“Our Association has been trying for over a year now to engage this government on how our schools can operate safely and effectively during this pandemic. However, we have been rebuffed at every turn and vilified for our attempts to advocate for a safe and sustainable school environment for everyone.
Catholic teachers have said all along that we want schools to be open, so that students can enjoy the benefits and superior learning experience that in-person learning brings. However, as we learned from the Ford government’s mismanagement of previous waves of COVID-19, without the necessary measures in place to protect everyone’s health and safety schools can quickly become a significant driver of COVID-19 transmission. The situation Ontario currently finds itself in rests on the shoulders of the Premier and his refusal to do what is needed to ensure that schools can open safely and not contribute to the spread of COVID-19. To make in-person learning safe and sustainable, the Ford government must immediately reverse their short-sighted cuts and invest in smaller class sizes to allow for proper physical distancing, improved ventilation, and robust tracing and testing protocols. They also must ensure that teachers and education workers who need it have access to the vaccine before returning to the classroom.
We once again encourage the Premier to dispense with the political games and misleading statements, which are an obvious and cheap attempt to distract from his government’s failure of leadership. Now more than ever, Ontarians need a government that shows up, and steps up.”
Liz Stuart, President of the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association