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Vancouver Island teachers concerned about returning to class amid COVID-19
VICTORIA -- With some elementary school-age students on Vancouver island expected to start in-classroom learning again in June, not all teachers are excited about it.
Greater Victoria Teachers’ Association president Winona Waldren says many teachers have contacted her who are worried about returning to the classroom.
“We have concerns from teachers who are concerned about their own health,” Waldren said Monday.
In particular, teachers who are older than 60 years old or those with underlying health conditions, or who have family with underlying health conditions, have indicated they don’t feel safe going back teaching in-person.
“We are hoping for some clear guidelines about this; if it is safe for people over 60 to be working in a school setting,” Waldren said.
She said the issue is complicated because teachers, particularly of younger children, want to be face-to-face with their students, and recognize that many families don’t have the luxury of having their kids stay home.
“There are parents out there that need to go back to work and are in difficult financial times,” she said.
Lauren Bonner has two young children, one in Grade 3 and the other in kindgerdarten, and says’s she’s torn about sending her kids back to class.
“I think it would be fun for them to go back and see their friends,” Bonner said. “And it would certainly make working at home easier.”
On the other hand, she said it makes more sense for kids to stay home if it reduces the chance of spreading the coronavirus, especially given the school year is nearly over.
A recent survey from the Angus Reid Institute polled kids aged 10 through 17 across the country, showing that the word most often used to describe how they feel right now is “bored.”
The B.C. government issued a statement Monday, saying school districts will accommodate staff “who have underlying health conditions or other matters impacting their ability to work within existing human resources policies.”