The Ford government signalled to parents, education workers, and students that the worst of the second wave was over when it moved to resume in-person learning for most areas of the province on February 8th and for the entire province on February 16th. Yet, they announced no new health and safety measures to avoid another shutdown.
In the middle of this school reopening, Minister Lecce announced that the province would be postponing the March Break to mid-April, in order to, in his words, “keep students safe and limit community spread of COVID-19.”
So, what did the Ford government do to limit community spread the very same day all schools in Ontario reopened in mid-February? They lifted the Stay-at-Home order in virtually every region and moved them into a reopening framework.
All along, COVID-19 Variants of Concern (VOCs) were making their way across Ontario. They have accelerated spread of infections in communities and in turn, in schools.
Now, Ontario is facing its third Stay-at-Home order of the pandemic, which has forced the Ford government to move all schools to remote learning because of the increasingly dire situation.
Kids belong in schools, but only if their schools and their communities are safe.
In addition to the recommendations OSSTF has been demanding for over a year such as improved ventilation in school buildings, enhanced personal protective equipment for staff, reduced class sizes, and more supports for students, there are two immediate actions the Ford government must take if it is serious about stepping up for our kids.