STF and Education Critic weigh in on return to school update

Both the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation and Education Critic Carla Beck quickly weighed in on the Government of Saskatchewan’s Safe Schools Plan: Level Two Guidance, which was released on Tuesday.

The STF statement reads as follows:

“The Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation remains concerned about the inconsistency between school re-opening plans and the guidelines provided in other sectors. The guidelines that have been suggested to school divisions today are only effective if applied consistently.

‘In a time of crisis, we should be able to rely on public health directives, rather than suggestions, to ensure a healthy and safe return to school. We had hoped for a more definitive response and consistent approach across the province,’ said Patrick Maze, President of the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation.

‘Planning and implementation will also be extremely challenging given that there are only three weeks until school starts.’

Despite these concerns, the Federation is committed to working with our partners to help ensure a safe and successful school re-opening.”

Education Critic Carla Beck added the following statement:

“After the latest update from the Education Minister today, I continue to be astounded by this government’s complete lack of planning for a safe return to schools.

The Minister of Education announced further potential measures that divisions might choose to enforce for the upcoming school year. Let us be clear: further guidance is badly needed, but the guidance they’ve provided so far is not nearly enough. Parents still do not know when, and under what conditions, mask use will be mandatory.

Saskatchewan parents, students, teachers, and school-based staff are still stuck with the worst plan in the country.

Saskatchewan families have done what has been asked of them during the pandemic. The least we expect is a real plan to get our kids back to school safely. It is incredibly frustrating that once again the government has chosen to direct school divisions to “find creative solutions” rather to provide clear guidance or funding on cohorting and physical distancing.

The track record of the Premier and the Minister of Education on schools, even before COVID-19, is one of underfunding and overcrowding. The kids in this province deserve so much better than this government’s failed return to school plan.

I have called on the Minister to reconvene the Human Resources Committee to hear expert testimony for a real plan that puts school safety first. We must get this right.”