Carla Beck, education critic with the Saskatchewan NDP, admitted it’s exciting news that students and staff from pre-kindergarten to grade 12 will return to in-classroom learning in the fall. However, she hopes the provincial government will provide enough direction and resources to ensure there is a safe reintroduction in September.
The NDP is calling on the province to commit additional funds for schools divisions, ensure adequate supports and address class sizes as part of their guidelines for when in-person learning resumes during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Education Minister Gordon Wyant announced on Tuesday that those guidelines will be released as early as next week. Beck said it’s important for the government to shoulder some of the finances associated with the new guidelines.
“School divisions do not have any room in their budgets to incur additional costs, and we know that teachers and staffs in schools already have enough on their plates,” she explained. “We can’t be tasking them with a bunch of additional duties without resources.”
In terms of class sizes in Saskatchewan schools, Beck said this is a good opportunity for the Ministry of Education to offer a solution for crowded classrooms in order to ensure a safe reopening.
The NDP has committed to having no kindergarten to grade three classrooms exceed more than 24 students.