Jersey’s Education Minister has resigned her post accusing the Chief Minister of “dismissing” her “fight to be listened” to and ignoring her objection to schools reopening.
Senator Tracey Vallois has quit saying she “does not accept” the expertise of the government’s STAC committee which determined schools are safe for teachers and pupils, and “the domino effect” the plans have on the ability to deliver a good education.
The letter, sent to the Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister on Sunday lunchtime, makes clear her weeks of discontent about the management of the pandemic and how it relates to today's (11 January) reopening of schools.
There also has to be recognition that if we are not to be proactive and plan/manage accordingly by purely reviewing daily, the impact last minute decision making will and can have on families. This was clear through the decision made on New Year’s Eve which I had already requested in advance (15th December) but was dismissed.
She writes: “I reasonably requested that my dissent to the reconnection plan be noted and the fact that the questions raised in this meeting had not been answered especially with regards to the new variant of Covid-19. This was clearly explained in the STAC letter to me on the 30 December 2020 and has not been reconsidered in recognition of the stance taken elsewhere for the impact of its high transmissibility.”
Senator Vallois says, in her letter, that she has been raising concerns of staff, parents and pupils with senior ministers since the start of December.
As I took the decision to disagree with your plans for reconnection, especially the return of all schools on Monday 11th January, and the number of times my fight to be listened to has been dismissed I believe it is in everyone’s interest that I resign as Education Minister.
Chief Minister, Senator John Le Fondré confirmed this morning he has accepted Senator Vallois' resignation 'with great sadness'.
I would like to thank Senator Tracey Vallois for her hard work and commitment to the education and the welfare of our Island’s students. I know this is an extremely difficult time for our whole school community but I would like to reassure everyone that the safety and wellbeing of our students and staff is our top priority and we will continue to keep the situation under constant review.
WATCH: Jess Dunsdon asks Jersey's Chief Minister about the resignation of Senator Vallois and the decision to reopen schools...
Senator Vallois is the fourth minister or assistant minister to quit the Council of Ministers in recent months following the departure of the Housing and Children’s Minister, Senator Sam Mezec, the Assistant Health Minister, Senator Steve Pallett, and the Assistant Economic Development Minister, Deputy Montfort Tadier, all in November.
Meanwhile the Planning & Environment Minister, Deputy John Young, is posting views opposing the Chief Minister’s strategy for managing the pandemic on a near-daily basis on social media.