September 17th, 2020

Ford Conservatives unanimously vote no to Horwath motion to cap classes at 15

Ford restricts gatherings while allowing huge class sizes

QUEEN’S PARK — Amid rising COVID-19 numbers and 62 schools with cases of the virus, the NDP MPPs have voted in favour of capping class sizes at 15, and Ford’s Conservatives blocked that from happening by voting no on a motion by NDP Leader Andrea Horwath.

“Doug Ford announced today that it’s no longer safe to have more than 10 people gather indoors, yet he’s still forcing classrooms to be jammed full, with 25 or 30 kids, and school busses to be packed with up to 70 kids,” said Horwath. “Parents, education workers, teachers and students themselves are filled with anxiety. They’re wondering if their school is next. They’re wondering if their family is next.”

A flood of experts have recommended small class sizes and physical distancing at school, including a report by SickKids which calls for classes to be capped at no more than 15 students. Ontario’s classes, however, are exceptionally large, especially since Doug Ford spent a year cutting teaching and education worker positions and hiking class sizes before the pandemic struck.

“This is about protecting our children, and protecting their families,” said Horwath. “And this is about protecting our progress in the fight against COVID-19 – stopping the backslide we’re seeing now, with hundreds of new infections per day.

“If I were premier today, there would be no priority more important than investing in the health and safety of children.”

Horwath vowed to keep fighting for smaller, safer classes.