It’s a decision by indecision.

Brian Lilley
Premier Doug Ford’s cabinet on Wednesday will look at opening schools again.Photo by iStock /GETTY IMAGES
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Its a decision by indecision.
Here we are in the first week of June and the Ford government cant tell us whether kids are heading back into the classroom.
Well, I can tell you, and I have been saying it for a month or more, schools arent opening back up for in-person learning until September. There, that wasnt really that hard, but for some reason, Premier Doug Ford hasnt been able to utter those words.
Note that I said Ford and not Education Minister Stephen Lecce.
Lecce, a man that Ford once called an all-star and a champion, has been sidelined on this decision. All the comments on schools come from Ford, the letter and call for consensus came from Ford and so, too, will the decision.
Lecce hasnt had his own news conference since May 4 and hasnt been with the premier for any announcements since April 12.
It seems that the mess up of Lecce issuing a letter saying that schools would stay open just before Ford and medical officer Dr. David Williams ordered them closed has caused a rift.
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Not that Lecce likely minds; hes been in the education portfolio for nearly two years and was taking a beating from teacher unions on a daily basis even before the pandemic politicized schools in a new way.
Lecce has told anyone who will listen that he wants to be moved off the education file when the next cabinet shuffle happens expected this summer.
Still, shouldnt parents, students and teachers be getting an answer despite internal Tory squabbling?
They should be but despite Ford and those around him being set in not reopening, theyve been slow to make the call. If the school doors were unlocked for next Monday, which they wont be, that would give most kids three weeks of in-class instruction before the school year ended.
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There are many reasons to open them back up, including socialization, the positive impact on mental health, and the fact that many kids have just dropped out of online instruction. Even at three weeks, there could be immense benefits to the students and the teachers who are frustrated beyond belief with online learning.
The letter Ford sent out last week asking for input should have been sent weeks ago. The decision that they are mulling over should have been made weeks ago. Instead, cabinet will discuss this on Wednesday morning.
Now thanks to their indecision, the Ford government has a new factor to consider. Are the three weeks of benefits from reopening schools worth slowing down the reopening of everything else?
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As I wrote on the weekend, the feedback from the medical community was not just that schools would be safe to open some actually argued it is not safe but those who did argue for opening, spoke about slowing down everything else. Torontos medical officer, Dr. Eileen de Villa, basically told the province it was schools or the economy.
With the Science Table warning that reopening schools will cause a 6%-11% rise in cases, Ford knows what will happen. If he opens and cases do rise, then these same medical officers will warn that the province better keep restaurants, barbers, nail salons, gyms and retail shut down even longer or they will use their powers to do so.
Telling hard hit businesses to stay closed for another month or more isnt something Ford wants to do. At his news conference last Friday, Ford spoke of his worries of opening schools, seeing a jump in cases and in his words, going backwards.

  1. LILLEY: Ford isn’t ready to open schools at this point
  2. Premier Doug Ford announces Ontario’s ‘slow, measured’ reopening plan
  3. Ford extends Ontario stay-at-home order to June 2

Folks, do you want to go backwards again? I dont. I want to look forward. I want to make sure looking forward that were able to get the kids in camp. I want to look forward to make sure we have a great September for the kids to go back into school, Ford said.
Thats the closest hes come to delivering the news, schools arent reopening.
Its time he told the public straight up.
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