CALGARY -- The Alberta Teachers Association will push the provincial government on a series of issues ahead of schools reopening, including an ask for additional funding and a plan to bring some substitutes under contract to support during the pandemic.

More than 450 ATA delegates are meeting virtually this week for the association’s 103rd Annual Representative Assembly.

Alberta’s plan to bring students back to the classroom in just weeks is top of the agenda.

“We’re urging the government to include more funding for school boards so we can hire more custodial staff, hire extra teachers to address class size issue and social distancing,” said ATA president Jason Schilling.

He says teachers are feeling anxious about the province’s school re-entry plan and they want more support for sanitization supplies and personal protective equipment. Schilling also says it’s unclear what the plan will be for when full-time teachers or substitutes are forced to quarantine.

“I find it unfortunate that teachers and families are in this situation to make these decisions because they feel that school is unsafe,” Schilling says. 

“I turn that back on the government and say, you have a responsibility.”

Besides a series of resolutions related to the school reopening plan, ATA delegates will debate motions about a curriculum to combat racism, the handling of teacher’s pensions and the association’s budget.