NDP leader questions government’s leadership regarding testing, mask use and plan to reopen schools

Ryan Meili said on Thursday afternoon that Saskatchewan’s rising new cases of COVID-19 are “extremely concerning.”

This was after the provincial government announced 38 new cases of COVID-19 and one new death for a provincial total of 18. The leader of the official opposition mentioned that Thursday’s numbers put Saskatchewan at the highest weekly-per-capita average of COVID-19 cases in Canada with two thirds the national testing average.

Meili said it’s time for Premier Scott Moe to step up to the challenge in three main ways: testing, masks and a plan for schools this fall.

When discussing testing, he said the government needs to be more transparent about what’s happening by including the number of people waiting on tests and the average time they wait.

“We continue to hear every day about people who are waiting five to eight days or more to get a test done,” explained Meili. “They are waiting days just to get an appointment or a callback on a test.”

Meili targeted Premier Scott Moe when talking about a failure in recommending mask use to residents in the province. He said the premier has been very reluctant to promote it in any meaningful way.

“We saw Donald Trump put on a mask before Scott Moe did. He has been that reluctant to actually get out in front of this and model what needs to be done,” he stated.

“Let’s get those current guidelines and get some support to make sure when people are using masks, it’s actually available, accessible and affordable.”

The NDP is also calling on the government to provide a concrete plan for the safe return to schools for students and staff this fall.

Meili said schools will soon be welcoming back staff and students, yet a solid plan has not been laid out by the province’s ministries of education and health.

“We’re only three weeks out from people starting to go back into school buildings and getting ready. We’re a month out from kids returning back to school. But we still have no communication,” added Meili.

“Every parent I’m talking to is saying, ‘when am I going to hear from my school?’ Well, the schools are waiting to hear from the government.”

Guidelines for schools were released by the ministry of education on June 18. The government is set to announce finalized kindergarten to grade 12 education plans after the August long weekend.

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