July 28, 2020
Treaty 1 Territory, Winnipeg, MB – Official Opposition Leader Wab Kinew, along with members of his caucus and concerned parents, presented the Official Opposition’s plan to keep students and educators safe when returning to school this September. The Opposition’s plan calls on the Pallister government to invest additional Education funding in order to cap class sizes at 15 students,
“The Pallister government has so far failed to lay out a plan that ensures we have enough teachers and EAs to keep classrooms small, so children can physically distance and get the one-on-one attention they deserve,” said Kinew. “After four years of cuts to public schools and massive layoffs of educators and support staff, our classrooms are crowded and our teachers are overworked. Our plan makes real investments to help keep kids safe, support teachers and educators, and protect schools against a COVID-19 outbreak.”
Kinew’s plan focuses on capping class sizes at 15 students to ensure physical distancing and help students get the one-on-one attention they need after months of remote learning. To accomplish this cap on class sizes, Kinew called on the province to spend $50M to hire 400 additional teachers over the next school year. He urged the province to make a $130M commitment to strengthen schools’ infrastructure by expanding classrooms and buying more busses to ensure student transportation services can resume. The NDP called on the Manitoba government to follow practices being developed in other provinces to use alternative spaces like community halls, libraries and vacant business spaces to help keep students distanced.
Zilla Jones, a local parent with two young children, commended the Official Opposition for putting together a plan that allows students to return to school while keeping them safe.
“As a parent to two young kids, I know distance learning can’t replace in-person school. My kids learn better and feel happier when they are in the classroom with their friends and teachers,” said Jones. “I support this plan because it charts a path for students to return to school but still be in a safe and healthy environment. I want the provincial government to seriously consider these ideas and make the investments necessary to protect Manitoba kids.”