We all know that this is not a normal September. It has been a long time since our children have been in the classroom, and this school year will be like nothing we have ever seen before.
Typically, at this time of year, families are concerned with getting new school supplies, making sure their kids know when to get on the bus, and other normal back-to-school activities.
This year, families are worried about much more. They are worried about who is going to stay home with their child if they need to stay home from school, they are worried about making sure they have enough masks to get through the week, and most importantly, they are worried about their children’s health and safety.
Although this is a brand-new situation, and governments around the world are tying to figure out how to get children back safely, the Manitoba government has done little to quell the concerns of families.
In the North, we might be far away from the COVID-19 hotspots in Manitoba, but like we have seen in the Prairie Mountain Health region, communities can go from zero to dozens of cases very quickly.
The “new money” recently announced will not be available for most schools for months. The application process for schools to access the new money requires school administrators to jump through even more hoops and focus on paperwork, when we want their focus to be on safety and implementing measures now.
What families really want is the promise of smaller class sizes to ensure social distancing is possible. Schools need more than just a cash injection; they need help finding more classroom space and more teachers.
Even during the biggest public health crisis we have seen in recent memory, the Manitoba government is prioritizing optics and pleasing voters over implementing a high-quality plan that would keep children and school staff safe.
I have been hearing concerns from many constituents that they were disappoint with the townhall the Pallister government did. They did not answer many questions and answered none from the north. Unlike the PCs I want to hear from northerners so I will be hosting a virtual townhall via Zoom to hear concerns on the back-to-school plan Sep. 3. If you’d like to participate, please email my office at email@example.com to register.