QUEEN’S PARK — With COVID-19 infections increasing in Ontario just as kids are heading back to school, Official Opposition NDP Leader Andrea Horwath will force a vote Thursday afternoon in the legislature on a motion to cap all class sizes at no more than 15.
“Parents are growing increasingly worried about their little ones’ safety,” said Horwath. “COVID-19 cases keep going up, and more new infections are being reported every day among the students and staff who are back in school, with one school already being forced to shut down because of COVID-19 cases.
“Doug Ford is penny-pinching on the backs of students, jamming kids into full-size classes to avoid having to hire more teachers and education workers. Parents, kids, teachers, education workers, school boards and public health experts recommend smaller class sizes. Today, with the province on the brink of a second wave, I’m calling on the legislature to change course, and finally cap all class sizes at 15.”
Horwath’s motion comes following a SickKids report that finds that there isn’t enough space for more than 12 to 15 students to maintain physical distance of two metres in a typical classroom.
“If I were premier, I would be hiring thousands more teachers and education workers and lining up temporary spaces for classrooms. I’d be hiring bus drivers and capping bus capacity at 50 per cent. I’d have spent the last six months preparing schools – from installing touchless faucets to improving ventilation in every room.
“Time is up. A new wave of infections is here, and students are back in schools. Let’s pass this motion today, and get our kids into smaller, safer capped classes as quickly as possible.
A vote on Horwath’s motion will take place at approximately 3:45 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 17.