August 11th, 2020

Ford’s crowded class scheme leaves some families without options

Horwath in Kingston to call for smaller, safer classes

KINGSTON — Many parents can’t risk sending their children back into crowded classrooms, while others simply can’t take the time off work to stay home with their kids. As the back-to-school countdown ticks down, Official Opposition NDP Leader Andrea Horwath is urging Doug Ford to bring in smaller, safer classes for the fall, before parents are forced to make this impossible choice.

“For countless parents, taking months more off work to stay home with the kids just isn’t possible,” said Horwath. “And for many, putting your child into a crowded classroom just isn’t on the table.

“In Kingston, like in communities all over Ontario, many parents are being forced to make this impossible choice this week.”

While Ford continues to defend his risky back-to-school plan, parents and educators continue to speak out about their fears for the fall. Horwath was in Kingston Tuesday, at Saint Martha Catholic School, where she was joined by Steve Garrison. Garrison is worried about inadequate physical distancing in classrooms, and says that the government needs to get this right the first time.

“The days are running out, but it’s not too late for Mr. Ford to do the right thing and start listening to parents and educators like Steve,” said Horwath. “We need smaller, safer class sizes, not a scheme that pinches pennies on the backs of our kids.

“If I were premier, I would be staffing up our schools, preparing temporary classroom spaces, and ensuring every classroom has good ventilation. And I would be working overtime to make sure Kingston’s new high school is ready to open, so that students from KCVI and Queen Elizabeth Collegiate have a school to go to.”


Steve Garrison, Parent and Elementary Teacher
“As a teacher and a parent, I feel that the government’s plan is inadequate and unsafe. Resources need to be allocated to create smaller class sizes to allow for appropriate physical distancing. The safety standards in schools should be at least the same as the safety standards in every other public indoor space in Ontario. The government must get this right the first time — there is too much at stake.”


  • The Ford government is in the process of cutting thousands of teacher and education worker positions, and hiking class sizes over the course of several years.
  • The Ford government’s back-to-school plan sends all elementary and many high school students back into full-sized classes. High school students in designated boards will be at home on their own 50 per cent of the time, doing “independent work.” Kingston’s school boards are not designated – so high school students will return to crowded classrooms.
  • The Ford government's total funding for additional staff during the pandemic recovery period is just $16,000 per school, an amount that doesn't even cover a single part-time staff member.
  • The backlog of necessary, but ignored school repairs reached $15.9 billion under the previous Liberal government, and have jumped to $16.3 billion under the Doug Ford government.