August 6th, 2020

Horwath calls for back-to-school plan to be scrapped, replaced with smaller, safer classes

BINBROOK — Standing outside an elementary school slated to hold more than 1,000 students in September, Official Opposition NDP Leader Andrea Horwath called for Doug Ford’s back-to-school scheme to be scrapped, and replaced with a plan for smaller, safer classes.

“It’s clear from Doug Ford’s back-to-school scheme that he is trying to pinch pennies on the backs of our children again,” said Horwath. “Before the pandemic we heard how large and growing class sizes were crowding classrooms. Now, Mr. Ford’s dangerous scheme sends students and staff right back into these over-crowded classrooms, where they can’t possibly practice physical distancing.”

Horwath was joined outside Bellmoore Elementary School in Binbrook — where 19 portables are already tacked on to the overflowing school — by Stacey Davis, who, like so many parents, wants to see her children back in school five days a week in September, but in smaller, safer classes.

“Time is running out, but it’s not too late,” said Horwath. “If I were premier right now, I would be capping class sizes for all students, and hustling to get temporary classroom spaces, teachers and education workers lined up for all those classes. I’d be making sure every classroom has proper ventilation – which means doing the repairs that governments have ignored for years. And I’d be welcoming all students back to school five days a week – but in smaller, safer classes.

“It’s an investment in the health and safety of children. It’s an investment in parents getting back to work. And it’s an investment in getting our economy moving again.”


Stacey Davis, Parent and Educator
“The government’s back-to-school plan is not well thought-out. Leaving full class sizes during the pandemic seems more like an experiment into the transmission of COVID-19 between children and adults. My son and daughter will both be in classes where proper social distancing will not occur due to crowded classrooms. My daughter will have to wear a mask in Grade 4 with well over 20 students in her class. My son and his classmates in his Grade 3 cohort have the option to wear one with the same social distancing issue. My kids will not be guinea pigs in this experiment and we will not settle for full class sizes.”

Daryl Jerome, President of Teachers’ Bargaining Unit of OSSTF District 21
“The proposed funding from this government is inadequate to protect students, staff and communities properly. I have received numerous emails from members, many of whom are either immune compromised or have a dependent who is, expressing their terror of returning with a poor excuse for a plan to poorly ventilated and crowded buildings. The Ford government knew full-well we were not going back before the summer and they sat on their hands without creating an actual plan for the Fall. Education workers, students, and families deserve a safe return in September and instead what we are facing is uncertainty, anxiety, and fear due to a half-baked and underfunded plan.”


  • 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 for half of their education, doing “independent work.”
  • 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.