September 26, 2017
QUEEN’S PARK – NDP Education critic Peggy Sattler says years of neglect by Liberal and Conservative governments have left Ontario schools in disrepair, with students paying the price as temperatures soar.
“Today, for the fifth straight day in a row, a heat warning was issued for southern Ontario, which means an elevated risk of heat illness, especially for children. In schools without air conditioning, students and education workers have been sweltering in classrooms hotter than 30 degrees, close to 40 degrees with the humidex,” said Sattler.
“Students are developing heat rashes and parents are keeping their kids home, not just to keep them comfortable but to keep them safe. Teachers report that children are unable to concentrate, their learning compromised. Education workers struggle in the face of these unbearable conditions.”
Ontario schools face a backlog of repairs worth over $14 billion, and years of provincial budget cuts have left local school boards without the resources needed to cool every classroom.
“Years of neglect under both the Liberals and the Conservatives have brought our schools to a tipping point. Heatwaves are becoming hotter and more frequent. But this is not just an issue during heat alerts," said Sattler. "The repair backlog increases the likelihood of broken boilers in the dead of winter, forcing children to wear winter coats in the classroom just to stay warm.
“Does the Premier think that 30-degree classrooms are acceptable teaching and learning environments for Ontario’s students and education workers?"
Sattler called on the Wynne Liberals to implement a concrete plan to address extreme classroom temperatures and create safe working and learning environments for students and education workers.