Hundreds of Manitoba parents sign letter to province urging action in schools
WINNIPEG -- More than 900 Manitoba parents have signed an open letter to Premier Brian Pallister and Education Minister Kelvin Goertzen, urging them to respond to the COVID-19 crisis in the province’s schools.
“We want the government to support our teachers and keep everyone safe,” said Shawna Farris from Parents for Public Engagement MB and one of the letter’s organizers.
The letter, dated Nov. 22, says the parents stand with and support the demands of the Manitoba Teachers’ Society.
“Manitoba educators have been very clear about what they need to safely sustain education in our province during this pandemic, and we want to be just as clear,” the letter states.
The open letter calls on the government to fulfill the following demands:
1. Take direction from the Manitoba Teachers’ Society. Use the federal funding designated for COVID-19 education supports, and provide provincial funding to support the province’s K-12 schools;
2. Do not exempt teachers from self-isolating when one of their family members is symptomatic or when waiting for COVID-19 test results;
3. Provide the appropriate personal protective equipment for education workers;
4. Fast-track COVID-19 test results for teachers; and
5. Provide sustainable and manageable coordination of in-class and remote learning.
“We consider that the above are reasonable requests, and we will be watching to see how our government responds to keep our children, our educators, and our communities as safe as possible in the remaining days of this crisis,” the letter says.
Farris said that throughout the fall parents have seen the teachers working extremely hard with both in-class and remote learning.
“If the schools are safe, it’s not because of what the government’s doing, it’s because of what the teachers and our educators are doing,” she said.
“They are running themselves ragged to do this.”
Farris added the Manitoba Teachers’ Society and educators have shown leadership, and it’s time for the government to “support the work that they’re doing.”
The letter was signed by more than 900 parents with school-aged kids from 58 communities and 28 school divisions across Manitoba.
CTV News Winnipeg has reached out to the province for comment.
- With files from CTV's Nicole Dube.