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N.S. Teachers Union demanding detailed health and safety audit to be provided to parents

Nova Scotia Teachers Union building.
Nova Scotia Teachers Union building. File/ Global News

The president of the Nova Scotia Teachers Union (NSTU) said Tuesday that all parents should be provided with a detailed health and safety audit of their children’s classrooms before classes begin on Sept. 8.

In a statement, Paul Wozney said parents and teachers have deep concerns about the government’s ability to stop the spread of COVID-19 in schools and “it’s only fair they are given specific details about the conditions children will be experiencing in two weeks’ time.”

READ MORE: Nova Scotia group demanding better back-to-school plan from province

According to NSTU, the health audit would provide the following specifics: the number of children in the class, the square footage of the class, the amount of physical distance between students, the type of ventilation in the classroom and the number of proper hand washing stations in the classroom.

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“A safe return to school this September means smaller class sizes, two metres of physical distance between everyone, proper ventilation, non-medical masks for all who can safely wear one, and the ability to properly wash hands on a regular basis,” said Wozney.

“Parents deserve to know in advance if the appropriate measures are in place to keep their children safe when they return to school. This is going to require more than open windows and sanitizer,” he added.

One-on-one with Nova Scotia Education Minister Zach Churchill
One-on-one with Nova Scotia Education Minister Zach Churchill

On Saturday, a petition started by a concerned parents group calling for a “better back-to-school plan” received 5,000 signatures in less than 48 hours.

“As families and parents, students, and concerned citizens, we demand a clear and concise back-to-school plan that meets all federal public health guidelines. The plan, as is, is unacceptable,” the petition on change.org reads.

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It has been addressed to Education Minister Zach Churchill, Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer of health, and Premier Stephen McNeil.

Global has called and emailed the Department of Education requesting a response from the government in regards to NSTU’s call for a more detailed audit and the petition, but has not received an immediate response.

More to come.