QUEEN’S PARK — Mike Schreiner released the following statement in response to the Premier’s announcement this afternoon that schools will not reopen:
“Kids are paying the price for the Premier and the Minister of Education’s failure to make the necessary investments to make schools safe.
We continue to hear from parents how anxious, depressed and lonely their kids are feeling. And how their kids’ mental health is deteriorating.
Parents are worried and kids are suffering.
But for over a year, the Premier and the Ministry sat on the sideline, refusing to take the necessary measures to get kids back in the classroom.
Measures like lowering class sizes, improving ventilation, implementing robust rapid testing, and prioritizing vaccines for educators.
And after the big ordeal of sending a letter asking for consensus, the Premier refused to listen to the advice he received from experts, which encouraged the safe reopening of schools.
This province is the only one with schools still closed. And kids in Ontario have been out of the classroom for 23 weeks since March 2020 — far longer than anywhere else in Canada.
Ontario’s families deserve answers from the Premier. He owes them an explanation, and an apology.
The Premier needs to recognize that steps like improving ventilation are not only related to fighting COVID-19 but will also improve air quality in schools for years to come.
I’m calling on the Premier to immediately share with parents and educators what his plan is to make schools safe for in class learning in the fall. It’s time for him to get off the bench and get in the game.”