For months, New Democrats have been calling on Doug Ford to work with parents, teachers and education workers and school boards to deliver a funded plan for a safe return to classes.
What we got instead was a low-budget scheme that stacks kids in overcrowded classrooms, while forcing many high school students to do half their education alone at home with little to no help.
With just $309 million in new funding announced for all of Ontario’s 72 school boards to prepare and adapt to learning during COVID-19, school boards are scrambling to meet the government’s ever-changing guidelines. And we have just weeks to go until school starts again.
But it’s not too late to get this right.
We are calling on the government to immediately implement an action plan to safely reopen schools, one that includes:
- Smaller, safer class sizes -- which means the government needs to hire thousands of teachers and education workers, and line up extra classroom space
- Additional teachers and education workers to support learning at home for high school students now slated to take 50 per cent of their courses online, alone at home
- A guarantee that parents will continue to be able to access job-protected leave and benefits until school and child care fully resumes
- Immediate funding to stabilize the child care sector to prevent fee increases and layoffs.
- Immediate funding for urgent school repairs and upgrades, including infection control (eg: touch-free sinks and soap dispensers, better ventilation)
- Funding for more school busses to allow for physical distancing
- Additional support for students with special needs or who are struggling online
- Action to address of the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on Black, Indigenous and racialized students and families
- The striking of a COVID-19 recovery school advisory group that includes frontline education workers, parents and students, school boards and parents
- Consultation with municipalities to find ways to use available public infrastructure so that school and child care centres can resume in-person for as many children as possible in a safe and healthy way
- A guarantee that no essential workers currently receiving emergency child care will lose child care provision when the emergency child care program ends
Please fill out the form below to send a message to the Minister of Education, Premier Doug Ford, and your local MPP to a fully funded and safe return to school in September.
Together with you, we’ll keep pushing Doug Ford to get to work getting thousands of teachers, education workers, custodians and classroom spaces lined up so that all students can join smaller, safer classrooms in September.