Peter Tabuns MPP, Toronto-Danforth

Government of Ontario

Lack of new protections in schools a recipe for more illness, spread and missed school days

Published on February 1, 2021

HAMILTON AND TORONTO – NDP Leader Andrea Horwath and Education critic Marit Stiles said it’s disturbing that the Ford government is still refusing to implement missing measures to make schools safe, despite more infectious variants spreading.
The Ford government’s choices so far led to one in every five children under the age of 13 testing positive for the virus, and schools closing province-wide this winter.
“We all want kids safely back in school as quickly as possible. But especially with the new, more infectious variants in our communities, I’m worried that history will repeat itself, students and staff will get sick, and more school closures will follow,” said Horwath. “We need a provincially-led, broad and comprehensive in-school testing plan. We need classes no bigger than 15 students. We need paid sick days and family leave days so parents can afford to keep kids at home if they’re sick or were potentially exposed.”
Stiles said Ford not only has access to scores of expert advice recommending those things – he also has the money to do it.
“Ontario has received hundreds of millions of dollars from the federal government, but Ford is choosing not to spend it on those new measures,” said Stiles. “Ford was cutting education and firing thousands of teachers and educators before the pandemic, and he’s resistant to spending in our kids’ schools now.
“Teachers, education workers, students and parents are doing their absolute best to make this incredibly challenging school year work. It’s frustrating and scary for them to watch Stephen Lecce and Doug Ford get in front of cameras again and again, and announce tweaks or half-measures instead of the comprehensive actions we know would protect students and staff.”