FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE January 4, 2021
WHITEHORSE – In the face of a spike in COVID-19 cases, and students return to class after the holiday break, the Yukon Party Official Opposition is reiterating its call for the Yukon Liberal government to provide schools and all Yukoners easy access to rapid antigen tests.
“Even though the Liberal government has been sitting on a stockpile of thousands of rapid tests for months, they have been sparsely available to Yukoners,” said Yukon Party Leader Currie Dixon. “Rapid tests are being used across the country to provide a quick preliminary result, and national medical experts have called for Canada to be flooded with rapid tests. It is wrong that the Liberal government has sat on these tests for almost a year and ignored experts from across the country.”
While other jurisdictions across the country are delaying a return to school, Yukon and Saskatchewan are the only jurisdictions to have students back in class on schedule after the holidays. Saskatchewan is in the process of distributing hundreds of thousands of tests for use in schools, and staff have access to medical grade masks.
Parents should have the ability to have their child undergo a rapid test before sending them to school and so far, there has been no indication from the Yukon government about the use of rapid tests in schools.
In addition, the Yukon Government informed parents on January 3, as per a recommendation from the acting chief medical officer of health, schools would resume as planned after the break. Parents and Yukoners are wondering why this information was not released along with the list of new guidelines from the acting CMOH on Friday, December 31, or even earlier in case parents and guardians needed to make alternative arrangements.
With the number of Omicron variant cases rising quickly in the Yukon, action with rapid tests is needed to prevent a situation where there is rapid spread in schools, classes are shut down, and students are forced into remote learning.
The Yukon Party Official Opposition began pressing the Yukon government on their rapid testing policy in the Fall 2021 sitting of the Legislature and issued a press release on the issue on December 21.