More than 1,300 students, staff members staying away from N.B. schools
FREDERICTON -- Numbers are coming in on how much New Brunswick Education Minister Dominic Cardy's travel policy has impacted schools across the province.
More than 1,300 students and staff members are staying home for 14 days, after a memo sent out Monday directed anyone who travelled outside Canada to stay away from schools in the province for two weeks.
New Brunswick has seven school districts, including four Anglophone and three Francophone. So far, four school districts have responded to a request from CTV News for the number of students and staff who are staying away from schools for two weeks.
The Anglophone West School District, which covers 69 schools and 23,000 students, says it has 501 students and 81 staff members out of school because of the policy.
For the Francophone South School District, 434 students and 83 school staff are out, including 11 principals.
The Francophone North East School District says it has 114 students and 43 staff members staying away from school.
And in Francophone North West, 38 students and 11 staff members are avoiding schools.
At a news conference on Tuesday, Cardy said the policy applies only to travellers.
"If you went down south with your kids, it would apply to your whole family. If you went down south and left your kids behind...you then wouldn't be able to go into the schools, so it applies to travellers."
On Wednesday, the New Brunswick Medical Society asked that the policy be reconsidered, saying it wasn't "rooted in evidence-based public health policy."
Thursday, the NBMS clarified, its president stating that the society would like to see government and health-care professionals collaborate "on a united approach to dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic."
Premier Blaine Higgs has defended the education minister on the policy.
"To be very frank my concern is not about their education scores right now," Higgs said. "My concern is about their ability to return to the classroom when this is all over."
New Brunswick’s Liberal leader Kevin Vickers said late Thursday they would support the government if they decide to move the budget vote until a later date.
“There has been much discussion in recent days about the possibility of a provincial election, should the budget be defeated next week," Vickers said. "The government has the power to delay a vote on the budget. With that in mind, given the current unprecedented situation, our party would
support a move by government to delay the vote on the budget next week until a later date.”