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Editorial: Our teachers deserve more

Why is it too much to ask for more protection for our teachers and students?
COVID teachers

It has become almost a daily occurrence for our newsroom to check the Fraser Health website for the list of current COVID-19 exposure cases in Delta schools.

At the time I write this column (Tuesday afternoon) there are seven Delta schools listed as having recent exposure cases. This list, although helpful, has been intensely scrutinized by parents and educators alike as not being accurate enough (case in point the listing of Holly Elementary last week under Delta, when it was in fact, Holly Elementary in Surrey), the notifications are not coming fast enough, some say and parents are not able to react quickly enough to the news that their child may have been exposed.

Then there are the teachers themselves, who from the start of school in September, have been begging, if not pleading with the provincial government to ensure higher levels of safety within their school environment for themselves and their students.

Last week, when Optimist reporter Sandor Gyarmati spoke with Delta Teachers’ Association president Susan Yao, I found her thoughts alarming.

When she stated that COVID-19 exposures have teachers in this community exhausted, and scared as they returned from their Christmas holiday break, that really stuck with me and it should have stuck with our provincial leaders.

The DTA, along with the other teacher unions in the Fraser Valley, are calling on the health authority to make a series of changes including reducing class sizes and introducing mandatory mask policies.

Yao said that too many people in Delta schools feel unsafe and that parents are worried about the health and well-being of their children coming home after being potentially exposed.

Schools should be a safe and welcoming space for all our teachers and students.

So I wonder, why is it too much to ask for more protection for our teachers and students?