Alberta Teachers’ Association president Jason Schilling is demanding to meet with Education Minister Adriana LaGrange to discuss the province’s return-to-school plan. Contributed photo

ATA president ‘demands’ to meet with education minister to discuss re-entry plan

The president of the Alberta Teachers’ Association is demanding to meet with Education Minister Adriana LaGrange to discuss the province’s return-to-school plan.

On Saturday, the ATA released a statement saying there are “serious problems with the government’s deficient plan” amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Teachers are worried. And they do not have confidence in the minister or her plans to reopen schools. They made it clear they expect the minister to be talking with the ATA and listening genuinely to the concerns of teachers,” ATA president Jason Schilling said in the statement.

“Teachers are focused on solutions. The number one priority of teachers right now is to ensure that the re-entry to schools is done as safely as possible. Teachers recognize that this is only possible when the ATA and government are working together on a plan that serves the health and safety interests of students, teachers, all school staff and their collective families.”

Schilling said the current plans for re-entry are “unacceptable.”

“I do not know what will happen if the minister insists that teachers and students return to unsafe schools and I do not know how teachers and parents will respond. We have provided a reasonable and practical plan for moving onward that starts with meaningful consultation and a meeting in person with the minister,” said Schilling.

Delegates from the floor of the 2020 Annual Representative Assembly, which serves as the parliament for ATA, moved an emergent motion of non-confidence in LaGrange. But, it was ultimately referred it to the association’s executive council after debate that ran into early Saturday morning.

The association has laid out seven priorities in a plan for a safe re-entry into schools. Some of the priorities include creating smaller classes, mandating masks or face shields in schools and buses, and ensuring the reduction of viral spread by increasing outdoor air exchange and improving ventilation and filtering.

The full plan can be found at www.teachers.ab.ca.



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