We could be debating that now, this weekend, so that kids are back in school this September. Instead, we’re here debating a bill to silence the Premier’s critics. Will school boards, education workers and parents be left waiting again until August before they see any kind of plan for safer school reopenings?
What we have intended to do—notwithstanding that advice that will come in some weeks, once we’re closer to September—is create a more normal, stable and, yes, safe September for all children and staff. I’m proud to report that nearly 40% of children aged 12 to 17 have received their first dose of the vaccine, and we’re well on our way by August to get every student and every staff member who wants one a second dose ahead of September. That’s part of our plan for the broader population to be double-dosed this summer.
Mr. Speaker, we’ve allocated $2 billion in increased investment, with $1.6 billion specifically for COVID resources to maintain asymptomatic testing, the doubling of public health nurses, the enhancement of cleaning our schools and strict screening before kids and staff enter. As well, there is additional money for learning loss. We’re going to continue to invest in mental health, learning loss and COVID-19 resources to ensure students and staff remain safe this September.
Getting kids safely back in school must be our top priority, both for their well-being but also for our economic recovery. We could be working through the night on a plan to do that, instead of the blatant abuse of power we witnessed here this weekend.
Speaker, can the Premier explain to families and to the thousands of Ontarians who are watching through the OFL livestream right now why he’s prioritizing his own political future ahead of our own kids’ education?
Mr. Speaker, we’ve also invested an additional $85 million for learning recovery, recognizing reading and math have seen regression, really, right around the Western world. That’s why we’ve put in place a plan to support expanded summer learning as well as tutoring for children. For mental health, recognizing, as was noted earlier, the unprecedented impact of the pandemic, we have ensured an $80-million investment—400% higher than when the former Liberal government was in power—because we’re committed to the wellness as well as the success of students, now and into the future.top | new search