Posted on Apr 30, 2021


EDMONTON – Jason Kenney and the UCP government must immediately launch an Alberta Learn From Home Fund to support the students sent home because of his failure to keep schools safe.


Over the past two weeks, more than 190,000 students have been sent home from school due to rising cases of COVID-19 in their communities. Yesterday, Jason Kenney announced that Grades 7 through 12 would be moved to online learning in Edmonton, Calgary, Grande Prairie, Red Deer, Lethbridge, Airdrie, Fort McMurray and Strathcona County effective Monday.


“Let’s be clear, the decision to close schools and send tens of thousands of kids home was not made yesterday, it was made months ago when Jason Kenney refused to act,” said Education Critic Sarah Hoffman. “I feel deeply for all the children and parents who are going to have to try and make this work, enduring more hardship and stress simply because the Premier can’t be trusted to do the right thing.”


The NDP Caucus is calling on Jason Kenney to immediately adopt the recommendations of its report ‘Safe Schools, Successful Students Addendum: A Plan for 2021’ released last December, the most urgent of which is the creation of an Alberta Learn From Home Fund. Under this fund, Alberta families who have spent at least two months learning from home during the 2020-2021 school year would receive $500 per student, and $750 per student with special needs, to support their online learning.


Parents across the province are voicing their frustration. Red Deer parent Jessica Schurman has a son in Grade 8. She said school is a constant and steady routine for children facing a difficult time.


“Now my son is home but that brings so many of its own challenges. It is so hard on students. Yesterday’s announcement came with no warning and now families will be scrambling to prepare for at-home learning again, she said “I support the NDP’s call for a Learn From Home fund. Parents like myself need help.”


“Jason Kenney’s waffling on these things has been so frustrating to watch,” added Lethbridge parent Jennifer Morneau, who has a daughter in Grade 7. “His decision now is going to cause tremendous stress for my daughter as school is her only social outlet. It didn’t have to come to this.”


Lethbridge has been facing rising cases for weeks. NDP Finance Critic and Lethbridge-West MLA Shannon Phillips said if Kenney had taken the precautions, we would not be forced into this situation today.


“When you combine this with Jason Kenney’s failure to deliver paid sick leave, which he promised to do, it’s an incredible level of stress on working families,” said Phillips. “I think Jason Kenney has quietly dropped his promise of “the greatest summer ever” and I can tell you, this is going to be a brutal springtime for families and businesses here in Lethbridge.”