REGINA - In light of mounting distress about the upcoming school year and evidence Saskatchewan is entering the fourth wave of the pandemic, Official Opposition Critic for Education Carla Beck today called for mandatory vaccination for school staff and a real plan to keep kids safe.
Saskatchewan currently leads the country in COVID-19 test positivity rates, has the lowest first and second dose vaccination rates in the nation and has seen a doubling of active cases in just the last two weeks. Meanwhile, the Sask. Party’s current back-to-school plan is to “proceed as during pre-pandemic years.”
“The COVID-19 situation in our province is light years from pre-pandemic years. To be two weeks before kids are back in classrooms and have the premier, the health minister and the education minister missing in action isn’t just irresponsible, it’s dangerous” said Beck. “Climbing case rates in school-aged children signal the coming school year could be lethal. We need urgent action now.”
Beck called for a comprehensive return-to-school plan that includes:
- COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all teachers and school staff before October 1.
- Thresholds to trigger masking, testing, and remote learning protocols.
- Vaccine eligibility for all children born in 2009.
- In-school vaccination clinics.
- Clear and consistent information and direction from public health experts.
“It is absolute madness to have no plan. No contingencies for outbreaks, no plan for rapid testing, no guidance on isolating if a child or teacher gets sick,” said NDP Leader Ryan Meili. “There is so much anxiety out there, but Scott Moe is completely missing in action. Our premier’s truancy has failed everyone.”