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QUEEN’S PARK — Mike Schreiner released the following statement in response to a report from the Toronto Star on COVID spread in schools:

“Today’s report from the Star confirms that Premier Ford and Minister Lecce failed children by not collecting the data experts say could actually clarify the level of spread happening in schools.

Instead, they simply claimed that ‘schools are safe’ as an excuse to avoid making the necessary investments to actually protect students, teachers and staff.

We know the steps necessary to make schools safer: improved ventilation, adequate PPE, lower class sizes, robust asymptomatic testing.

But the Premier refuses to make the necessary investments.

Despite the Minister of Education’s claim of 50,000 per week asymptomatic testing capacity, the highest week of testing only hit 16% of that target. It’s an embarrassing failure for the government.

Schools could and should be made safer.

This government continues to underinvest and shortchange kids.

The March budget cut education funding by almost $1 billion, and the FAO confirmed yesterday that Ford’s education spending plan falls more than $12 billion short over the next nine years.

We can’t take shortcuts on children’s well-being. 70 per cent of children in Ontario have said the pandemic has harmed their mental health. This falls squarely on Premier Ford and Minister Lecce’s refusal to take the measures that will get kids safely back in the classroom.”

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