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Bill Kelly: The uncomfortable truth is we’re not ready for school reopening

Ontario Premier Doug Ford, left, and Education Minister Stephen Lecce walk the hallway before making an announcement regarding the governments plan for a safe reopening of schools in the fall due to the COVID-19 pandemic at Father Leo J Austin Catholic Secondary School in Whitby, Ont., on Thursday, July 30, 2020. Denette.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford, left, and Education Minister Stephen Lecce walk the hallway before making an announcement regarding the governments plan for a safe reopening of schools in the fall due to the COVID-19 pandemic at Father Leo J Austin Catholic Secondary School in Whitby, Ont., on Thursday, July 30, 2020. Denette. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Amid widespread criticism about the Ford government’s back-to-school strategy, Education Minister Stephen Lecce announced another bushel full of money to address the concerns, but once again, the minister doesn’t seem to get it.

The most contentious issues are class size and social distancing; the two are very much related.

Read more: Doug Ford stands firm amid growing calls to revise Ontario’s back-to-school plan

Why is it that children still have to practise social distancing when they line up for their Happy Meal at McDonald’s, but they’ll be jammed back into classrooms with the same number of students that was deemed to be unsafe just a few months ago?

Children are not immune from COVID-19, and even if they don’t show symptoms of the virus, they can still pass it on to teachers, custodians and family members when they go home.

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Read more: Ontario major teachers’ unions allege back-to-school plan breaks provincial law

The government now says it will give money to boards of education to hire extra teachers and find more classroom space to reduce class sizes.

Well, at least they seem to have identified the problem, but how are boards of education supposed to find extra space for classrooms or hire more teachers or repair or replace outdated H-VAC systems with only a couple of weeks to go before schools are scheduled to re-open?

There are too many important details about social distancing and hand washing and sanitizing that have yet to be worked out.

The plan needs more work; do what other jurisdictions have done and delay the re-opening for a week or two because clearly, we’re not ready yet!

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Bill Kelly is the host of the Bill Kelly Show on Global News Radio 900 CHML.

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