Ford Government’s Back-to-school Plan Late, Haphazard, and Incomplete
“The Ford government has had more than 18 months to develop and implement a real plan to address COVID-19 in our schools and communities and to make the investments necessary for a safe and sustainable learning environment.
With less than five weeks until most students are back in the classroom, what Premier Doug Ford and Education Minister Stephen Lecce have put forward is late, haphazard, and incomplete, relying once more on this government’s failed wait-and-see approach.
At more than 26 weeks, Ontario’s students suffered the longest disruption to in-person learning in Canada this past school year. With the pandemic far from over and a potential fourth wave on the horizon driven by variants, Ontario needs a real, properly funded plan for a safe and sustainable school year.
Catholic teachers call on Premier Ford and Minister Lecce to stop underfunding education, and invest what is needed to implement the health and safety measures called for by education and public health experts to make our schools safe, including smaller class sizes for proper physical distancing, improved ventilation, robust tracing and testing, an end to the failed hybrid model, masking for all staff and students, and investments to address learning loss and mental health issues among students.
This government must also improve vaccination education, outreach, and accessibility, as well as convene an advisory table of education and public health experts and engage in meaningful consultation.
Throughout this pandemic, Premier Ford and Minister Lecce have repeatedly refused to do the right thing, jeopardizing the health and safety of students, teachers, and education workers, while perpetuating the disruptions that have led to extraordinary learning loss and deteriorating mental health.
It is imperative that this government revisit its plan and make the investments necessary to ensure safety in our schools, so that students can enjoy the benefits of in-person learning without the confusion and chaos of the past school year.”
- Barb Dobrowolski, President of the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association