B.C.'s teachers anxious about return to school, says BCTF - InfoNews

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B.C.'s teachers anxious about return to school, says BCTF

Dr. Bonnie Henry
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July 27, 2020 - 4:56 PM

A significant number of B.C.'s teachers are concerned about the provincial plan to go back to school full time in September, the president of the B.C. Teachers' Federation said in a recent series of Tweets.

Citing the results of a survey of teachers from June, Teri Mooring said only half of the province's teachers felt safe to go back to class in June while one third continued to feel unsure about returning in September.

"An overwhelming majority of teachers indicated stringent health and safety measures are essential for a safe return to school," Mooring said.

"Teachers say PPE is key to make work safer for teachers and students."

The anxiety being felt is to be expected, B.C.'s top doctor said today, July 27, when asked about the survey.

"I think all of us are worried. All of us don't know what's going to happen. We all have anxieties, and this is why we all need to learn as we go," Dr. Bonnie Henry said.

"We're making adjustments as we go. We learned quite a lot about what works and what doesn't work in June and that's put us in good stead for making sure we have plans for the future that are the safest for all involved including teachers."

Dr. Henry said while everyone has reservations, schools have faced other issues, like measles and meningitis and by working together those issues have been surmounted.

"There are many things that happen in our congregate settings, particularly in school settings, and we can manage together, and we need to do that through this," she said.

The focus, however, should be on getting children back into a learning environment.

Studies have shown not being in a school setting can have a long lasting negative impact on children, Dr. Henry said.

Mooring pointed out in a Tweet, teachers have noticed the pandemic is "exposing and magnifying existing inequities."

"So we have to balance our risks to make sure that we're as prepared as we can be and as safe as we can be for everybody," Dr. Henry said.

"You know this is a new thing. None of us signed up for having a pandemic. And we all need to adapt and make sure we have everything in place to adjust and to support our school communities, our learners as well as our educators, as we go into the fall," she said.

Dr. Henry added, again, she's not expecting to mandate mask-wearing in classrooms in the days ahead.

B.C.'s Education Minister is expected to offer more information on the back to school plan this week.

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