August 19th, 2020

Ford’s risky back-to-school scheme leaves parents feeling anxious and afraid for September

SCARBOROUGH – Official Opposition NDP Leader Andrea Horwath stood alongside anxious parents Wednesday at Birch Cliff Public School in Scarborough who are desperately worried about Doug Ford’s dangerous back-to-school scheme that puts the health of their children at risk and fails to offer any child care support if the start of the school year is delayed.

“For months now, parents have been have been doing the superhuman juggling act of looking after their little ones helping school-age kids with remote learning and working from home.”

“We all want kids back in school five days a week, and we want it done safely,” said Horwath.

“Instead Doug Ford is cutting corners provincewide with a bargain-basement scheme, putting the start of school in jeopardy. Ford isn’t supporting school boards as they wrestle with critical health and safety questions– and the window to get children back to school on time and safely is closing rapidly.”

Horwath was joined by MPP Doly Begum (Scarborough Southwest), the NDP’s early learning and child care critic, and two local parents who fear for the safety of their children that are already packed into overcrowded classrooms.

“Far too many schools are in desperate need of repair, at a time when run-down ventilation systems just won’t do. Here at Birch Cliff public school, decades of Liberal and Conservative neglect of repairs means that for every dollar the school is worth, it needs 90 cents in total repairs.”

Horwath says if Doug Ford and his education minister don’t get this right soon, parents are going to need child care options or extra supports to stay home.

“If I were premier right now, I’d be funding smaller, safer classes by hiring more education workers, working around the clock to fix schools and line up temporary classroom spaces, and working with school boards so they have well-resourced plans for kids to physically distance at all times,” said Horwath.

“I wouldn’t just cross my fingers and hope our kids will be safe. I would step up and take action to make sure they are safe.”