Group: Over 11,000 Nova Scotians demand a safe Back-to-School plan

Press release from N.S. Families for public education

HALIFAX: In one week, a petition from Nova Scotian parents, families, and concerned citizens has garnered over 11,000 signatures. The petition demands a safe back-to-school plan that adheres to current Federal Public Health guidelines.

“We all want children back in public school. However, we want this return to happen safely and in a way that reduces the risk to children, educators, and staff and the chance of wider community spread of COVID-19. We have been putting pressure on the government of Nova Scotia to amend the current plan.”

” With less than one week before the school year begins, our requests are still left unanswered by our elected representatives. The petition lists a comprehensive set of demands and changes to the government’s current plan.”

A copy of the petition can be found here.

“We are concerned citizens, committed community members, advocates for public education, and progressive taxpayers who are socially, politically, and economically invested in accessible and enabling education. As such, we have a right to demand a back-to-school plan that is SAFE and that will support all children in Nova Scotia.

“Rather than diminish or disavow what are substantial concerns, the government should listen to those it represents. We are still waiting for answers to a number of basic questions: Why is the government of Nova Scotia saying kids in schools should socially distance “if possible” instead of implementing changes to MAKE it possible and ensure it happens?

“Why at the outset of the school year has there been no plan or policy for remote/online learning for those who need to, or choose to, stay home. How will children return to school safely without any clear plans for those who have to isolate due to suspected or confirmed COVID-19? What does this mean for families, classmates, teachers, and staff?

“Why has the government responded in a paternalistic and decidedly vague way with generic responses to letters and emails that have expressed concerns about policies, protocols, and public safety measures intended to protect the health and wellbeing of school-age children? All people in Nova Scotia deserve better. They deserve a plan that is safe, proactive, and flexible and that aims to prevent the spread of COVID-19 from the beginning.

“The “wait and see” approach is wholly inadequate and a disservice to some of our most essential demographics–our young people.”