Alberta’s education minister, in her first public comments since laying off more than 20,000 people in an email on the weekend, resisted Opposition calls to reverse her decision.Adriana LaGrange also declined to say why she ordered the layoffs despite promising two weeks earlier to keep full education funding in place for the rest of the school year — but she noted the COVID-19 crisis is a fluid situation.“We are in unprecedented times, and both governments and businesses are making difficult decisions,” LaGrange told the legislature in question period Tuesday.“This pandemic has changed how our education system functions and, like the private sector, we are still adapting to this new reality. This is a temporary measure that will be reversed when classes resume.”LaGrange closed schools on March 15 due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, but at that time announced funding would stay whole. Story continues below advertisement
On Saturday afternoon, as schools geared up to begin virtual at-home programming for thousands of students, she directed school boards to lay off more than 20,000 support staff, including substitute teachers, school bus drivers and educational assistants who work with special-needs students.
1:39Alberta cuts $128M in K-12 education funding to boost COVID-19 response
Alberta cuts $128M in K-12 education funding to boost COVID-19 response
LaGrange said the resources were not needed in the switch to virtual schooling and
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