Who We Are:
Ontario SAFE (Safety Advocacy for Education) is a non-partisan, volunteer advocacy group made up of parents, educators, doctors and medical professionals, education experts, policy experts, researchers, business leaders, students, and community members. We are committed to fighting for safe and equitable conditions in public education.
We were brought together by Kelly Iggers, a Toronto-based parent and educator whose petition demanding a safe provincial school reopening plan with smaller class sizes gathered over 270,000 signatures.
Our mission is to advocate for safe and equitable conditions in Ontario’s public education system during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.
What We Believe:
- All children have the right to a safe, accessible public education.
- In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, school conditions must be based on scientific evidence and expert public health advice to ensure that in-person education is safe and accessible for all Ontario students/families.
- Our schools belong to our communities. Unsafe conditions in schools put our province at risk of increased community transmission, an overburdened healthcare system, and renewed economic shutdown.
- The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed and deepened inequities in our society, including within our public education system. The effects of the pandemic have been disproportionately severe for racialized and marginalized people and communities. Unsafe school conditions will continue to harm vulnerable Ontarians the most and deepen these inequities.
- For many students and families, remote learning is not an effective or feasible option. Many students need the academic, social, emotional, mental and physical health benefits of being in school; and remote learning places an unreasonable burden on families. Every effort must be made to implement safe and sustainable conditions so all students/families have access to in-school learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- We recognize that many children do not feel safe at school outside of the context of the pandemic, due to systemic racism, discrimination, and other inequities. We believe that a truly safe public education system will not be achieved until systemic oppressions are addressed.
- We are concerned that a failure to ensure safe and equitable conditions in public schools during the COVID-19 pandemic will have long-term negative implications for public education in Ontario. In fighting for safe and equitable conditions in schools now, we are fighting for the future of public education in Ontario.