I have written to Ontario Ombudsman Paul Dubé to assess the safety of the province’s back-to-school plan.
“We have all heard the anxiety, fear and frustration that parents, education workers, teachers and kids have about the back-to-school scheme as is stands today,” said NDP Education critic Marit Stiles. “Time is running out. In just a couple weeks, the government plans to have more than 30 kids jammed into many classes. School busses could be filled with more than 70 kids and no physical distancing. It’s not clear in most schools how many additional custodians, if any, have been hired to enhance cleaning and sanitizing, and how many classrooms lack proper ventilation.
“We’re asking for an urgent and independent review of Ontario’s back-to-school plans to ensure that the province is doing its best to implement the measures necessary to meet the highest standards recommended by medical, scientific and education experts.”
Examining practices within the education system is within the purview of the Ombudsman. The province formerly had a Children’s Advocate, responsible for advocating for and supporting children and working to proactively prevent concerns from becoming crises. But Doug Ford eliminated that entire office, collapsing some of their responsibilities into the Ombudsman’s office.