News · OSSTF/FEESO statement on Ford government’s extension of remote learning



OSSTF/FEESO statement on Ford government’s extension of remote learning

Toronto – January 7, 2021 — As the COVID-19 infection rate increases daily, the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF/FEESO) calls on the government to implement a new plan that is transparent, evidence-informed, and action-based. To protect us all, the work must be pro-active, not reactive. An effective return-to-schools plan must emphasize the safety of students, workers, and communities. This includes a comprehensive and timely process for giving education workers access to vaccination.

Once again, families, students, and educators are left scrambling thanks to last-minute announcements by Doug Ford and Stephen Lecce. Constant uncertainty exacerbates the anxiety many are feeling. This is not leadership for the people; it is an inexcusable abdication of responsibility. OSSTF/FEESO continues to call on the government to increase safety protocols, implement provincial standards for COVID-19 testing, lower class sizes, regulate cohorting, and improve ventilation, as well as providing supports to address the disproportional disparity the COVID-19 pandemic has on Black, Indigenous, racialized, and lower-income students and families.

The recent announcement that most elementary school students in the 27 Southern Ontario public health unit regions will remain in online learning scenarios acknowledges the significant increase in COVID-19 infection rates among students. This announcement still leaves many questions and concerns unanswered. Medical experts and local public health units need to be heard. Insufficient asymptomatic testing in schools means that there is inadequate data to make good decisions about what is best for students, families, educators, and communities. Metrics for government decision-making need to be made public.

OSSTF/FEESO members continue to go above and beyond to meet the challenges of COVID-19 response learning. This includes the many education workers and teachers who returned to school buildings this week to work with students with special needs or to ensure our schools are safe and continue to function during this pandemic. The commitment and professionalism of OSSTF/FEESO’s members continues despite the ineffective leadership of this provincial government and its inability to support online learning during the pandemic sufficiently. Yet again we call on the government to consult with the voice of frontline educators in order to ensure the safest and most effective ways to educate students during the pandemic.

OSSTF/FEESO, founded in 1919, has over 60,000 members across Ontario. They include public high school teachers, occasional teachers, educational assistants, continuing education teachers and instructors, early childhood educators, psychologists, secretaries, speech-language pathologists, social workers, plant support personnel, university support staff, and many others in education.

Contact Information

Harvey Bischof, President

Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation

Phone: 416-751-8300

Toll Free: 1-800-267-7867

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