QUEEN’S PARK – Ontario NDP Education Critic Marit Stiles urged the Ford government to stop pinching pennies, listen to parents, and implement a comprehensive rapid testing program for all Ontario schools.
“Three weeks ago, I called on Doug Ford and Stephen Lecce to invest the money necessary to provide comprehensive rapid testing for all Ontario schools. Here we are nearly a month into the school year with student cases rising and Ford is still putting money ahead of kids’ school year. Parents are scrambling to put together their own testing programs to protect their children especially those too young to be eligible for vaccination.
“The province has a responsibility to make schools safer, and to provide equitable access to rapid testing for all students” said Stiles.
Stiles said the current patchwork of pilot programs to distribute rapid take-home tests to some school boards falls short of what’s needed to keep schools open across Ontario.
“Doug Ford and Stephen Lecce must stop trying to save a buck by holding back access to rapid testing for students. Start distributing these tests now to make classrooms safer an keep schools open. We can’t afford to wait any longer to build an equitable rapid testing program for students across the province.”
Stiles said the number one priority of the government should be to avoid unnecessary school closures by using every tool available.
In addition to improving ventilation, reducing class sizes, mandating vaccines for all education workers and including the COVID-19 vaccination on the list of mandatory student immunizations, the Ford government must immediately distribute rapid tests to families, starting with the hardest-hit areas.