Party leaders like plan for school year but worry some students lack internet access
People’s Alliance Leader Kris Austin admits there may not be a solution during pandemic
After a week where 40 new COVID-19 cases were announced, emergency measures tightened and an education plan for the remainder of the school year was announced, New Brunswick party leaders came together on the New Brunswick Political Panel on Friday to assess the pandemic as it plays out in the province.
Dominic Cardy, Education and Early Childhood Development minister, announced on Thursday that public schools will remain closed for the remainder of the year and that parents will have to help educate their children at home.
Students will advance to the next grade in the fall and Grade 12 students will still receive their diplomas.
The long-awaited announcement was applauded by all parties during the weekly COVID-19 panel broadcast on CBC's Information Morning shows every Friday.
Liberal Party Leader Kevin VIckers commended the government's education plan for the remainder of the 2019/20 academic year.
"I think the online situation of many students in the province is going to be a challenge, and I certainly would encourage the government to explore that and to be able to assist in any way."
Vickers wants to connect anglophone parents with francophone parents, so that anglophone students in French immersion can still receive a form of parental guidance when it comes to online learning.
Green Party Leader David Coon said teachers and the Department of Education did an "incredibly impressive" job of developing a plan for the rest of the school year on a tight timeline.
"The job that the education systems have done here to pull together resources and programs for parents and students is just, well, it was a Herculean task," Coon said.
People's Alliance Leader Kris Austin also applauded the education plan, but he remains worried some students in more rural areas with a lack of access to reliable Internet may fall through the cracks.
"Then on the other hand, you have to look at and say, 'Well, what can we do in this situation to help those kids? And I'm not sure there's an answer to that," Austin said, adding that he believes the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development made the most positive choice it could have under the circumstances.