Ontario Teachers Are Fighting Back Against Ford's 'Dangerous' Back-To-School Plan
Ford is "begging" them to cooperate.
After months of back and forth between Premier Doug Ford and education workers, it was announced today that the province’s teachers would be taking legal action over.
The announcement came in the form of a release from four major Ontario teachers unions, which represent more than 190,000 teachers and educational workers.
Their actions follow the "failure of the Ministry of Labour to adequately respond to their requests for appropriate health and safety standards in publicly funded schools."
Representatives of each union met with the Ontario’s Minister of Labour and Chief Prevention Officer on August 24, where they initially voiced their many concerns.
These included set standards around "physical distancing, cohorting, ventilation, and transportation."
However, as of August 28, the unions had received no response, forcing them to move to legal action.
Ford addressed the teachers unions in his Monday media briefing, pleading with them to be cooperative.
"I'm begging for the teachers unions to work with us," he said. "I"m just asking just once for your cooperation."
In a letter released in early August, teachers claim that the province's current back-to-school plan will put both students and educators “in significant and imminent danger,” The Globe and Mail reports.
There has been a public outcry in response to Ford's apparent refusal to reduce Ontario's class sizes.
A petition created by a Toronto District School Board employee currently has 250,000 of its 300,000 needed signatures.
“Schools and classrooms are unique workplaces, with upwards of 30 people sharing small spaces,” ETFO President Sam Hammond explained in the statement.
“Smaller class sizes would help make schools safer. Should teachers and education workers not be able to expect at least the same standards and precautionary measures as have been put in place in stores, offices, and other spaces across the province?”
Last week, the province's Ministry of Education announced its latest instalment to the back-to-school framework —detailing what to do if a school suffers a COVID-19 outbreak.
This plan states that, in the event of an outbreak, schools may not be forced to shut down entirely. This decision will be left to the corresponding public health unit.
School will resume in Ontario for many starting September 8.
However,depending on the school district to help ensure physical distancing is maintained.