Elementary teachers' union wants province to reconsider sending students back to classroom
KITCHENER -- The provincial government will decide whether or not to send students back to school in the next few days.
Elementary students are supposed to return to in-person learning on Monday, but the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (EFTO) wants public health units to reconsider the return to in-class learning.
The Ashby children in Kitchener won't be returning to the classroom, even if schools open up.
"I'm just going to bite the bullet and keep them home," Wendy Ashby said.
Premier Doug Ford said they're reconsidering the plan to return to school with COVID-19 cases surging.
"We're going to talk to the health table and the chief medical officer and get their advice," Ford said at a press conference on Wednesday. "We're going to take that advice and announce that in the next day or so."
The EFTO said the province has failed to protect Ontario residents, urging public health units to prevent the return to school.
"A safe return cannot be ensured unless urgent and immediate actions are taken to implement a safety plan that reduces class sizes, improves ventilation, and introduces broad in-school asymptomatic testing when in-person attendance resumes," a statement from the union said in part.
Kristina Llewelyn, an associate professor of social development studies at the University of Waterloo, said the situation could have been prevented.
"If we wanted young people to be in school, then we needed for community transmission to stay low and we haven't made those choices," Llewelyn said.
Waterloo Region's public and Catholic schools boards said they're prepared to virtual learning to continue if necessary.