QUEEN’S PARK — Thousands of students are fleeing in-class learning and opting for online classes — proof that families have lost confidence in the safety of our schools under Doug Ford’s penny-pinching back-to-school scheme, NDP Education critic Marit Stiles said Thursday.
Stiles and the NDP are calling for a funding bump for schools to make them safer.
A thousand more students at the Thames Valley School Board (TVSB) have requested a switch from in-person to online learning due to a surge of COVID-19 cases. In other school boards, virtual schools have been discontinued, or closed to new registration, due to tens of thousands of students switching away from in-person learning.
As of Thursday, 2,098 students, teachers and education workers have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
“Kids, parents, teachers and education workers simply don’t feel safe under the conditions this province has set for them," said Stiles.
“As cases rise and the situation in schools becomes untenable, the Minister of Education appears to be running a victory lap on his failed back-to-school plan. School boards need more funding to hire more teachers and education workers and open more classrooms. Without it, school communities will continue to suffer.”
"As the TVSB’s director of education told the London Free Press, the board is only funded to run a single delivery model, and a move to accommodate a large volume of online learners will be 'incredibly challenging,' with 'no budget area [left] untouched.'”