Niagara Falls MPP urges Ford to spend COVID-19 funds on schools

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Published August 5, 2021 at 8:39 pm

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The MPP for Niagara Falls, Niagara-on-the-Lake and Fort Erie is urging Premier Doug Ford to sink a sizable amount of the province’s COVID-19 funding into improvements to Ontario schools.

Wayne Gates, who waves the NDP banner, noted recently “the Financial Accountability Officer of Ontario showed us that Ford didn’t even manage to spend the $10.1 billion dollars he already had earmarked for COVID relief.”

“Let’s use some of that to make schools safe, to give parents peace of mind and to get kids back in the class with the one-on-one supports they need to ensure they haven’t fallen behind. That’s a real plan and it’s needed now.”

Of course, Gates would also like to see the 12 to 17 year old vaccination rates much higher by the time the students return to school in his riding.

Presently, Niagara Region students in the 12-to-17 group have 59 per cent first doses but only 42 per cent fully vaccinated. So with a month to go, Gates recognizes most parents and educators would like to see that fully-vaxxed number closer to the 90 per cent range.

“Here’s what is needed with this precious time we have – a specific plan to get youth vaccinated where they can and with the help and input of their parents, smaller class sizes, better ventilation and better protections to tell parents we are as certain as possible that school will remain in person,” Gates said.

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