July 9th, 2020

NDP calls for more teachers, education workers and classrooms so all students can go back full time in the fall

Government’s hybrid model shaping up to be a disaster

QUEEN’S PARK — The NDP is calling on the Ford government to prioritize childcare and schools in their economic recovery plans, lining up more teachers, more education workers and more classroom spaces so all students can go back to school full-time as soon as possible in September.

“The health and safety of students and staff is the top priority, and no one should be back in school until we can be sure we’re not putting kids and staff at risk,” said NDP Leader Andrea Horwath. “But going back to school with the government’s disastrous hybrid model will only make learning, teaching, and parents’ return-to-work plans a nightmare.

“Instead of putting all the responsibility on parents to stay home with kids indefinitely, this government needs to get more teachers, more education workers, and more classroom spaces lined up and ready to go, so that if we continue to see infection rates drop over the summer, we can get all kids back in school full-time in September.”

NDP Education critic Marit Stiles says parents are anxious about the nightmarish model laid out by the government in a memo this week, obtained by the Globe and Mail. It directs boards to create a model in which students go to school two days one week and three days the next, and spend the rest of the time learning from home.

“It looks like the government is bending over backwards to prevent having to hire more teachers, more custodians and unlock more classroom space. And parents and kids are going to pay the price for that,” said Stiles.

“Most parents – especially moms – won’t be able to go back to work under this convoluted model. And this government seriously can’t expect teachers to teach in the classroom at the same time as trying to teach the half of the class that’s at home.”

Prior to the pandemic, the Doug Ford government was pursuing bigger class sizes by raising the average number of students per class, and lifting the caps so classes could balloon to huge numbers. Ford planned to cut thousands of teachers and education worker positions over the course of four years.