Not one mention

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.

Hey, Donald Trump, don’t dismiss the death of an Arizona teacher in your rush to open schools

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?

5 thoughts on “Not one mention

  1. Good morning Doug!

    In response to your key question, “Wouldn’t you think it would be prudent for the government to sit down and work with the teachers federations…?“ — I think it would’ve been prudent for the government to sit down with the federations and the school boards months ago. Sadly, the current Minister of Education has an extremely poor (to nonexistent) track record for collaboration — and an even worse record for concrete action. Stephen Lecce all about self promotion and photo ops.

    Marit Stiles tabled a motion Monday in the Ontario Legislature for an Emergency Action Plan to get the schools re-opened safely in September and it’s way more concrete than anything the current government has come up with. All the current government seems to do is waffle and send out mixed messages, and trust that the school boards can make do with an extra seven cents per kid per day. That’s not even a squirt of hand sanitizer per kid , let alone any funding for additional staffing, additional cleaning, barriers, PPE, busing to support extra distancing.

    Moving Ontario to Stage III before we even get electronic Contract Tracing functioning is just asking for an increase in exposures, hospitalizations, and unneeded deaths — and subsequent steps backwards. How is that going to help make the province safer come September when kids need to be re-entering schools?

    The 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic lasted for three years, and the only preventative measures available then were social distancing, hand washing, masks, and quarantining. Despite all of our advances in treatment, we are no better off now, 100 years later, in terms of preventative measures, and so until there is a vaccine for COVID-19, we are reliant upon the same strategies. History has shown that if you try to re-open too early, you get a second wave. I fear that we are even more impatient here in 2020 then they may have been back then.

    Stay home. Wear a mask. Keep your bubbles contained.
    When the Contact Tracing app becomes available, activate it on your phone — or remain isolated.

    This thing isn’t going away soon, and too many people will die unless the majority come to this understanding.


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