Sask. NDP worried about economy if COVID-19 outbreak occurs in schools

The Saskatchewan NDP is calling on the provincial government to change its back-to-school plan, in order to protect students and staff, and help the province’s economic recovery.

NDP Finance Critic Trent Wotherspoon says that in order to keep the economy moving forward, schools need to reopen safely.

“If the Sask. Party fails the test to reopen schools in a safe way, and if the virus spreads in a significant way, we’re going to be dealing with a forced economic shutdown again,” said Wotherspoon. “And this is something that workers, and local businesses simply can’t afford.

Wotherspoon says that the government needs to make sure the funding is there to have the proper PPE and cleaning supplies that will be needed to run schools safely.

He adds that the lack of funding before the pandemic, has made it that much tougher for school divisions.

“Classrooms and school divisions were underfunded going into COVID-19, many in terrible strain and many at a breaking point,” said Wotherspoon. “Now with dealing with COVID-19, they’re in just such a serious shortfall of the dollars they need to address the challenges they face.”

Wotherspoon repeated his party’s criticism of the back-to-school plan, saying it has a lot of people worried.

“We’re hearing from teacher after teacher, parent after parent, grandparent after grandparent, that the plan presented by the Sask. Party, well it’s no plan at all,” said Wotherspoon. “It’s fully inadequate to ensure the safety of our kids, and its beyond reckless, it’s a threat to lives and livelihoods.”

Wotherspoon pointed to the latest jobs figures that show that there are 28,800 fewer jobs in Saskatchewan than this time last year to underscore just how precarious the economy is to further job losses.

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