The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit announced five new cases of COVID-19 today. Of the cases announced, one is in the agri-farm sector, one is a healthcare worker, one is travel-related and two are community spread. Our region now has 2,356 cases, 71 deaths, and 2006 cases resolved.
The Windsor Essex Catholic District School Board has provided some details of their back-to-school plan for students in September. Part of the plan includes students being required to make physical adaptions, physical distancing, cohorting, wearing masks from grades 4-12, hand hygiene and cleaning. Students will also not be using lockers but will instead attend with a backpack. School officials are asking parents to pre-register their children for either in-person schooling or remote learning. More information is available on the school board’s website here.
Our caucus has repeatedly called for the government’s back-to-school plan to be scrapped and replaced with a plan for smaller, safer classes. Before the pandemic, we heard how large and growing class sizes were crowding classrooms and this new plan only sends students and staff right back into these over-crowded classrooms where they can’t possibly practice physical distancing. We are calling on the government to immediately implement an action plan to safely reopen schools, one that includes:
- Smaller, safer class sizes – which means the government needs to hire thousands of teachers and education workers, and line up extra classroom spaces
- Additional teachers and education workers to support learning at home for high school students now slated to take 50 per cent of their courses online, alone at home
- A guarantee that parents will continue to be able to access job-protected leave and benefits until school and child care fully resumes
- Immediate funding to stabilize the child care sector to prevent fee increases and layoffs
- Immediate funding for urgent school repairs and upgrades, including infection control (eg: touch-free sinks and soap dispensers, better ventilation)
- Funding for more school busses to allow for physical distancing
- Additional support for students with special needs or who are struggling online
- Action to address of the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on Black, Indigenous and racialized students and families
- The striking of a COVID-19 recovery school advisory group that includes frontline education workers, parents and students, school boards and parents
- Consultation with municipalities to find ways to use available public infrastructure so that school and child care centres can resume in-person for as many children as possible in a safe and healthy way
- A guarantee that no essential workers currently receiving emergency child care will lose child care provision when the emergency child care program ends
The Windsor International Film Festival has announced their upcoming drive-in movie program to be held at the Riverfront Festival Plaza from August 28 to September 12. The traditional WIFF was cancelled this year due to COVID-19. The drive-in movie program called WIFF Under The Stars will show 36 films over 16 days, covering all genres. All the titles are widely-known movies. More details can be found here.
The provincial government said today that personal support workers (PSWs) are overworked and underpaid, a problem that the current and previous governments have caused. The current government is making things worse by following the lead of previous governments and turning even more long-term care and home care over to private, for-profit corporations, which cut corners and pocket more profits. Our caucus continues to advocate for seniors and PSWs by calling for thousands of PSWs to be hired, for all PSWs to get an immediate pay hike, for PSW jobs to be full-time and for a mandate requiring enough staff on every shift to guarantee four hours of hands-on support and care per resident every day.
Health Canada is urging Canadians to check their evolving list of hand sanitizers that are being recalled. Possible reactions include skin, eye and upper respiratory system irritation as well as headaches. The agency is encouraging people to get rid of the products and contact a doctor if they have health concerns after having used the sanitizers. The complete list is here.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our office directly. Our office is open to the public by appointment only at this time. You can email us at [email protected] or reach us by phone at 519-251-5199.
Please continue to practice social distancing, wear a face covering or mask when out in public and wash your hands often.