NDP says ‘alarm bells are ringing’ for parents sending children to school in the fall

The NDP Education Critic was joined by Elya Lam Wednesday who cited three specific concerns about sending two of her children back to class this fall. Lam is former teacher with the Saskatoon Public School Division who points out that stringent rules are in place for businesses trying to reopen but if you read the document provided by the government for educators and children going back to class in the fall, schools aren’t being held to those same standards.

She says the document uses words like “consider” and “you may wish to” when talking about physical distancing and PPE.

“Goes so far as to say physical distancing is not practical. It goes so far as to say that masks are not required by staff and we know all of the research, all of the information that we have been receiving from the government as general citizens, as a general population, says physical distancing works. Personal protective equipment and mask wearing works.”

She also believes temporary additional funding would alleviate situations like student inequity pointing to guidelines which indicate children must provide their own hand sanitizer. Lam says that their yearly supply list often indicates things like wipes and tissues but that one in four students in the province lives below the poverty line. Lam believes a safe and healthy school environment is a right for all of the children of Saskatchewan and she ponders who will cover to the shortfall to make sure all children have access to the same safety and hygiene supplies.

Finally, Lam takes issue with school divisions being tasked with developing illness specific procedure with precautions for COVID-19.

“School divisions and teachers are not medical professionals. These kind of COVID specific guidelines need to be created by medical professionals within the Saskatchewan Health Authority and then they need to be mandated across the province.”

Lam says without provincially mandated guidelines and protocols the kids in class and the school staff at the mercy of their particular school division and how risk averse they are.


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