September 8th, 2021

Horwath says Ontario can and must still make September safe

TORONTO — As kids in Ontario return to the classroom for the first day back to school this week, Official Opposition NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said it’s still possible for Ontario to have the safe September that everyone deserves. But Doug Ford and his government will have to come out of hiding and make different decisions for it to happen.

“Ontario families are looking for hope right now that the disruptions in education are over,” said Horwath. “They’re worn out from the anxiety and stress of worrying that schools won’t be safe enough, and that kids won’t get the stability of uninterrupted in-class learning or extra support from caring adults.”

New Democrats have been championing a Safe September plan that would make class sizes smaller, improve ventilation to minimum standards, roll out comprehensive rapid testing to schools province wide, and much more. Horwath held a press conference in Toronto Wednesday with local parents, as well as Toronto-St. Paul’s NDP MPP Jill Andrew and NDP Education critic Marit Stiles, to again urge government action.

“We never should have gotten to the first day of school without a robust Safe September plan,” said Horwath. “That’s on Doug Ford. He made the big cuts and bad choices that led us here. Mr. Ford choose to cut $800 million from education this year. Mr. Ford chose not to make class sizes smaller. And Mr. Ford choose to take his government into hiding in the middle of the fourth wave.

“Ontario can still have a safe September. The government just needs to make better choices. Let’s make kids safe in school — by preventing outbreaks and exposures — so they can stay in school.”


Horwath’s Safe September plan includes:

  • Smaller class sizes
  • Improved ventilation with standards
  • Mental health supports
  • Paid sick days and family care days for everyone
  • A comprehensive, rapid testing program for all Ontario schools
  • A proactive strategy to reach out to families about vaccines, and a ready plan to get the vaccine into schools for children under 12 as soon as Health Canada approves. Horwath is also calling for all teachers and education workers to be vaccinated, and for the COVID-19 vaccine to be added to the existing vaccines list for students.