Ottawa/Queen's Park

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books tabletDear Minister:

I write with urgency about what September holds for young children and students. I echo the concerns of constituents, parents and educators who are feeling anxious and confused about your plans.

Experience from other jurisdictions and a growing body of evidence from health experts suggest that children can safely return to school with the right COVID-19 public health protocols. At the same time, businesses and working parents are warning of a mass exodus of women from the workforce if children are required to continue distance learning at home.

Minister, I understand the difficult position you are in. But our children’s mental health and Ontario’s economic recovery depend on a sound plan for childcare and education.

Assuming the COVID-19 infection rate stays low, it is the province’s responsibility to guarantee that young children have a place to go full-time, Monday to Friday through a combination of in-class learning and full-time childcare. An at-home learning model will be disruptive for everyone.

I ask you to collaborate with school boards, teachers’ unions and childcare providers to create small group spaces where children can safely learn. This will require new funding for educators and caregivers, as well as the innovative use of outdoor education, community centres, school portables
and other space.

While this is a major challenge, we owe it to parents and children to provide stability and relief.

Sincerely,

Mike Schreiner
MPP, Guelph

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