REGINA – Today Carla Beck, Official Opposition Critic for Education, sent the Minister of Education Dustin Duncan a letter urgently calling on the government to prioritize – with actions rather than words – keeping schools open, keeping staff and students in the schools safe, and getting community transmission under control.
“They need a plan. It’s become painfully obvious that the ‘sit and wait’ approach this government has taken, rather than implementing proactive science-based measures, is not working,” said Beck. “This pandemic has already taken an immense toll on students and widened the disparities between them. This government needs to do something to ensure we get VoCs under control so that we can get students and teachers back into the classroom and save the rest of the school year.”
Variants of Concern have begun to spread rapidly, forcing more and more school divisions online. This has caused concerns among parents and teachers about the lack of resources accessible to students and families as they shift back to remote learning.
The Official Opposition is urging the Minister and this Sask. Party government to:
- Work with school divisions to identify students who do not have access to online learning tools, provide additional support and resources as needed.
- Work with the Minister responsible for SaskTel to ensure immediate access to internet for all students and staff in the province.
- Use the Easter Break and subsequent weeks of online learning to finally get rapid testing off the ground.
- Work with Public Health officials to reassess the Safe Schools Plan to ensure it is adequate in mitigating risks from Variants of Concern.
- Work across ministries to ensure that children who have additional and complex needs receive the supports that they need while away from their classrooms and in-school supports.
- Expand access to timely mental health supports to youth and school staff.