Sault education workers, parents protest for safer return to Ontario schools
SAULT STE. MARIE -- Education workers and parents in Sault Ste. Marie joined in province-wide protests Wednesday, calling on the Ontario government unveil its back-to-school plan.
With school just more than a month a way, the province has yet to reveal how students and faculty will return to school safely, with COVID-19 precautions.
"We need to have proper funding for what's going on, we need to have staff, we need to have custodians that are going to be in place," said Michele McCleave-Kennedy, Sault Ste. Marie and District Labour Council president. "So we're here to get a plan. There's been no plan announced, there's been three different speculations and we want to know a plan that's going to work for our students."
Demands include fully funded five-day in-class learning, with classes not exceeding more than 15 students, before and after-school child care that's safe, and more funding for custodians.
"Right now, the seven cents per student a day number that the government has allotted is nowhere near enough funding," said Michele McCleave-Kennedy. "This government needs to show it's serious about taking care of our students, when facing one of the biggest health crisis's we've ever seen."
A statement from Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli said the Doug Ford government will outline its plans for back to school later this week. However, protesters say it may be coming too late to adjust on the fly.
"I think they could've rolled out some of these strategic plans in early July," said Sharon Indrevold, Ontario Secondary School Teacher's Federation. "Now we are all waiting, every day for an announcement, for the other shoe to fall, and if it's not enough, who knows if it will be fixed."