Posted on Jul 20, 2020


EDMONTON - UCP Education Minister Adriana LaGrange has made it clear in a letter to Alberta teachers that she will provide no additional funding or supports to support a safe reopening during the COVID-19 pandemic, a move the NDP Official Opposition says is unfathomable given the ongoing risk to public health.

In a July 14 letter to the Alberta Teachers’ Association, LaGrange says schools and teachers will be responsible to cover the cost of personal protective equipment, sanitation supplies, modifications to ensure proper distancing, and other costs associated with school re-entry.

“There is no economic recovery without safe schools that parents can feel confident sending their kids to,” said NDP Education Critic Sarah Hoffman. “Anxieties are high. Parents and teachers are desperately looking for support from this government so they can keep these kids safe when they go back to school.

“I don’t think there’s a parent in the province that thinks it’s fair that this government is willing to hand over billions of dollars to profitable corporations while short-changing their kids and our classrooms.”

Earlier this year, Minister LaGrange announced three different scenarios for school re-entry. The first would include “near normal operations with health measures.” The second scenario would see classes partially resume, and the third would see at-home learning continue. 

“Every scenario proposed by the UCP will result in increased costs for parents or school boards or both,” said Sarah Hoffman. “After two consecutive budgets that cut funding to education, schools will struggle to take on these costs and may be forced to download them to parents. That’s not fair.”

Alberta’s NDP Official Opposition is calling on the UCP to commit to funding sanitation and safety measures properly. We need to ensure the safety of students and staff heading back to school in September. The NDP will release a report with further recommendations in the coming days.