Monday September 7, 2020 ~ VICTORIA, BC
by Mary P Brooke, Editor | Island Social Trends
Teachers are speaking up today on Labour Day 2020 as Premier John Horgan lauds the commitment of teachers to fully take part in the return to school during the COVID-19 pandemic.
BC Teachers Federation (BCTF) President Teri Mooring highlights in her post on Twitter today that “teachers, and support staff are returning to classrooms with the full weight and responsibility of keeping our students and ourselves safe, both physically and emotionally”.
However, she states on behalf of the BCTF membership that reducing classroom size is still not being adequately acted upon by the provincial government. In light of how the COVID-19 virus is spread, a thinned-out classroom seems the right public health approach.
To date, it’s been almost entirely school district superintendents and board chairs who have frontlined the efforts of local school districts to interpret and execute public health directives re COVID-19 in classrooms. Mooring says “now it’s over to the locally elected trustees to ensure adequate protections are in place in our schools”.
Teri Mooring’s full statement on Twitter, September 7, 2020:
Labour Day 2020 is a much more somber event this year, in the shadow of the pandemic. We have all witnessed the inequities that COVID-19 has exposed. Essential workers, who enable us to live our lives, buy our food, care for the elderly are woefully underpaid, and often workers of colour. We have also witnessed the rise of racist attitudes and acts, while often under the surface, on full display, video taped and put on the news. And those are just the situations the public have been made aware of.
It’s in this context that teachers, and support staff are returning to classrooms with the full weight and responsibility of keeping our students and ourselves safe, both physically and emotionally. This responsibility takes on a very different complexion in a worldwide pandemic.
The provincial government has made it clear they will not make the investment necessary to reduce classroom density, not even during a pandemic, not even when federal funding puts this option within reach. Now it’s over to the locally elected trustees to ensure adequate protections are in place in our schools.
This abdication of leadership by the province is truly disheartening. And teachers, local and provincial leadership will need to ensure we use the legislative protections available to us.
It’s a somber Labour Day 2020. What I know for sure, is that there is a lot more work to do to ensure adequate protections are in place for workers.