Ontario NDP Call for Back to School Safety Plan

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Andrea Horwath NDP Leader

HAMILTON AND TORONTO — Official Opposition NDP Leader Andrea Horwath and Education critic Marit Stiles are proposing new measures to help students and staff go back to school safely — and urging the Ford government to stop making parents and educators wait until the last minute for information.

“Kids’ mental, emotional, and academic well-being depends on schools being open, and safe,” said Horwath. “Ontario has had the most school shutdown weeks in the nation — forcing kids to pay the price for government decisions.

“We should be moving heaven and earth now to make sure they can go back to school safely. I’m hearing from families, teachers and education workers who are anxious and frustrated that no announcements have been made about school re-opening or improved safety.”

Stiles said families, teachers and education workers thought they’d have more information by now.

“I’m hearing from parents and kids that feel forced to choose online learning because they don’t see any safety improvements coming,” said Stiles. “And I’m hearing from people that they’re incredibly frustrated at the lack of communication from the Ford government. Families need to make decisions around work and child care for next week, and we’re down to the wire here.”

The NDP is again urging Doug Ford to take urgent action, including:

  • A steady supply of free rapid tests for all students, teachers, and education workers
  • A vaccine blitz for students including in-school vaccine clinics with permission from parents
  • Mandatory vaccination for all teachers and education workers
  • Reduced class sizes and school busloads
  • Improved ventilation in all schools
  • Paid sick and family care days
  • Free N95 masks for all teachers and education workers

“We are incredibly worried that schools are being put at the bottom of the priority list by Doug Ford, again. If we were the government today, schools would be the last to close and first to open — the kids deserve nothing less.”