Jeff Burch MPP, Niagara Centre

Government of Ontario

Burch demands minister take action to stop COVID outbreaks in Niagara schools

Published on October 7, 2021

QUEEN’S PARK – The minister of education must take action now to stop COVID infections in Niagara schools. Outbreaks have already shut down 15 classrooms and made an entire family with small children very sick, said NDP MPP Jeff Burch (Niagara Centre) during question period Thursday.

“Haley Bateman and her family did everything right. They did their part, got vaccinated, observed all the COVID-19 guidelines,” Burch told the legislature. “Just three days into school, Haley and her partner received a notice that there was a COVID-19 exposure in their child’s classroom. A few days later, the entire family was ill.

“Haley’s three children are 4, 4, and 5. Their symptoms were not mild, and ranged from vomiting, fevers of 40, extreme fatigue and hallucinations. Haley believes that her children were exposed through an unvaccinated staff member. Haley said that no one will take accountability for the policy failures that led to her children becoming so ill and she said, ‘in the end, only children are left with the consequences of the adults in charge.'

“Will the minister take responsibility, listen to families like Haley’s and implement common-sense proposals to ensure no more children get ill at school?”

Burch said Haley’s children are also missing weeks of school and that her family’s case is not the only one in Niagara. There are 15 classrooms closed in the District School Board of Niagara after COVID-19 cases were identified.

“Children under 12 cannot get vaccinated, our class sizes are still overwhelmingly large, and this government is continuing to put our children at risk by not mandating vaccines for education workers,” said Burch. “We are 19 months into the pandemic, nine months into the life-saving vaccine. We have the tools to ensure children like Haley’s don’t suffer, but this government continues its barrage of cuts.

“The minster needs to step up, do the right thing, and make schools safer with smaller class sizes, improved ventilation and mandatory vaccinations for teachers and education workers.”