Parent representatives from two education advocacy groups, Ontario Families for Public Education and the Ontario Parent Action Network, have launched a public consultation on the province’s coronavirus pandemic education plan.
The groups are encouraging families across the province to complete an online survey about their experiences since returning to school in September.
The survey closes on Nov. 20 and then results will be shared with the public and Premier Doug Ford.
“It has been 230 days since Doug Ford announced the initial shutdown of our schools and the chaos has not stopped since,” said Rachel Huot, who is with the Ontario Parent Action Network.
What has stopped, she added, is consultation with families about how things are going for students in school and at home.
For Fernanda Yanchapaxi, the mother of a Grade 2 student in Toronto who is learning virtually, she said the last two months have been challenging.
“It’s just really hard to keep her on the screen and it often involves me sitting with her on the screen at the same time and try to keep her focused,” Yanchapaxi said.
Yanchapaxi lost her grandmother and three cousins in Ecuador to COVID-19 and felt concerned about sending her daughter back to school amid the pandemic.
“We followed the plan from the government, every detail, to see if it was something we could do in order to keep everyone safe and it just didn’t feel like it’s something that we can afford right now,” she said, opting for virtual learning instead.
Yanchapaxi said she would reconsider sending her seven-year-old daughter to school in person if changes are made to class sizes.
Global News contacted Education Minister Stephen Lecce for comment on the public consultation launched by parent groups and received a statement in response.
“Our plan to safely reopen schools, fully endorses by Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, has been informed by the best medical and scientific minds in the country,” it said.
“Our plan was informed by the voices of parents, educators and the medical community, designed to reduce the risk and keep students safe. We will never hesitate from taking further action to protect the health and safety of Ontario’s students and education staff.”View link »