Ontario Premier Doug Ford said that his government will sit down with unions, to ensure teachers are safe and their jobs are protected, when schools eventually reopen.
On Wednesday, Ford said that he will “sit down with unions to make sure they feel safe” adding that teachers are “so important” and have done a “great job” with online leaning during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’ll have a discussion with the unions and we will never do anything to put our children at risk,” Ford said.
But, the premier did not provide more specifics on when these meetings would take place.
When asked about teachers keeping their jobs if they can’t go back to schools because they’re either immunocompromised, in an older age group, or looking after sick relatives due to coronavirus, Ford reassured that their jobs will be protected.
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“Their jobs will be protected and we will work with them and come up with a solution through their unions and the ministry,” the premier said.
Ford added that Education Minister Stephen Lecce will be rolling out a plan soon, with measures and safety guidelines for students and staff when schools reopen.
“Since day one, I have said I am not going to risk anything that will put our kids in jeopardy,” Ford said.
On June 3, Lecce announced that he plans for students and staff to return to school in the fall.
“By the end of June we want to give some certainty to everyone that we have plan that will keep your child safe but allow them to return to school in the fall,” Lecce said at the time.
“This is the plan for September. And we will obviously build a protocol that gives confidence to parents but also our staff as well.”
Ontario schools have been suspended since mid-March, with children learning online with the Learn at Home program, which offers curriculums for Grade K to 12 and lessons for basics like reading, writing, math, and science skills.