NDP, ATA call on province to explore using public facilities as makeshift classrooms during pandemic

CALGARY — NDP Education Critic Sarah Hoffman is calling on the provincial government to work with municipalities and identify public spaces, both indoor and outdoor, for use by school authorities. The temporary classrooms could be created within places of worship, community centres, libraries and recreational facilities.

“We’re in unusual times and we really do believe that it’s up to the government to roll up their sleeves, get to work and acquire some additional spaces,” she

Hoffman joined Bob Cocking of the Alberta Teachers’ Association for a demonstration on the safe return of students to school and expressed their concerns regarding class sizes and physical distancing.

“We will be sending students back into schools this fall, in just a week or two, in situations that are far from ideal,” said Hoffman, standing in front of a makeshift classroom at the Marda Loop Community Associations on Wednesday.

“We will have fewer teachers, fewer educational support staff and more kids coming to school, which would be bad enough educationally — we know that this is something that we would be advocating for, class sizes of 30 plus — but this year it’s not just bad educationally, it’s dangerous and a concern for me and many Albertans in terms of public health.

“Those conditions don’t comply with what we’ve been advised to do in terms of physical distancing and limiting the numbers of people in indoor spaces.”

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