September 2nd, 2021
September 2nd, 2021
KITCHENER – NDP critic for Colleges and Universities Laura Mae Lindo released the following statement in response to the Ford government’s last minute reopening guidelines for colleges and universities, which was provided less than a week before classes resume:
“At this very moment, parents are dropping their children off to residences and campuses are getting ready to welcome students back. While Doug Ford has been in hiding, colleges and universities have been doing everything in their power to keep communities safe. For Ford to release last-minute guidelines when the sector has been begging for a safety strategy for months is bad enough, issuing a memo that undermines those guidelines is unconscionable.
Students, faculty and staff at Ontario’s colleges and universities should not have to risk contracting COVID-19, or be forced to endure prolonged campus closures, because Ford refuses to listen to experts and invest in safety. I am calling on the Ford government to immediately re-instate physical distancing requirements and provide financial investment in capacity limits.
Further, Ford must work with colleges and universities to provide a range of other safety measures, such as culturally-responsive mental health supports, support for international students, onsite rapid testing, upgraded ventilation systems and any other COVID-19 safety upgrades needed to keep campuses safe during the fourth wave of COVID-19.
I am so grateful to the colleges and universities who have already taken leadership and begun implementing mandatory vaccine policies while the Ford government was twiddling their thumbs.
Without intervention, the Science Advisory panel predicts a massive rise in COVID-19 infections this fall. The science is clearly telling us a vaccine-only strategy is not enough – Ford must invest in a real campus health and safety strategy for Ontario’s colleges and universities now."
On August 31st, the Minister of Colleges and Universities publicly released the Postsecondary Education Health Measures Framework for Fall 2021 suggesting physical distancing and capacity limits will remain on campus. Accompanying the guidelines was a memo outlining the following regulatory changes: Amendments have been made to O.Reg. 364/20: Rules for Areas at Step 3 and at the Roadmap Exit Step, which will, effective September 7th, 2021, remove physical distancing and capacity limit requirements for indoor instructional spaces (e.g., classrooms, labs, etc.) at PSE institutions other than Indigenous Institutes. This applies to indoor instructional spaces only. Step 3 requirements for outdoor instructional spaces remain the same.