The Green Party of Ontario strongly criticized the proposed hybrid learning model for the province’s public school system. The Ontario government urged schools to offer both in-person and online instruction methods this fall which sparked reactions from various groups.
The government of Ontario declared that the provincial public schools must give students the option of studying in person or remotely. This put educators, parents and school boards in a complex situation as it signified that instruction levels may be less than adequate due to heightened workloads faced by teachers.
Certain student groups (such as those with special needs) will not get the services needed. This would again be due to the increased work load on teachers. A realization is becoming apparent for
school boards that teachers would have to be in two places at the same time as they would have to teach both in person and online. A lack of funding will result in the inevitability of some students falling behind. Additionally, there are no equities for students in this model, those with issues such as a lack of technology will pay the price in the lack of education quality.
The Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF), Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO), Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECTA) and Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) have all unanimously told CBC news that, education through this model will be subpar.
Other issues related to the quality of education under a hybrid model have been identified as students at home missing out on physical activities and group work.
Green Party of Ontario reacts
The Green Party of Ontario has strongly criticized the idea of a hybrid model on their various platforms. The party is condemning the lack of urgency taken by Doug Ford’s government in presenting a return to school plan. They have repeatedly stressed that September, 2021 is fast approaching.
The Ontario Greens are standing firm as they support a full and safe return to classrooms. In a statement released on the party’s website on June 21, 2021, party leader Mike Schreiner was clear in his remarks:
Mike Schreiner wants the Ford government to release an immediate school return plan that includes “5 key points“. These include: investments in better ventilation, classes no larger than 15 students, increases in amount and quality of PPE, rapid testing and lastly, ensuring that all those eligible (teachers and students) are fully vaccinated by the start of the school year.
Despite Education Minister, Stephen Lecce, reminding the public that the province announced 2 billion dollars in support to advance and protect public education for the upcoming school year, a concrete plan for the return to class is still missing.