classroomParent representatives from Ontario Families for Public Education and the Ontario Parent Action Network launched a public consultation on Doug Ford’s pandemic education plan today. Families across the province are asked to go to to complete a survey about their experiences since returning to school in September.

Following a summer of delays from the Ministry of Education, and the underfunding of a safe return to schools, parents and guardians continue to feel ignored by Doug Ford and his Conservative government. “In our communities, we have students connecting to their virtual classrooms and completing and submitting work using their parents’ cell phone. We have families who did not send their children to school at all because they did not trust that their children will be safe. We have parents and caregivers who have lost contact with their home schools”, states Fernanda Yanchapaxi, and organizer with the Ontario Parent Action Network, “ I ask: Is that how the best reopening plan of the country should look?”

According to health experts, we can expect the pandemic to continue until at least the end of this school year. Shameela Shakeel of York Communities for Public Education explained the strain and stresses affecting parents, “We are still waiting for the Ford government to provide access to faster testing when school cases pop up and students and teachers need to be tested. We are still waiting for the Ford government to support families when a parent or guardian needs to stay home from work to care for a child who is ill or needs to isolate due to symptoms of COVID-19, or needs to stay home for 14 days when their school cohort has a positive COVID case. Workers need paid leave days, job protections, and legislated flexible work systems in place”.

In the absence of any attempt to consult with parents and families about a safe and clear pandemic plan for schools, families are now taking it upon themselves to launch a public consultation. Families with children who are part of our public education system are encouraged to go to to complete the survey. The survey closes on November 20th and then results will be given to Doug Ford and the public.

source: media release