QUEEN’S PARK — NDP Education critic Marit Stiles issued the following statement in response to news that schools will return to in-class learning on Feb. 8 outside of Toronto, Peel and York and Feb. 16, 2021 for those remaining three boards:
“The NDP wants to see all children safely back in school, full-time.
But today, Education Minister Stephen Lecce didn’t explain how the government made its decisions about reopening schools, and he sure didn’t announce the kind of safety measures parents, staff, experts and the NDP have all been calling for.
Don’t just open schools — make them safe to open. Especially with the more contagious variants now spreading in our communities, the NDP is calling for a class cap of 15 students, a comprehensive in-school testing program with clear targets and funding, improved ventilation, and paid sick and family-care days so that all parents can afford to keep potentially-sick little ones at home.
Doug Ford was cutting education before the pandemic, and it looks like he still doesn’t want to invest in our kids. He’s divided up and re-announced some federal funding, and now he’s just crossing his fingers and hoping for the best.
In December, the government shut down schools saying that one in every five kids under 13 was testing positive. Almost 7,400 students and staff have already gotten sick. Sending students and staff right back to schools without substantial new protections could doom us to repeat the pattern of more spread, more illness and more missed school days.”