Back to school plan misses the mark


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This article was published 16/08/2021 (652 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

With just weeks until the start of the 2021-22 school year, kids, parents, and educators want to be assured that schools will be safe.

Experts tell us that wearing a mask is one of the simplest things we can do to prevent the spread of COVID-19, especially with the more transmissible and dangerous Delta variant becoming the prominent strain across Canada.

Instead of listening to the science, the Progressive Conservative government has eliminated the mask mandate in schools. It just doesn’t make sense. I know many families in Fort Garry are disappointed that the PCs would choose politics over the safety of our kids.

We’ve been here before. In each wave of this pandemic, the PC government has had the chance to learn from other provinces — but it has squandered that opportunity every time. Now, we are watching history repeat itself yet again. The PCs refuse to learn from their own mistakes and Manitobans have paid the price; this time it’s our kids who are most at risk.

My NDP colleagues and I have been talking to parents, educators, and public health experts about what our schools need this September.

While the government was silent, we put forward a five-point plan to protect our kids. We called on the province to upgrade ventilation systems in every school, set up in-school vaccine clinics that make it easier for families and staff to get vaccinated, create smaller class sizes by hiring more teachers, educational assistants and other support staff, increase mental-health supports for kids and staff, and implement paid sick leave so families can afford to stay home when their kids are sick. Instead, the PCs have removed the mask mandate, one of our least restrictive tools to fight COVID-19.

Kids have sacrificed so much during the pandemic but it seems as if this government has given up on protecting them. Kids deserve to be safe, parents and teachers need consistency and support, and Manitobans need a government that looks out for their families. My colleagues and I are committed to listening to your concerns and urging the PC government to do better for our kids.

Fort Garry has many young families who are directly impacted by the PCs’ reckless decision to eliminate mandatory masks in schools.

Please reach out to my office to share your concerns about the upcoming school year. You can reach us by email at or by phone at 204-421-4241.

Mark Wasyliw

Mark Wasyliw
Fort Garry constituency report

Mark Wasyliw is the NDP MLA for Fort Garry.

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