QUEEN’S PARK — Andrea Horwath’s NDP is calling for March Break to go ahead as planned, saying it’s critical that Ontario finds a way to give families and educators a safe break.
“Students, parents, teachers and education workers are exhausted, they’re burning out, and they desperately need a break,” said Horwath. “At school it’s constant vigilance and lots of anxiety. At home it’s hours upon hours of screen time. Parents are doing the superhuman juggling act of working while helping kids learn.
"We have to find a way to give everyone a Spring Break that’s safe. This isn’t only about learning goals – it’s about mental and emotional health, too.”
Horwath said action and investments in safe schools are necessary to make March Break — and the return to school after a week off — much safer, including:
- A comprehensive in-school COVID-19 testing program
- Class sizes capped at 15
- Paid sick days and family-care days so parents can afford to keep children at home if they may have the virus
- Better ventilation and investments in things like touch-free faucets
NDP Education critic Marit Stiles urged Doug Ford not to repeat his mistakes around holidays.
“Doug Ford owes families and educators certainty, clear messaging, and action,” said Stiles. “Before last Spring Break he told people to travel – and the virus ran rampant in Ontario as a result. This winter he delayed the lockdown until after holiday shopping and sent mixed messages around holiday gatherings — and, again, the virus ran rampant in Ontario as a result.
“This time, educators and families are looking for certainty that this break is going ahead, as well as clear messages, and investments in schools to stop the spread. Don’t make the same mistakes again, Mr. Ford.”