The Leader of the Official Opposition is calling on Premier Higgs and Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development Dominic Cardy to provide some indication of whether students will be going back to school in person January 31, and what they are doing to ensure it is safe.
“The unknown is the worst enemy a parent can have when it comes to the health and safety of their child” says Official Opposition Leader Roger Melanson. “Plans are being released last minute, changes are being made regularly, and parents are not being adequately informed. Can the Minister provide any indication of what is being done at the moment to prepare for January 31?”
With the province still struggling with the rapid spread of the Omicron variant, the interim Liberal Leader believes a virtual meeting with the New Brunswick Teachers Association, the Association des Enseignants et Enseignantes Francophone du Nouveau-Brunswick and the New Brunswick Teacher’s Federation must be held to discuss what measures can be taken to ensure the facilities are safe for students and staff.
“Teachers have been working through this pandemic and have seen the realities of different measures and different levels of restrictions. They could provide valuable insight on what can realistically be done to make schools a safe place to learn and work,” says Melanson. “Parents are becoming increasingly anxious facing the unknown. Premier Higgs and Minister Cardy must meet with the NBTA, AEFNB and the NBTF within the next 48 hour in order to develop a solid plan in the best interest of our students and present it to parents within a reasonable timeframe.”
While virtual education is a valuable tool to have, many students can be at a disadvantaged based on factors like the quality of internet available, and other challenges to learning.
“We know it is generally in the best interest of a child’s education and mental health for them to be at school. What investments has the Minister of Education done to increase the safety of New Brunswick schools so that students can get back in the classroom?” questions Benoît Bourque, Official Opposition critic for Education and Early Childhood development.