B.C. teachers want 'downward slide' addressed

B.C. Teachers Federation President Teri Mooring this week sent a letter to the Minister of Education Rob Fleming seeking specific actions to address what the union says are inconsistent ways school districts are addressing health and safety concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Because your Ministry failed to issue clear directives, crucial decisions have been left to the discretion of school districts. As a result, we see vastly different policies and practices across the province, resulting in significant inequities for students and staff. This is causing confusion, stress, and a downward slide in working and learning conditions,” wrote Mooring.

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She also expressed concern that not enough effort has been taken to reduce class sizes.

She suggested several actions including directing all school districts to provide every BCTF member with a face shield, directing all school districts to offer a remote learning option that is available to all students and directing districts to provide dedicated staffing for remote learning options, rather than adding that work to the existing workload of classroom teachers.

As far as what’s happening in Delta, the school district earlier said it understands that some families may want to take a “wait and see” approach for a couple of weeks before sending their child into school.

In such instances, the district will hold a spot for those children in their local school and will work with the families to develop a transition plan for their child based on their unique circumstances.

Parents are the primary educational supports for their children during that transition.

The school will provide periodic check-ins beginning the week of Sept. 21.

If families subsequently decide they would prefer their child to be in a distributed learning program, they can transition into the Home Quest program later this month.

The school district also notes Home Quest has received much interest.

The district says it is working hard to process all inquiries, however, it has taken longer than normal to work through families’ questions and registrations.

According to the district, last week’s two days of safety orientation for students saw about 90 per cent of elementary students go back to school and a slightly larger percentage of high school students.

On Monday, the district confirmed one confirmed case of COVID-19 at Delta Secondary.

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