Saskatchewan NDP Leader Ryan Meili called on Premier Scott Moe to apologize to Saskatchewan families for the anxiety and stress caused by his failure to plan for the safe return of kids to school in September, and act quickly to address the resulting chaos.
“Parents deserve a real plan that lets us send our kids back to school with confidence,” said Meili. “Instead of taking responsibility for his own failures, the Premier told children as young as six to take ‘personal responsibility’ for their own safety in schools. The Premier should take some of his own medicine, show some personal responsibility, and apologize for his failure to come up with a plan to safely reopen schools over the past few months.”
Meili noted that the NDP pressed the government in June to immediately allocate funding to reduce class sizes and allow school divisions and teachers to prepare for the school year. Instead, the government pointed repeatedly to a $200 million contingency fund, from which the government only yesterday took $40 million, too late to avert a delayed return to school. The NDP has presented seven key measures that a safe school reopening plan needed to address, including smaller class sizes, dedicated funding, clear guidance on outbreaks, and provisions for alternate and distance learning.
“I said in June and I say again today: our kids are not a contingency,” said Meili. “There is nothing that the Premier announced yesterday that could not have been made available in June to allow school divisions the time to plan, to hire new staff and to communicate with parents. The announcement yesterday that a fraction of the contingency fund was being allocated to education does nowhere enough to ease people’s concerns and address the needs of students and families.
“The Premier’s failure to take school reopening seriously has created chaos. This premier is refusing to learn from his mistakes. He should apologize for his failures and do what it takes to make it right, with clear actions on class size, mask use and outbreak prevention.”