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Guelph MPP urges province to get kids back in schools this fall

'We have to acknowledge and address the toll the pandemic and online school has had on kids’ mental health. Everything is not ok,' says Schreiner in open letter to premier
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Guelph MPP and Ontario Green Party leader Mike Schreiner. Tony Saxon/GuelphToday file photo

Guelph MPP and Ontario Green Party leader Mike Schreiner is urging the province to get students back in school this fall.

In an open letter to Ontario Premier Doug Ford, Schreiner is calling for N95 masks for teachers, improved ventilation and reducing class sizes to 15.

“We are just weeks away from back to school, yet your government has made little to no progress on ensuring that students will be able to learn safely in-person come September, Schreiner said in the letter to the premier.

He said students in Ontario have spent 26 weeks in online school since the start of the pandemic – more than anywhere else in the country – "and it’s having severe impacts on their mental health and well-being."

"But making sure kids can go safely back to school in September and ensuring they stay open will take proper investments so students, educators and staff are protected from COVID-19."

The Ontario Greens Safe Schools Plan includes:

  • Ventilation improvements, including HEPA filters in all Ontario classrooms
  • Investing in more and higher quality PPE, including N95 masks, for teachers, students and staff
  • Lowering class sizes to 15 to allow for appropriate physical distancing
  • A robust, accessible and low-barrier testing and tracing system to control and mitigate COVID outbreaks
  • Ensuring as many students as possible over age 12 are fully immunized (double vaccinated for at least two weeks) by the first day of school
  • A plan to proactively ensure elementary teachers and education staff are fully immunized to protect children under the age of 12 who are currently ineligible to receive vaccines.
  • A province wide tracking system on how many education workers, staff and eligible students are fully vaccinated.
"We have to acknowledge and address the toll the pandemic and online school has had on kids’ mental health. Everything is not ok. They need and deserve more help and support," Schreiner said.
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