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LETTER: Parent calls on area MPP to champion smaller classes

After what happened in long-term care homes, elected officials will not be forgiven 'should a calamity befall our children,' says letter writer
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A local parent is calling on Simcoe North MPP Jill Dunlop, Associate Minister of Children and Women's Issues, to become a champion for local students and work to convince her colleagues at Queen's Park to limit class sizes to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. File Photo

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As the parent of a child in a Simcoe County District School Board Grade 1 class, I’m writing to express concern over the health risks to which our children, families and community have been permitted to become exposed under the current school reopening plan.

With the general population required to follow strict social distancing protocols including reduced gatherings and mask wearing, it goes against common sense and ethical decision making to allow students — the youngest of whom are unable to effectively wear masks and all of whom are unable to maintain safe distances in schools and on buses — to return to school under the present conditions.

Whereas I have learned that classes are to be reorganized in the coming weeks in order to consolidate, and thereby increase class sizes, I feel it commensurate with both good citizenship and parenthood to communicate my concern publicly with a plea to Jill Dunlop, (Simcoe North MPP) and Associate Minister for Children and Women’s Issues.

I would urge her to become the champion for children and prevail upon the minister of education and the premier to reduce class sizes and in fact increase the number of classes, classrooms and teachers.

It has become clear after the fact that many Ontario care home residents were needlessly infected with COVID-19 and died due to conditions and procedures that could have been avoided. I would suggest that with the benefit of such hindsight those in elected office will be forgiven by neither their communities nor posterity should a calamity befall our children, especially when mitigation through reduced class sizes was so often requested, and so manifestly the right course of action.

John-Hugh MacDonald