April 7th, 2021

Horwath urges Ford to use April break to make London schools safer

LONDON — Official Opposition NDP Leader Andrea Horwath is urging Doug Ford to cap class sizes and take other immediate actions to make London schools safe for students to return to in-school learning after spring break.

On Tuesday, Horwath called for all teachers and education workers to be offered a vaccine immediately, and reiterated her plea for class sizes to be capped at 15. Those calls come as more than a dozen London-area schools have reported COVID-19 cases in the last two weeks.

“London parents shouldn’t have to worry about whether it’s safe to send their kids back into classrooms after a much-needed break,” said Horwath. “But anyone would be anxious watching the COVID-19 case counts in local schools, and knowing how crowded classrooms are.

“No one wants to see schools shut down again. But I’m worried Doug Ford could be marching schools all over the province towards another shutdown if he doesn’t take strong actions to make them safer. Mr. Ford has chosen not to invest in our schools and children — and that’s got to change.”

Schools in the Peel and Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph and Toronto regions were shuttered this week among rising case counts in classes, and in the surrounding communities.

Horwath and her NDP have been pushing for positive solutions to help schools open safely, and stay open, including the class cap of 15, rolling out comprehensive in-school testing, and installing safety upgrades like touch-free faucets and better ventilation.

“The best place for children is in the classroom,” said Horwath. “But it’s not the government’s job just to decide if it is safe – it’s the government’s job to make it safe, so students and staff have safe schools to come back to.”




Ryan Taylor, father of two school-aged children with special needs - autism/intellectual disability
“Parenting a child with special needs is vastly different than educating a child with special needs. My son and daughter can only get the professional support and programming they need from a safe in-person learning environment - virtual learning does not work for them. It takes a team of dedicated professionals (e.g., teachers, E.A.’s, support staff) to educate my two children. Please vaccinate our amazing education workers now and keep them all safe!”

Scott Hardie, Vice President, ETFO Thames Valley Teacher Local
“All of our students’ successes this year are the result of the hard working and dedicated teachers of Ontario. There is only so much our teachers can do without provincial governmental supports. Classrooms are presently overcrowded and the empty promises of enhanced safety protocols have not come to fruition. The Ford government has failed in making our schools safe learning environments.”