David Eggen, official opposition critic for advanced education, speaks during the Alberta's NDP budget town hall at the Red Deer Public Library’s downtown branch Thursday evening. Photo by SEAN MCINTOSH/Advocate staff

NDP renews calls for UCP to make schools safer

Alberta NDP is renewing calls for the current government to make schools safer for students K-12.

In a press release Thursday, they asked for the UCP to provide N95 protective masks for students and staff, HEPA filters for schools as well as more accurate reporting on infections and absenteeism in schools.

“Like many Albertans, I have watched the situation in our K-12 schools deteriorate quickly over the past four days,” said NDP MLA David Eggen.

“As a parent and as a former classroom teacher my heart goes out to all of the students, staff and families who are under incredible stress right now. It is difficult to focus on learning when your classmates or your teacher are suddenly vanishing,”

Earlier this week Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health said close to one in 10 COVID-19 cases are going undetected during the omicron wave of the virus. The province reported more than 6,000 new cases Tuesday and over 60,000 active cases of the virus.

“Despite this, Adriana LaGrange and the UCP sent everyone back into classrooms without the safety measures that we called for or that other Canadian provinces put in place. The current situation in Alberta schools is clearly not sustainable,” Eggen said.

The NDP is also calling again for the UCP to offer in-school vaccine clinics to provide protection for students, staff and families.

“Adequate masks, adequate ventilation, and access to vaccines, these are all common-sense measures,” Eggen said.

“Albertans can’t trust the UCP to keep our schools safe if they continue to refuse to take these basic steps.”