REGINA — The Saskatchewan NDP is calling for smaller class sizes, as a new limit is to come into effect for private gatherings to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Two NDP candidates running in the Oct. 26 provincial election say if their party forms government, it would spend $125 million to hire more school staff to shrink class sizes.
The province's chief medical health officer has said that starting Friday private get-togethers will be restricted to a maximum of 15 people, down from 30.
Dr. Saqib Shahab has said more than half of the new cases announced in the last week were connected to gatherings.
Regina Rosemont NDP candidate and former teacher Trent Wotherspoon says the new gathering limit stands in stark contrast to how many students are in the average classroom.
The NDP says class sizes need to be smaller to reduce possible transmission of the virus.
"We need to get this right so that kids can be in schools, which I think we all want, but to do it safely so that we don't risk … higher rates of transmission that would require even more lockdown measures," said Regina Lakeview candidate and former trustee Carla Beck.
On Tuesday, the province reported 34 new COVID-19 cases after several days of double-digit increases.
The Ministry of Health keeps weekly tallies of COVID-19 cases in schools and reported 35 active infections among kids from Sept. 28 to Oct. 4.
Several schools in different parts of the province shifted temporarily to online learning after discovering COVID-19 cases.
Before the election, the Saskatchewan Party government freed up about $40 million in funding to help school divisions safely reopen.
It did so after pushing back the start of the school year by about a week to give worried parents, teachers and students more time to prepare.
Ottawa also announced it was sending $75 million to the province to help fund the safe reopening of schools.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 14, 2020.
The Canadian Press