Marit Stiles MPP for Davenport

Government of Ontario

Ford's plan to further delay school return, rather than make schools safe, is unacceptable

Published on January 7, 2022

TORONTO — The NDP is horrified that Doug Ford is considering forcing elementary school students to stay home beyond Jan. 17 instead of taking action to make it safe for them to return to school. 

The Toronto Star is reporting that further delays for elementary students are being considered. NDP Education critic Marit Stiles said instead of giving up on kids, Ford should be adding vaccines to the student immunization list, holding in-school vaccine clinics specifically for teachers, education workers and students all over the province, creating smaller class sizes and testing the air quality in every classroom.
“This first week of online learning was awful for so many families. Yet we’ve seen no signs that Ford is taking action to make it safe for kids to get back to school,” said Stiles.

“Schools need an all-out, massive campaign to immunize students, and get teachers and education workers their boosters. We need to finally add vaccines to the student immunization list and set up in-school clinics so everyone child can go get their shot right away. We need to use this delay on in-school learning to build smaller class sizes, improve ventilation, and consult with frontline educators, school boards, unions and families — all of which are feeling more ignored than ever.”
In addition to calling for those things for months, the NDP has also called for vaccinations to be mandatory for all teachers and education workers.
“Planning to keep little kids online longer instead of planning to make it safe for them to return is wrong,” said Stiles.“

Parents, teachers and education workers are doing an incredible job, but since Ford has shut down their schools longer than any other jurisdiction in Canada, kids are struggling with isolation, personality changes, anxiety, depression, eating disorders or other challenges to their wellbeing. Families deserve better — schools should be a priority.”