NDP: Education funding needed now to protect kids

Physician Town Hall shows record pediatric hospitalizations

REGINA - Today, Education Critic Carla Beck called for more provincial funding to school divisions, as new information from the Saskatchewan Health Authority shows a record number of children and youth were in the hospital with COVID-19 last week.

“Every fall, divisions are left wondering if funding will be clawed back once enrollment numbers are counted. Schools need every penny they’ve got in normal years, nevermind during a pandemic,” said Beck. “On top of committing to no mid-year clawbacks, the Minister needs to provide increased resources to support contact tracing and measures that are proven to keep students safe.”

The most recent Saskatchewan Health Authority Physician Town Hall shows that Saskatchewan’s COVID-19 admissions are at an all-time high. 17 kids were in hospital last week, 15 of which were under 12 years old and currently ineligible for protection from vaccines. This week the Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation called for additional measures in light of breakthrough infections among fully vaccinated staff, contact tracing pressures and inconsistency in isolation and outbreak requirements.

“Throughout the pandemic, the Premier and his Education Minister have minimized the very real risk COVID-19 posed to our kids. Treating this school year like any other without a back-to-school plan was clearly a mistake,” said Beck. “We are so close to getting kids under 12 vaccinated. This government must act now to keep kids safe until we cross that finish line.”

The Sask. NDP also reiterated calls for: 

  • Closing isolation loopholes in schools and childcare settings
  • Vaccination requirements for school staff
  • A roll-out plan and registry for vaccines for kids under 12
  • Clear thresholds for cohorting, hybrid and online learning