“Until now, I have been fighting hard for schools to open safely and stay open,” Troster says. “But now, I feel utterly failed by our provincial government’s refusal to invest in paid sick leave for essential workers and ventilation upgrades, smaller class sizes and rapid testing in schools.”
Yeah. Same here.
And think how teachers must feel. Unlike medical professionals, they never signed up to be on the front lines of a deadly pandemic. But they, and other school employees braving the pandemic for our children, have kept showing up anyway.
“At this point,” Troster wrote to me on the same day as Ottawa’s teachers’ unions urged a return to online learning, “the only option is a complete circuit-breaker, including a pivot to virtual schooling, until we can get infection rates down to a less dangerous level. If teachers say they are scared to go to work, we need to listen to them.”
Here’s another thing: Many teachers are parents, too. And they’re having the same stresses and worries that every other parent is dealing with, including what to do with their own kids if schools shut down again. I have spent a dozen years homeschooling three children while working from home. It wasn’t easy, but it was nothing compared to having to teach a zoom class while looking after your own kids.
And we haven’t said anything yet about the mental health impacts of keeping kids stuck at home battling for a wifi signal with siblings they’re about ready to strangle and parents at the end of badly frayed ropes. As Alex Munter, CHEO’s CEO, tweeted a few days ago, “putting only children under a stay-at-home order harms kids and won’t do much to end the third wave.”
This content was originally published here.