For Immediate Release
14 January, 2021
NL NDP Interim Leader and MHA for St. John’s Centre, Jim Dinn, is questioning government’s approach to school re-opening two years into the pandemic while basic understandings of how Covid-19, and other airborne viruses spread, are being ignored. Dinn’s concerns come as the government pushes to re-open schools with no plan to mitigate known distancing or clean air in our school communities. This situation is putting our school communities at risk and adding unnecessary stress.
“We all agree that in-class learning is most beneficial for developing minds, but we cannot let that be the sole decision factor to the safe re-opening of schools,” said Dinn. “With every variant of Covid-19 we have consistently been told that physical distancing and mechanical ventilation are necessary for schools to be safe, healthy environments. We are two years into the pandemic and have seen no commitment to clean air in our schools. This government just doesn’t get it, and we’re bound to repeat this cycle.”
Dinn points to teachers who have been working hard to maintain connections with students and further their education during virtual learning lockdowns, and who are concerned that a hasty re-opening exposes their students to known risks, with no mitigation plan. Dinn says this ignorance with respect to education is doing a disservice to the future leaders of our province, and shows the lack of respect this government has for school communities.
“We all want to see schools return to in-person learning. We all want schools to again become that safe space for students – but that should not be rushed, seemingly for the sake of employers who want their workforce physically back in the office. We cannot ignore what public health has been telling us for two years,” said Dinn. “We need investments in education. Covid-19 showed us the vulnerabilities left from decades of successive governments. Show me the plan that addresses well known health risks, like physical distancing and clean air in our schools. That is what the children and youth of our province deserve.”
For further information, contact Eddy St. Coeur, Director of Communications, NDP Caucus at 729-2137 (o), or firstname.lastname@example.org