September 14th, 2020
September 14th, 2020
QUEEN’S PARK — Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath is calling for Doug Ford to cap school busses at 50 per cent capacity, better protecting students and drivers and preventing the spread of COVID-19.
“Doug Ford’s bargain-basement scheme for education includes him putting as many as 70 students on a bus together, packed in like sardines,” said Horwath. “How can they physically distance when they’re shoulder-to-shoulder, three to a seat? How can a bus driver make sure they’re keeping their masks on when she’s got her eyes focused on the road?
“If I were premier today, I’d be putting the funding and directive in place for a 50 per cent cap on bus capacity, which means hiring bus drivers, and welcoming back those who walked away by giving them the safe conditions they deserve,” said Horwath.
There have been bus routes being cancelled throughout the province because of a shortage of drivers, caused by workers feeling unsafe.
“Let’s not just cross our fingers and hope our kids will be safe,” said Horwath. “Let’s take action to make sure they are safe. That means smaller, safer classrooms, smaller bus cohorts, schools with better ventilation and modern facilities like touchless faucets, and it means hiring the teachers, bus drivers, custodians, education assistants and other education workers to make it all happen.
“It’s late in the game, since many students are already back in class with more returning every day. But it’s never too late to step up and solve a problem before it becomes a crisis.”
Marit Stiles (Davenport), NDP Education critic
“Doug Ford and his education minister are leaving families across the province in the lurch by refusing to cap school bus capacity. Some parents will have no choice but to send their little ones onto crowded school buses, while others will be left scrambling to make other arrangements to get their kids to school as bus routes in their communities are canceled. If we are going to salvage a safe September, we can’t afford any more stalling from Mr. Ford and Mr. Lecce – it’s long past time that they answered calls for smaller, safer bus cohorts and smaller, safer classes.”
Debbie Montgomery, President of Unifor 4268
“Action is urgently needed to protect students and school bus drivers across the province. Right now regulations shift from school board to school board. It’s key that all stakeholders come together to develop standardized health and safety pandemic protocols on passenger limits, social distancing, mask requirements, bus sanitization procedures, and personal protective equipment use.”