Posted on Jul 22, 2020


EDMONTON - Parents, teachers, students and educational workers are raising alarm bells after Premier Kenney and UCP Education Minister Adriana LaGrange announced a plan to send students back to school with no limit on class sizes, no additional teachers or support staff, and no funding for additional public health measures as COVID-19 cases across Alberta continue to rise. 

“There is a way to send kids back to school safely but, the plan the UCP put forward yesterday isn’t going to cut it,” said Sarah Hoffman, NDP Education Critic. 

Outcry from parents, teachers, education workers, and students was immediate after the UCP announced no limit to class sizes, and no new funding to support school re-entry. 

Justin Swanson, a teacher at Lillian Osbourne High School, said “This minister’s plan has very little substance in regards to safety procedures for myself and my students and does not prove nearly enough funding, in a time when our funding is already stretched dangerously thin.”

Carmyn Effa, a teacher at High School at Lillian Osborne, said “I love my job and I miss my students - but without investing time and money to devise a safe back to school strategy, this fall will be a disaster. It's not fear-mongering to say my working conditions will be very unsafe.”

Alexandria Fortin, a student from Lacombe, said “my mom has had asthma my whole life. I have had to separate from her when there were fires and heavy smoke, and I don’t want to leave her again...and now at almost 18, I might have to make the decision to leave home and finish my last year of high school away from her.”

Jon Vradenburgh, a custodian and president of CUPE 474, who has worked in Alberta schools for 25 years, said “it is unreasonable, unless you are the Flash or Superman, to expect Custodial staff to do "more" cleaning.  Schools are staffed at a level that provides for basic or much less, cleaning now.”

Anahi Hirtle, a teacher for students with specialized needs, said “This government hasn’t showed that they care enough to attempt to keep my student and me staff...someone needs to stand-up to the ignorance that is shown by the UCP government through their inaction to protect my students.

Thursday, Alberta’s NDP Official Opposition will release its own proposed safe re-entry plan that will include, among other things, a call for a 15-student class size limit and additional resources for teachers and educational assistants.