For Immediate Release
20 January, 2022
Responding to the province’s back to school announcement NL NDP Interim Leader Jim Dinn applauds government for taking a priority focus to make schools the first to open and the last to close. The St. John’s Centre MHA has concerns that government will ignore the risks built by successive governments, like overcrowding in the classrooms, and a failure to invest in infrastructure like mechanical ventilation to ensure clean air in schools pose for future variant outbreaks of COVID-19, and other airborne illnesses.
“The physical and mental health, and safety of our school communities is a priority for all of us,” said Dinn. “My concern is that the government is taking the milder health impacts of the Omicron variant on a younger age group, and highly vaccinated populations, to change how we perceive the current risk and ignore that our classrooms are overcrowded, they do not have appropriate ventilation.
“Omicron appears to be giving us the breathing room to plan and prepare for the future. I hope this government doesn’t squander that window and we don’t forget how successive governments allowed this to become the state of our education system.”
The NL NDP is concerned that the province has not secured a supply of KN-95 masks for school communities. Unlike N-95 masks which are in limited supply and reserved for healthcare workers in specific scenarios, KN-95 provide greater protection than cloth masks, and are available at local major retailers.
“If retailers like Costco can provide a supply of KN-95 for bulk sale, it’s confusing to me that the province hasn’t secured these masks knowing the school re-opening is going to increase contacts and case exposure for students and school staff.”
For further information, contact Eddy St. Coeur, Director of Communications, NDP Caucus at 729-2137 (o), or firstname.lastname@example.org