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Fall plan for 15-student classrooms in Durham

Toronto: A fully-costed plan to get Durham Region students back into classrooms safely and in classrooms no larger than 15 students, has been unveiled by Steven Del Duca, leader of the Ontario Liberal Party.

His ‘Students in Schools Action Plan’ calls for 1,100 new classroom locations, the hiring of 830 additional educators and 350 additional caretakers in Durham Region. These measures enable safe, physically-distanced learning, which is the first step in getting parents back to work and reopening the economy.

“Students and their parents in Ajax, Clarington, Pickering and Oshawa have been waiting for far too long to hear what will happen in September,” said Del Duca in an issued statement.

“Living with this uncertainty has caused unnecessary anxiety during what has already been a stressful time for Durham Region families. Getting our students back to school safely is what kids critically need for their own development and it’s the only way their moms and dads can have peace of mind to return to work.

“Since the government hasn’t unveiled a plan for the fall, I did,” said Del Duca.

The Plan

Del Duca’s Students in Schools Action Plan will cost $3.2 billion* and will fund:

  • 15,000 More Elementary Teachers to reduce class size to 15 $1.30 billion
  • 10,000 More Caretakers to keep elementary and secondary schools clean $500 million
  • 14,000 New Classrooms in Community Centres, Campuses, Arenas, etc. $200 million
  • 2,000 More Secondary Teachers $170 million
  • School Transportation (Cleaning, Retrofits, Staggered Starts) $80 million
  • Sufficient Cleaning/Hygiene Supplies and Equipment $120 million
  • 1,500 Special Education Professionals to Help Close Learning Gaps $120 million
  • New equipment for students and educators (approx. 400,000 new devices) $200 million
  • Reverse PC Cuts to School Mental Health and hire 1,000 more Mental Health Professionals to support staff and students $75 million
  • Provincial Leadership in Centrally Procuring and Purchasing Personal Protective
  • Equipment for Students and Staff (e.g., face shields, masks, gloves) $110 million
  • Support Parental Engagement and Communication $25 million
  • Public Health Coordination of Screening, Testing and Contact Tracing N/A
  • Contingency (10%) $290 million

*This is a one-time funding plan for the 2020-21 school year, after which, a vaccine may likely be available. Regardless, the government should begin planning for 2021-22 as early as possible.

In Durham (DDSB & DCDSB) this means:

1100 new classroom locations in community centres, campuses, arenas, etc.

350 additional educators to reduce class sizes

210 additional caretakers to keep schools and school buses clean

“Doug Ford should have made this a priority months ago by meaningfully consulting with school boards, teachers, education workers, principals and parents. He has not,” said Del Duca.

“We need students in classrooms and we know that while distance learning obviously needs vast improvement as a complement to future learning, the high quality and safe in-class experience needs to be front and centre in our plans for this Fall. It is the responsibility of the premier to develop a plan to achieve this safely, including sufficient training and support.”

Need full-day schools

Del Duca pointed out  that reopening the economy without full day school in September puts families in impossible situations. It forces parents to choose between their children’s education and their work. “We have heard too many stories of parents – working mothers in particular – who have had to give up their careers because Doug Ford has yet to share a plan and won’t help them with childcare.

“Ford’s priorities are beer, bars and booze — it’s time to deliver on a better, stronger and safer public education for our kids.

“The choice is between students in schools or the chaos that Doug Ford’s unclear approach will create. We need to make it safe for students in Durham Region to learn – it is the only way they will thrive, and it will enable their parents to go back to work,” concluded Del Duca.

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9 thoughts on “Fall plan for 15-student classrooms in Durham

  1. Kind of funny how this gives the teachers union more than they could ever ask for….less kids and lots more teachers…..no worries, the broke taxpayer will cover the bill….and they did not even have to threaten the kids or parents to get what they wanted. Since the classes are going to be half the size….should that not reflect in the pay?? Asking for the broke taxpayer…..

  2. Hmm if the class sizes are cut in half, should salary be cut as well?

    Simply put: No it shouldn’t. The quality of the service will be able to improve dramatically. You get what you pay for, no? Better service costs money. That’s the bottom line, no pun intended.

  3. You present it like this is what Teacher Unions want, instead of looking at the bigger picture at how best to protect students and educational staff. No indication in article where the funds are coming from, but yes, all funding does come from the taxpayer already. Due to no field trips, extra curricular activities, school presentations, etc, some of the costs that would normally fund those areas can now be reallocated. Just like the private sector received CERB thanks to taxpayers, an increase in funding to cover additional costs is expected. To date, the additional funds equate to 7 cents per child in Ontario. Can’t even buy a tissue box with that. Guess who has to buy the additional hand sanitizer, tissues, soap? As usual, teachers are expected to cover the cost when the budget doesn’t. The MOE said already we don’t need PPE because we teach from behind our desks, so Ford gov’t has left us to figure it out.

  4. Greg I’m guessing that the teachers they hire will be LTO’s (Long Term Occasional) and will be let go after a vaccine has been established.

  5. 👇👇👇👇👇👇

    Let’s get real for a minute..

    I have two school aged children.. they WANT to go back to school.

    So let’s say I send them back. Well, now I’m selfish.

    Okay, so I keep them home. Well, now I’m depriving them of a proper education.

    Okay, so I’ll send them.. but we get to skip the family thanksgiving, the family Christmas, the birthday parties.. because my children AT AN ABSOLUTE MINIMUM will come into close proximity with 20 other children per day. But I have two school aged kids remember? So that’s 40 students.. 40 DIFFERENT FAMILIES and we have absolutely no idea what precautions they’ve been taking through all of this. I obviously can’t expose my family members to 40+ other families, so we skip the holidays.

    Well, now my kids are upset. They miss they’re family members, they miss the celebrations.

    So I’ll just keep them home.

    But, I have 7 year old who struggles with her reading and I’m not an educator.

    I have a 3-year old at home who doesn’t understand zoom meetings and tight schedules and just wants to play with his siblings.

    I’m a third shifter who will try her damndest & sacrifice much needed sleep to make sure her kids are logged in to the classroom on time.. but I’m human. I will fail sometimes.

    I don’t want to take that mental health risk, so I’ll send them.

    But now I’m greedy and don’t care about the teachers.

    My child has a fever. Maybe Covid, maybe not. Do we have to keep him home for 14 days and quarantine now? Oh, a classmate tested positive? So my whole household has to quarantine? So now my husband and I both have to take off work and lose out on pay? Oh.

    Well, I’ll just keep them home.

    But even though I work, I work nights. My husband is gone all day. All of their education will fall on me. I don’t have the support system to lend a hand. To help them learn. To occupy my 3-year old so I can focus on the other 2.

    So maybe I’ll just send them.

    But what if they get sick?
    What if they bring it home and give it to their little brother?

    But what if I keep them home and I fail.
    What if her reading doesn’t improve because I don’t have the patience and the skills that she needs? What if she falls behind and gets held back next year? That’s on me.

    What if their friends judge them because of a decision that I made?

    What if I keep them home and they hate me for keeping them from school structure?

    But what if I send them and they get this disease and hate me for how sick they’ve become?

    Hug a parent who has school aged children. We could use a little extra love right now.

  6. It always comes back to teachers looking for this … REALLY?? We would like to return to normal.. We are human, we have families. We are putting ourselves at risk to teach. If each student has a bubble of 10 that is 150 people that I am in contact with and I bring home to my family.. If you think teaching in these times are easier I would challenge you to do it. I am tired of everyone assuming this job is easy YET tons of parents of indicated they don’t know how we do it !

  7. Wow!! Hopefully the teachers will work for fifty percent cheaper because I don’t want to work any harder now to pay their entitled wages!

  8. Are you kidding me? Entitled wages…. wow. This coming from someone who has likely never set foot in a classroom since being a student. I want to go back more than ever, but if proper safety procedures aren’t set in place then we are just asking for a redo of the end of the last school year. Would you want to go back to your job without protocols being implemented? 15 kids vs 30 kids, I’m still doing the same job and the same amount of planning.
    Get real.

  9. Omg…they absolutely ARE entitled…to all the pay they get!! Our teachers are putting their lives at risk to teach our children. It’s just as risky for them as it is the kids. How dare you!?

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