The news was full of this with the American president this morning. We’ve all been reading about the three teachers in Arizona that were teaching summer school online and contracted COVID-19, one of them passing away.
When asked about it, there was one response “Schools should be opened”. There wasn’t an acknowledgement of the situation or an expression of sympathy for the teachers. Heck, there wasn’t even the mandatory “thoughts and prayers” for the family.
It reminds me so much of the news opportunities here in Ontario with the Premier and the Minister of Education. They’ve promised to do everything in their power to make sure that school buildings that re-open are safe for students. Both have indicated that they want school buildings open.
Not once, have I heard teachers mentioned in the same or another breath.
I recognize that I hang around with teachers and that some of my best friends are teachers. They’re rightfully scared of the unknown. They’re fearful of the extra responsibilities that will be added to them should the plan to open school buildings go ahead.
We’ve seen the attributes of those who are deemed to be most at risk of catching the virus and can see people in the profession that fall into that category. That includes those MOST VULNERABLE while we constantly hear that the virus doesn’t discriminate and can be caught by anyone.
We are all living in a world where we get the jitters whenever we’re in the vicinity of someone who coughs or sneezes despite wearing a mask. If you’ve ever been in a school when students are there, these are regular signs that students are in your area! How many students were given a shot of medicine in the morning to perk them up and get them to school? As educators, we’ve seen how quickly things can spread at school.
I also recognize the need for breadwinners to get back to work and start to bring home a pay cheque again. The driving force behind all this seems to be that we can’t have one without the other.
We may end up finally hearing concerns about teachers when the school district person in charge of ensuring enough supply teachers are available to cover absences isn’t able to cover the absences.
I thought that the timing of moving some of the province into Stage 3 while leaving others in Stage 2 with the explanation that four weeks of data was needed to make the determination quite interesting. That nicely translates to the whole province being into Stage 3 by August.
Wouldn’t you think that it be prudent RIGHT NOW for the government and boards of education sit down and work with teacher federations to make sure that they are included and informed about plans to make sure that they can re-open school buildings with their own safety in mind as well?