January 20th, 2021

NDP calls for action to make schools safe to reopen

QUEEN’S PARK — Thousands of families and educators are slated to learn today when or if schools will reopen — yet before making this decision, the government hasn’t taken a single action to make schools safer, said NDP Education critic Marit Stiles.

“It’s not enough to just reopen schools. We can’t repeat the mistakes of the last few months. Don’t just reopen schools, make them safe to open,” said Stiles. “If the NDP were in government today, we’d put a big and broad in-school COVID-19 testing program in place before students and staff return. We’d cap class sizes at 15. We’d be working in schools now to improve ventilation. And we’d give parents paid family-care days to stay home with kids that are sick, so they don’t unintentionally send a child with the virus to school because they can’t afford to stay home with them.”

Stiles added that more supports for at-home learning need to be put in place for educators and families that continue to do that, from tech support to paid leave for parents who have to miss shifts to support little ones with online classes.

Schools in the North and special needs classes across the province already returned to in-class learning without additional protections, and more cases of the virus have been found in those classrooms. The most impacted regions, including Toronto, Peel, York, and Windsor-Essex, are slated to return to school Feb. 11, and also need additional safety measures.