QUEEN’S PARK — NDP Education critic Marit Stiles says families need to see a concrete plan for students that assumes kids can’t return to class in the near future.
“Keeping kids at home during the pandemic is the right thing to do,” said Stiles. “But as it becomes clearer that schools will be closed for weeks to come, students and parents have a long list of questions that haven’t been answered, and every board has been left to fend for themselves.”
At this time of uncertainty the province must provide clarity. The minister must issue clear directions, including the government’s position on the following:
- Final grades — Grade 12 students need answers about how their final grade will be determined and what impact that will have on their post-secondary plans.
- Special needs supports — Parents need extra supports to get special needs students through the next few weeks at home.
- Access to internet-connected devices — The government must work hand-in-hand with school boards to provide access to computers at home especially to those families facing economic challenges, and explain what will be done for students who don’t have access to a decent internet connection at home.
“It’s time to see a blueprint from the government for students that lets everyone know what to expect if schools can’t open again for a number of weeks,” said Stiles.
Stiles also urged the government to begin planning for the longer term.
“Parents, students and educators need assurances from the government that it will provide the supports that will be needed when school returns,” said Stiles. “We can’t pretend it will be business as usual. Teachers will need to help students catch up, and many students will need extra support — including support from child and youth workers as well as guidance and educational assistants.”