Education Expert says Ontario's Back to School Plan Falls Short

A stock photo of a classroom.

The province has put out its back to school plan and there are more questions than answers, according to education expert Annie Kidder.

Parents and school staff are questioning the plans which keep class sizes the same for the most part. Some health officials have called for smaller classes as part of a safe return to class.

The Executive Director of People for Education tells The Afternoon News the plan is, "worrying."

"A couple of reports from Sick Kids [Hospital] with recommendations, particularly around small class sizes, and really small class sizes so there could be physically enough room in a room for kids to keep farther apart," she says.

The province has put $300-million towards the return to classes, but Kidder it's nowhere near enough.

"There's not that much money for staff and I actually think right now in Canada going whelp, we're spending more than other provinces isn't a good boast because I don't think any province is spending enough," says Kidder.

Kidder says the province is spending money in the wrong places — there needs to be a focus on support staff and teachers.

"In order to make the class sizes smaller but also to make sure that kids are getting all kinds of support, particularly when they're first coming back into school because they've been out of school for six months and — like the rest of us — living in a pandemic," she added.

Kidder also points to some serious questions that need to be answered.

"If a teacher tests positive for COVID-19, does everybody go home? Does everybody isolate? What will happen," questioned Kidder. "What we want right now in this time of so many unknowns is a little bit of certainty."