OTTAWA -- The Ontario Liberals are calling on the Ontario Government to create 1,000 new classroom locations and hire 1,000 additional educators just in Ottawa to help get students back to school this fall.

The Liberals released a $3.2 billion Students in Schools Action Plan for the start of the new school year during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Ottawa, the Liberals plan calls for 1,000 new classroom locations in community centres, arenas and university and college campuses for students with the Ottawa Carleton District School Board and Ottawa Catholic School Board. The plan also recommends Ontario hire 1,000 additional educators to help reduce class sizes this fall and 500 additional caretakers to keep schools and school buses clean in Ottawa.

“Getting our students back to school safely is what kids critically need for their own development and it’s the only way their moms and dads can have peace of mind to return to work,” said Steven Del Duca, leader of the Ontario Liberal Party.

Del Duca says his plan would have classrooms no larger than 15 students and encourage physical-distanced learning.

Premier Doug Ford and Education Minister Stephen Lecce will release its direction to school boards this week for the new school year. School boards were directed to prepare for three scenarios: Full-time in class, a hybrid of online and in-class learning and online learning in September. 

Across Ontario, the Liberals “Students in Schools Action Plan” outlines $3.2 billion in spending to get Ontario kids back to school in September. It includes 15,000 more elementary teachers, 2,000 more secondary teachers and 14,000 new classroom locations across Ontario.

“Doug Ford should have made this a priority months ago by meaningfully consulting with school boards, teachers, education workers, principals and parents. He has not,” said Del Duca in a statement.

“We need students in classrooms and we know that while distance learning obviously needs vast improvement as a complement to future learning, the high quality and safe in-class experience needs to be front and centre in our plans for this Fall.”