thumb-2020-09-03
thumb-2020-09-03 This article is more than 2 years old
News

Some Ontario Schools Could See ‘Up to 30 Kids’ Share One Classroom During Pandemic, Teachers Warn

"To put 30 kids in a room, having them one metre apart gives them no room to move around ... There’s no physical distancing."

Doug Ford’s back-to-school plan is pushing Ontario school boards to consolidate smaller classes, something the province’s teachers are warning could lead to some situations where one classroom is shared by “30 or more students.”

The Ontario Public School Boards’ Association recently noted that school boards across the province are being pushed to “collapse” smaller classes into larger ones.

“School boards are required to fill class sizes based on the education funding formula, while at the same time providing a program for students who have chosen not to attend school in person,” Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association President Liz Stuart explained to PressProgress.

“While specifics will vary from board to board,” Stuart said “it is inevitable that the Ford government’s failure to introduce adequate standards and funding to ensure physical distancing will lead to classes being collapsed and combined”

“There may even be situations where combined classes of 30 or more students are learning next to empty classrooms.”

Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation Executive Officer Malini Leahy said some boards that have been designated by the province will have cohorts of only 15 students per class in place — but other boards have caps based on what is already written into their collective agreements.

In non-designated boards, there’s no guarantee,” Leahy told PressProgress. “There’s one board that allows up to 35 kids, or you could have up to 30 kids sitting in a classroom.

Leahy noted that “social distancing is problematic when you have 30 students in classrooms, especially when you don’t have classrooms that were meant to have 30 students,” and added that the OSSTF is pressing Ford’s government for “basic health and safety measures to protect students and our members.”

Algoma District School Board, which serves students in Sault Ste. Marie, Elliot Lake and the surrounding region, is one of Ontario’s non-designated boards.

According to local news reports, Algoma’s schools are “required to show they have managed classes as close to the funded average class size as possible.” More recently, it was reported the board is collapsing classes in order to limit direct and indirect contact to 100 students.

OSSTF District 2 bargaining unit president John Wells told PressProgress, classes vary by school enrollment and there are multiple caps in place — but “in our larger schools, in high schools like Superior Heights in Sault St Marie, we can expect class sizes of up to 30.”

“To put 30 kids in a room, having them one metre apart gives them no room to move around,” he said. “There’s no physical distancing.”

Neither Ontario’s Ministry of Education nor the Algoma District School Board responded to requests for comment from PressProgress.

 

Our journalism is powered by readers like you.

We’re an award-winning non-profit news organization that covers topics like social and economic inequality, big business and labour, and right-wing extremism.

Help us build so we can bring to light stories that don’t get the attention they deserve from Canada’s big corporate media outlets.

 

Donate
PressProgress
PressProgress is an award-winning non-profit news organization focused on uncovering and unpacking the news through original investigative and explanatory journalism.

Most Shared

thumb-sources PODCAST

Doug Ford is Looking to Cut Costs in Healthcare Staffing, Documents Show

Related Stories

News

Tech Company Working With Police Across Canada to Justify Higher Police Budgets Lobbied City of Toronto

View the post
News

Far-Right Group Opposed to 2SLGBTQ+ Resources in Schools Protested BC Drag Queen Story Time Event

View the post
News

Vancouver Police Tried to Gift Toy Guns to Elementary School Students, Teacher Alleges During Public Forum

View the post

Explainers

Human rights & inclusion

Amira Elghawaby

Here’s The Problem With Hoping Corporations Will Be Socially and Environmentally Responsible On Their Own

View the post
Politics & strategy

Jeremy Appel

The battle of the PACs in Calgary’s municipal election

View the post
Politics & strategy

Jeremy Appel

27 Different Candidates are Vying to be Calgary’s Mayor. Here Are the Biggest Issues at Stake.

View the post
Newspapers always have a business section – why not a labour section? We’ve launched a free newsletter covering labour issues in Canada.
Get Canadian Labour News You Won't Find in Corporate Newspapers.
We’ve launched a free newsletter covering labour issues in Canada.
Get Canadian Labour News You Won't Find in Corporate Newspapers