It’s catch-up time for Ontario students.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce announced the province’s “plan to catch up” for the school year after two-and-a-half years of on-again, off-again in-person learning because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The plan, largely based on the April 28 provincial budget that will be re-introduced and passed when the legislature resumes next month, includes tutoring for students who have fallen behind and other supports in classrooms.

And amid the start-up of negotiations with all education unions as contracts expire at the end of August, Lecce said Monday he expects classes to start on time and with extracurricular activities.

“Our government is looking ahead as we remain squarely focused on ensuring students receive the best stable learning experience possible, and that starts with them being in class, on time, with all of the experiences students deserve,” the minister said in Ajax.

“We have a plan for students to catch up, including the largest tutoring program in Ontario’s history, a modernized skills-focused curriculum to prepare students for the jobs of tomorrow, and enhanced mental health supports,” he said.

The province has allocated $26.5 billion for elementary and secondary education for the upcoming school year.

Lecce spoke at Viola Desmond Elementary School in Ajax, alongside former Durham board trustee Patrice Barnes, who was elected MPP in the June 2 election and now his parliamentary assistant.

It was the minister’s first meeting with reporters since the Progressive Conservatives were re-elected last month.

More to come.