The back-to-school drama rumbles on for the Ontario government’s plan to reopen schools in September. A petition that’s been floating around social media asking for smaller class sizes in Ontario has reached over 170,000 signatures.
Class sizes have been the topic of most debate in Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Education Minister Stephen Lecce’s plan to reopen schools amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Please sign this petition demanding smaller class sizes in Ontario to keep us all safe. Ontario Demands Better: Reduce Class Sizes to Keep Schools and Communities Safe – Sign the Petition! https://t.co/yZdD8ftZOO via @CdnChange
— Sarah Jane (@northofBarrie) August 2, 2020
In elementary and middle schools, cohort sizes have not been reduced similarly to their secondary school counterparts. Many classes will be functioning with a normal number of students once classes resume next month.
“The Ontario government’s ‘plan’ for reopening schools essentially amounts, in most elementary and middle school grades, to sending 30 students and a teacher back into a room for 6 hours/day with poor to no ventilation and probably only enough space for 30 cm of distancing between desks,” says the statement written by petition creator Kelly Iggers.
“This is shameful and demonstrates a reckless and disturbing lack of care for the health and safety of our children, teachers, school staff, and communities.”
Premier Ford continues to get blasted about the back-to-school plan at some of his more recent press conferences and daily announcements. He says that Ontario’s plan is the best in the country and has been lauded by other provinces.
Ontario is the only province to require masks for students in Grade 4 and above. Millions of dollars have also been allocated to measures that the provincial government claims to make schools safe for students, teachers, and staff.
Ontario Demands Better: Reduce Class Sizes to Keep Schools and Communities Safe – Sign the Petition! https://t.co/DliqMXQwb4 via @CdnChange
I just signed! Teachers, parents, EVERYONE wants to go back full-time, but we have to do it safely. That means funding and smaller classes
— Nik Cotter (@NikCotterOCT) August 6, 2020
The petition cites articles by the National Post, Time, and Global Health as examples of evidence where smaller class sizes have prevented a surge of coronavirus cases after schools reopen.
The provincial government also finds themselves in hot water after claiming they followed the advice of health care professionals from Sick Kids when creating the plan. And since Sick kids have said that reduced class sizes must be a priority.
The plan to reopen schools continues to come under fire by educators, parents, and the media. And it doesn’t seem like it will be slowing down before September.
To look further into the petition for reduced class sizes click here.