QUEEN’S PARK — Official Opposition NDP Leader Andrea Horwath is calling for teachers, education workers and child care workers to get their vaccines now — a critical step if Ontario hopes to keep child care centres open, and to re-open schools safely.
Horwath’s call comes after Doug Ford ordered schools closed indefinitely, and families and early childhood educators express fears that child care could be shut down next.
“Child care workers are frontline heroes. They have been looking after little ones — especially the children of essential workers — during the shutdown of schools, and they are worried about their safety as the third wave worsens. And we know teachers and education workers are anxious to get their vaccines before returning to classrooms,” said Horwath. “Meanwhile, students and parents are bracing for another round of school closures with no end in sight. An action plan would give everyone hope for a safe return to daily life.”
Horwath is calling on Ford to salvage the last few months of school by vaccinating teachers, education and child care workers right away and immediately implementing safety measures like a class-size cap and broad asymptomatic on-site school testing.
“Doug Ford marched us right back into another classroom shutdown because he didn’t want to spend the money on education,” said Horwath. “I believe our children’s safety is worth the investment. If I were premier, I’d be vaccinating teachers, education and child care workers now, and I’d be making urgent investments in a safe return to schools.”
Despite several regions shutting down all schools prior to this week, there were 12,280 school-based COVID-19 infections in the last 14 days, plus 913 cases in child care centres.