Ontario’s NDP Leader Calls On Ford To Reduce Dangerously Crowded Classrooms

“Capping class sizes would ensure kids are socially distanced. It would lower the risk of exposures and outbreaks. And it would give students more one-on-one attention from teachers and education workers to help them recover from a very difficult year, both academically and emotionally.”

A News Release from Ontario’s NDP Official Opposition Party

Posted September 13th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Ontario NDP Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath

QUEEN’S PARK —Andrea Horwath, Leader of the Official Opposition New Democrats, said the Ford government must urgently reduce class sizes to prevent further school disruptions and closures, amid reports of classrooms in Ontario packed with 30 or 40 kids.

“Parents and kids are desperate for an in-person school year free of disruptions and closures. But parents and education workers are telling me that their classes can be as big as 30 or even 40 kids. Doug Ford is taking a risk our kids can’t afford,” Horwath said. “We’re seeing images of desks just inches apart, and hearing from teachers who are anxious and parents who are really fearful.

“Capping class sizes would ensure kids are socially distanced. It would lower the risk of exposures and outbreaks. And it would give students more one-on-one attention from teachers and education workers to help them recover from a very difficult year, both academically and emotionally.”

Doug Ford is cutting $800 million from education this year, a figure verified by Ford’s own budget and by Ontario’s independent Financial Accountability Officer. That means his back-to-school plan doesn’t include smaller class sizes, extra mental health or educational supports, paid sick days and family care days to ensure people can stay home when they’re sick.

“By refusing to invest in education, Doug Ford is taking a serious gamble with the safety and well-being of our kids and school staff. He’s putting schools, including kids’ activities and extracurriculars, at risk of more disruptions,” said Horwath.

“Families are exhausted, kids are struggling, and teachers and education workers are burnt out. Now more than ever before, people deserve a government that prioritizes education, that listens, and gives kids hope that the disruptions are over.”

Background

Horwath and the NDP have been calling for a Safe September plan that includes:

  • * Smaller class sizes
  • * Improved ventilation with standards
  • * Mental health supports
  • * Paid sick days and family care days for everyone, including parents so they can keep sick kids at home, and all education workers
  • * Mandatory vaccines for teachers and education workers
  • * Adding the COVID-19 vaccine to the existing student immunizations list

Quote

“I am deeply concerned with the crowded classes where students are not able to properly social distance. In a pandemic, all students should be able to go to school confidently with a healthy respect for safety protocols during a pandemic. When they are physically unable to socially distance themselves from each other in tight classrooms, how can they feel safe at school?” – Sandra Huh, a parent advocate with York Communities for Public Education

Video: https://www.dropbox.com/s/kbwo8oqhhs0vo2g/ONDPLivestream_20210913_093106.mp4?dl=0

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“A Politician Thinks Of The Next Election. A Leader Thinks Of The Next Generation.” – Bernie Sanders

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