OHS Canada Magazine

COVID-19 in schools inevitable, cost to reduce class sizes unrealistic: Kenney

Premier says cost to cut Alberta class sizes in half would be $4 billion


September 2, 2020
By The Canadian Press
The Canadian Press
Categories
Health & Safety
By Lauren Krugel

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says he’s accepted all along that COVID-19 infections in schools are inevitable and that’s no reason to keep classrooms shuttered.

His remarks come after a school in Okotoks, south of Calgary, delayed its planned reopening because a staff member was diagnosed with the novel coronavirus.

At another school in Calgary, the principal, assistant principal and administrative secretary were forced into a 14-day quarantine after someone at the school tested positive.

Kenney says the province’s chief medical health officer, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, did not come up with school safety guidelines arbitrarily but based decisions on the most up-to-date research.

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He says Education Minister Adriana LaGrange will announce Wednesday how $260 million in federal money for schools is to be spent.

He estimates it would cost $4 billion to cut class sizes in half, so calls to do so are actually proposals to keep schools shut.

“We appreciate the additional federal funding, but there is no world in which you could reduce class sizes in half and reopen the schools for the current school year,” Kenney said.

“It’s simply fictitious. It has nothing to do with reality.”