TORONTO — Doug Ford is repeating the same mistakes as last year with his back to school plan. And instead of offering concrete guidance, he’s once again forcing the onus on school boards.
“Families, teachers and education staff have been waiting patiently for a plan that makes children’s health a priority,” said GPO Deputy Leader Abhijeet Manay. “But Ford’s plan fails to acknowledge the unique situation unvaccinated children are in due to the Delta variant.
“Instead their plan has no asymptomatic testing, a failure to lower class sizes, little improvement on ventilation, and essentially nothing on outbreak management.
“We fear this approach will result in more school closures down the line. And that’s not ok. Doug Ford is setting us up for failure. Our kids deserve better.”
Students in Ontario have spent more time learning online than anywhere across Canada. And it’s having a severe impact on their mental health.
“Ontario Greens wrote to Doug Ford with clear recommendations to support kids’ mental health and well-being as they return to school, and he ignored them all,” said Cody Zulinski, teacher and GPO candidate for Carleton.
“School acts as a second home to a lot of students. This was a missed opportunity to finally make student mental health a priority across Ontario.”
Ford’s plan also has no clear threshold for what circumstances would necessitate a school or classroom to close, nor any clarity for what vaccination rates are needed for further reopening. Ignoring experts’ warning for a fourth wave is not a smart plan.
Last week, GPO Leader Mike Schreiner penned an open letter to Premier Ford detailing the Ontario Greens Safe Schools Plan. You can find the full letter here.