Safety of students and educators is of paramount concern to ETFO. As students, parents, and educators find themselves living under the current stay-at-home order, the union continues to seek clarity on many safety issues for students and educators who must continue in-person learning during this time. This toolkit provides links and information for members on the issue of in-person learning during the province-wide lockdown.
In a letter to the Ministry of Education, ETFO president Sam Hammond wrote that “Educators firmly believe that quality in-person learning, when done safely, is what is best for our students. Unfortunately, due to your government’s repeated refusal to make the necessary investments, this is simply not possible in much of our province."
ETFO has also outlined these concerns in a press release, and sent a follow up letter to Public Health Units which expands on a January 6 letter calling on Public Health Units use their authority and responsibility to protect our communities to reconsider the decision to resume in-person learning for elementary students on January 11.
The follow-up letter calls on Public Health Units to use their authority to fill the gaps in leadership left by the provincial government. It asks that they consider whether it is appropriate for in-person learning to continue or resume in the communities they are responsible for, based on the current local pandemic-related data, and publicly communicate the metrics that those decisions are based on. As well, ETFO wrote that Public Health Units must use their authority to require that school boards across the province perform risk assessments in all schools and immediately implement enhanced safety measures, including the following:
Smaller class sizes. - Mandatory masks for all students (including Kindergarten);
Improved ventilation in all classrooms;
HEPA filters where necessary;
CO2 monitors in all classrooms;
Enhanced cleaning protocols;
Enhanced PPE for educators; and
Enhanced COVID-19 screening requirements.
ETFO also requested that Public Health Units implement asymptomatic surveillance testing in schools across the province and the local COVID-19 taskforces be created in partnership with school boards, Public Health Units and worker representatives. You can read the full letter here.
ETFO’s position on in-person learning remains unchanged. The union firmly believes that in-person instruction in publicly-funded schools provides the best experience for learning, quality delivery and is the most equitable model for all students. Read more about about ETFO’s actions to ensure that in-person learning can resume quickly and safely.
You can take action on this important issue by contacting decision-makers through buildingbetterschools.ca. Please download and post one of the shareables below:
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