Demand Ontario MPPs Ensure a Safe September

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Friends of Silver Creek are advocating for the safe return of students and education staff to school this September. The current plan and funding is insufficient and poses a serious risk to children, staff and their families.

This August, Doug Ford and the Ontario government provided conflicting statements about school resuming in September during the COVID-19 global pandemic.

On August 4th when asked about the gov't plan to reopen schools Doug Ford said "It's not our plan" and stated it is the plan of medical experts.

On August 8th Doug Ford called the provincial school plan for Ontario’s 2 million students the “best plan, bar none, across the country,” saying it was developed in consultation with “the best medical minds” in Canada.

Currently the Ontario Government recommends to keep 2 metres apart, limit social bubbles to no more than 10 and advise for people not to gather in poorly ventilated areas.

Then how does this current plan for back-to-school make sense when students and education staff are being forced into a situation that contradicts what Doug Ford and the provincial government are currently recommending for Ontarians?

There is no adequate funding or plan for a safe September protecting children, education staff and their families.

The report that was provided by Sick Kids does not align with the provisions set up by the provincial government and Sick Kids President Ronald Cohn will not back a back-to-school plan that does not ensure proper physical distancing between students. If “physical distancing will be compromised by the number of children ... we cannot and will not will not support this.” https://bit.ly/2DBhqRs

Toronto Public Health also criticizes the Ontario government’s back-to-school plan.

"The number of students in the classroom should be smaller than usual class sizes.  "While some distance may be beneficial over no distance (eg. one metre compared to no distance), keeping two metres apart as much as possible is still strongly recommended by public health," Vinita Dubey, the health agency's associate medical officer of health writes.

Doug Ford and the Ontario Government needs to provide additional funding and provisions in order to:

- supply sufficient PPE for all students and education staff
- ensure smaller classes of a max of 15 students at every level
- ensure more space
- ensure repairs & modifications to schools including repairs to ventilation systems
- ensure children with special needs, mental health challenges and autism have the additional staffing and resources required to keep them safe

Vinita Dubey, the Toronto Health Agency’s Associate Medical Officer of Health urges school officials to keep two metres between students to prevent the spread of respiratory droplets, which could transmit the novel coronavirus.

“Without that space, there are several risks:
If a student gets COVID-19, the risk of them spreading it to others goes up — especially in JK to Grade 3, where masks aren't required.
There could be "pinch points" where students crowd together, for example lining up to go outside.
The teacher may not have enough control over a larger class to ensure students are maintaining distance.” https://bit.ly/3knaqrQ

The Ontario Government needs to make the safety of children, educators and their families a top priority in addition to mitigating any possible factors leading to a second COVID-19 outbreak.

Instead Doug Ford has prioritized the following:

- In May 2020, Doug Ford loaned $500 million to the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation to deal with impacts of COVID https://bit.ly/30FnUYg

- The cancellation of the cap-and-trade system will cost $3 billion in lost revenue over the next four fiscal years, Ontario's fiscal watchdog said, warning the decision would push the provincial budget further into the red.   https://bit.ly/33KwWFo

- The breach of the Beer Store contract means the Ontario government could face more than $100 million in legal fines, likely paid for by taxpayers. https://bit.ly/2DrXvED 

The total investment for Ontario Education by Doug Ford and the Ontario Government to manage with COVID is only $309M.

Medical Experts, Ontario School Board and Parents have repeatedly told Premier Doug Ford and Minister of Education, Stephen Lecce that this plan is not enough!

COVID-19 has been made into a partisan issue but it’s not.  And it’s not something confined to our neighbourhood, city or even province. This petition will go to every Ontario MPP regardless of party affiliation or ward.

Every MPP will be notified each time a concerned Ontarian signs this petition and all MPPs will be alerted to the number of people who oppose the Ford government’s current plan to reopen schools. We want to make every MPP understand that we will hold them accountable if they support the current plan and fail to represent their constituents. 

All the effort and funding to make back-to-school safe BEFORE something happens should be the priority. 

Sign and share the petition. Demand that Premier Doug Ford, MOE - Stephen Lecce and Ontario MPP's provide the adequate funds and resources required to ensure a safe reopening of schools this September.