Nova Scotia premier rejects teachers' allegations that schools are unsafe
Nova Scotia's premier is accusing the province's teachers' union of "creating a bunch of noise and rhetoric'' by suggesting public schools are unsafe and in "chaos'' because educators haven't been given enough time to prepare for the resumption of classes.
Premier Stephen McNeil was responding to a litany of allegations issued Wednesday by Paul Wozney, president of the 10,000-member Nova Scotia Teachers Union.
Wozney issued a statement saying union members have reported ventilation systems that haven't been inspected or repaired, windows that won't open, a lack of proper handwashing stations and hallways filled with furniture that has been moved to make more space in classrooms.
The union leader asked Education Minister Zach Churchill to postpone the beginning of the school year by two days to give teachers, administrators and school staff more time to "sort out the turmoil'' and meet new requirements aimed at reducing the spread of COVID-19.
McNeil rejected that request today, saying there is no evidence any school is in chaos, and insisted the province's "kids will be safe.''
However, the premier also said he recognized that many teachers, parents and students are probably feeling anxious about the resumption of classes, saying it will sometimes be difficult adapting to living with an ongoing pandemic.