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Back to School concerns still not addressed as deadline looms: Petten
Petten says he continues to hear concern for the safety of staff and students as the deadline looms to resume in person instruction.
Wednesday, January 19, 2022

(January 19, 2022) – Barry Petten, PC Official Opposition Shadow Minister of Education and MHA for Conception Bay South, says he continues to hear concern for the safety of staff and students as the deadline looms to resume in person instruction.

“Everyone in the province wants in-person instruction to resume – but only when it is safe to do so for everyone involved. Government and the school district have to ensure proper measures have been put in place to accommodate those who cannot return to school in person,” said Petten.

Petten noted government had indicated a target date of January 24 for full resumption of in-class instruction, which is this coming Monday. However, parents, teachers and staff have raised concerns given we are still at Alert Level 4 with increasing hospitalization rates.

Furthermore, Petten continues to hear concerns about the availability of N95 masks for teachers and staff, contact tracing and proper notification for the school community and public, sanitization procedures and the lack of substitute teachers.

“I have heard from numerous parents who are still waiting to get their child a second dose of the COVID 19 vaccine, and will not be sending their child back to school next week regardless. How is Government going to ensure these children are not left behind?” said Petten.

Petten noted many children immunocompromised or may have parents, such as healthcare workers, who are isolating and must also stay home. Petten has been steadfast in his belief that children should have an online option hand-in-hand with in-person education.

“We are two years into COVID 19 and it is simply not acceptable that the department cannot pivot to a blended or hybrid model to ensure every child receives an education. We must do better.”

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