April 12th, 2021

Ford walked Ontario into another school shutdown by refusing to spend on safety

NDP calls for investments to finally make this schools shutdown the last

QUEEN’S PARK — Doug Ford marched Ontario straight into yet another all-schools shutdown by refusing to spend the money needed to make schools safe, said Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath.

“Doug Ford marched us right into this all-schools shutdown by refusing to listen to experts, and refusing to invest to make schools safe. It should never have come to this. This time, he needs to spend the money to make all schools safe to return to — the health of students, teachers and education workers is worth it,” said Horwath.

“This cycle of shutdowns is awful for families and school staff. I’m worried for the students having their education disrupted again right as exams approach, and I really feel for parents, families and teachers now scrambling for child care and deeply worried about managing at-home learning again.”

The safety measures the NDP has been calling for include urgent vaccines for school staff, a class size cap of 15, a robust on-site testing program, a school bus cap at 50 per cent, upgrades to ventilation, and safety features like touchless faucets.

All Thunder Bay schools, Toronto schools, Guelph-area schools and Peel schools are already closed because of the rising number of people getting sick with COVID-19. In just the last 14 days, 12,280 school-based cases were found, and more than one in every four schools in Ontario have COVID infections right now.

“Time and time again, Minster Stephen Lecce has ignored pleas for help in schools by claiming that schools are already safe enough,” said Horwath. “Hiding safety concerns behind Ford government spin is a shameful way to avoid action.”