Posted on Sep 9, 2020
AS COVID CASES SURGE IN SCHOOLS, IT’S NOT TOO LATE TO CAP CLASS SIZES
EDMONTON - With cases of COVID-19 confirmed in at least 20 schools, the Official Opposition strongly urges the government to act immediately, cap class sizes, and physically distance Alberta students.
“Students, staff, families and communities are alarmed at the number of COVID cases in schools in just the first week,” said Sarah Hoffman, NDP Official Opposition Critic for Education. “This is particularly troubling given Jason Kenney’s and Adriana LaGrange’s failure to take action to keep our students physically distanced.”
Cases have been reported in schools across the province from Raymond to Fort Vermillion, in urban and rural communities. The Opposition is calling on the provincial government to provide daily online reporting of school cases.
The principal of Bowness High School in Calgary released a passionate statement on social media following detection of COVID-19 in her school.
“This is your fault, Jason. This is your fault, Adriana,” the principal wrote. “Why don’t you come and visit us this week to show your support? Wear a mask and sanitize your hands on the way in. I would love to have you sit in a typical classroom and follow a student for the day to understand the impact of your ignorant decisions.”
The NDP Official Opposition has presented the government with a detailed plan for re-opening, Safe Schools, Successful Students. The plan contains 15 recommendations to protect students, families, staff and communities. The first recommendation is to cap class sizes at 15 so that two-metre physical distancing can be possible.
“The premier claimed this isn’t about money, and that if we needed additional resources to ensure the safe re-entry of schools that resources would be made available,” said Hoffman. “It’s time for him to keep that promise — today.”
“It is not too late for the government to act. This first week has gone badly, but there’s still time to prevent the coming weeks from being worse. The government must immediately provide schools with the resources they need to staff up and spread out.”