January 7th, 2021

NDP: don’t just close schools – make them safe to re-open

QUEEN’S PARK — The NDP responded to Thursday’s announcement that schools cannot open Monday, as planned, because they’re not safe enough for students with the following statement from Education critic Marit Stiles:

“Doug Ford had a chance to make schools safe to reopen in the coming days, but he chose not to invest in our children, or the safety of teachers and education workers.

We are calling on Ford to take active steps to make schools safe so students and staff can return soon. If the Ontario NDP were the government today, we would implement a broad in-school asymptomatic testing program, cap class sizes at 15, and ensure kids return to schools with properly ventilated spaces where they can always physically distance. We’d also speed up the lethargic vaccination program and get teachers and education workers their shots sooner.

During this ongoing school closure, it’s critical that parents receive the financial support they need to stay home. A family care days program could ensure parents with children learning at home don’t miss a paycheque.

If Doug Ford continues to refuse to spend the money to implement direct supports for parents that have to miss work, more families will experience financial stress and desperation, missed rent and mortgage payments, and more children will go to bed hungry."