Opposition parties are again demanding the Yukon government recall the legislature, saying the territory's plan for school re-opening needs more public scrutiny.
"They haven't been listening to people, they haven't been consulting," said Yukon Party education critic Scott Kent. "It's time that they are held accountable for that."
Opposition parties have for months called on the premier to reconvene the House so they can challenge the government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kent asked the education minister for an all-party committee to examine the education plan, which has faced criticism from parents and school councils.
The opposition noted concern around Whitehorse students in grades 10 to 12 attending class part-time, and the decision to relocate specialized programs at the Wood Street Centre.
Both the Yukon Teachers Association and the Yukon Association of School Councils, Boards and Committees said they were not consulted on final decisions. The YTA says teachers have been anxious due to a lack of information.
School is set to start on August 19.
A spokesperson for the premier's office said their focus is on supporting schools to develop safe operational plans.
"The Department of Education has been working diligently with education partners over the past few months to ensure face-to-face classes will resume for the upcoming school year," said spokesperson Matthew Cameron in an email.
Delay school start, opposition suggests
Both Kent and NDP Leader Kate White suggested delaying the start of the school year so teachers have more time to prepare.
White said she's heard alternatives that could allow in-class learning for everyone.
For example, she said, Grade 8 and Grade 9 students could go to F.H. Collins Secondary School, and students in grades 10 to 12 could go to Porter Creek Secondary School.
White says she has questions about funding for more cleaning and staff.
"If we're limiting the class size or talking about spacing ... that will have a cost," White said.
The Yukon government has not announced any new funding for education during COVID-19, but says it will ensure schools have what they need to meet health and safety guidelines.
Kent says he wants to know how many empty educational spaces exist. An all-party committee could help government adapt "on the fly."
White, however, said an all-party committee comes too late.
Earlier in the pandemic, Premier Sandy Silver said the government was too busy managing the public health crisis to hold a legislative assembly.
Opposition parties wanted more opportunities to question the Liberal government on its $1.6-billion territorial budget, which was rushed through the house in March. The budget was criticized for not mentioning COVID-19.
A letter from Tracy-Anne McPhee, the government house leader for the Yukon Liberals, sent to White in June says the government offered to answer questions about the COVID-19 emergency measures.
A spokesperson for White's office said they declined that meeting because it would not have been public. They said the offer of a public meeting would have only been in relation to the budget.