25 million to the arts sector⁹ and $105 million for tourism, culture, sport and recreation.¹⁰ Since the start of the pandemic, 83% of these charities have seen their revenues decrease and 84% have also seen a decrease in donations.⁶
The Foundation’s Community Classroom initiative now offers arts, culture, heritage and environmental programs completely online for children and youth in publicly-funded Oakville schools, from kindergarten to Grade 8. To learn more about Community Classroom click here.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
Charitable organizations helping members of the community with educational opportunities and extra-curricular arts, culture and recreation have received funds from the Oakville Resiliency Fund, GIVEOakville and the Emergency Community Fund. This funding has helped, but it has not satisfied all of the needs.
Organizations like the Tempus Choral Society have experienced a 75% decrease in demand and a 90% decrease in revenue. Others like ArtHouse and the Canadian Caribbean Association of Halton have expanded their mandates to provide necessities like food to be able to continue to provide arts, culture and recreation activities.