The Alberta NDP is urging the provincial government to launch a fund to support students who are learning from home as the COVID-19 pandemic rages on.
As Alberta hit a record number of daily cases and active cases Thursday, the province announced junior and senior high students in hot spot areas would transition to online learning for at least two weeks.
The NDP Caucus is calling on Premier Jason Kenney to immediately adopt the recommendations of its December report, chiefly the creation of an Alberta Learn From Home Fund.
Under this fund, Alberta families who have spent at least two months learning from home during the 2020-2021 school year would receive $500 per student, and $750 per student with special needs, to support their online learning.
“Let’s be clear, the decision to close schools and send tens of thousands of kids home was not made yesterday, it was made months ago when Jason Kenney refused to act,” said education critic Sarah Hoffman.
“I feel deeply for all the children and parents who are going to have to try and make this work, enduring more hardship and stress simply because the premier can’t be trusted to do the right thing.”
Red Deer parent Jessica Schurman has a son in Grade 8 and is voicing her concerns about the government’s inability to provide a consistent learning environment.
She said school is a constant and steady routine for children facing a difficult time.
“Now my son is home but that brings so many of its own challenges. It is so hard on students. Yesterday’s announcement came with no warning and now families will be scrambling to prepare for at-home learning again, she said.
“Parents like myself need help.”