By the time this goes live at 5:00 tomorrow, Jaimie and I will be having breakfast before going out for our walk at 7:14. As I wrote on Saturday, we’re expecting a great deal more traffic than what we’ve had for the past month. We’re also looking forward to waving and wagging at familiar faces along our morning route.
Minus holiday time, the school system has had an opportunity to make schools a safer place for student learning. You’d kind of think that this should already have been done due to previous lockdowns and absences. We’ve had so many announcements and assurances that everything was taken care of. Heck, you’d like to think that schools would be a safe place in general.
Teachers have learned so much more about how systems are managed. Probably way more than what they ever dreamed that they would know.
Who can forget the sniffling noses from our classmates as we went as students? It’s way different when you’re a teacher – you don’t just see it and are bothered by those in your immediate vicinity; you see it everywhere as you scan the class. Winter is a rough time for sickness and spreading as it is, never mind the challenges that we face now.
Of course, that’s not the only thing on the horizon for this week. There’s the COVID thing that has hijacked the planning and minds of educators but there’s more.
- ‘Biggest concern is absenteeism’: School bus companies worried about cancellations due to potential driver illness
- Big winter storm headed towards Ontario could dump 40 cm of snow in some areas
Well, everywhere but Essex County and the Bruce Penninsula, it seems!
That’s even before we put bums in seats.
This past week saw the Minister of Education make announcements about face masks and HEPA filters. That would normally be good news but most educators are skeptical. We’ve heard announcements before about HEPA filters everywhere and yet there are still more to be bought and put into operation?
I’m reminded of a conversation with my former superintendent about reading the reality value in these announcements. He was fond of noting that sometimes the same amount of money gets announced on different times giving the impression that there was more available than there actually would be. It was through him that I understood the importance of identifying any “new money” as a followup to announcements. I was so naïve, I guess.
There’s another thing that money can’t buy.
The success of a return to schools and classrooms will be the professional approach and implementation of safe measures by classroom teachers. As a society, we know more about this current virus than at previous attempts to return to classrooms. Since we’re in the middle of winter, that knowledge needs to be combined with the traditional approach to addressing students with seasonal colds. It’s no easy task. Period.
The most important thing to recognize is that the teacher is more than likely the most vulnerable person in the classroom. Looking out for number one is so important.
So, for those of you who will be returning to your classrooms this morning, I wish you all the best and hope that, this time, we’ve done so much learning that it can be managed safely.