A back-to-school ad from the province is being criticized by the BC Teachers Federation. (Province of BC, Twitter)
A back-to-school ad from the province isn’t sitting well with the BC Teachers Federation.
Federation president, Teri Mooring, says the ad is an “unrealistic depiction” of what school will look like in mid-September.
“The ad featured a handful of students. We know that there’s going to be thousands of classrooms with 30 students, not six in them, we know there are classrooms without sinks, (and) without running water.”
Mooring said that, in fact, is the reality that a lot of students are going into in September.
The BCTF continues to call on the province to spend federal dollars on enhanced safety measures, in particular, reducing classroom sizes to facilitate physical distancing.
Mooring said the federation now has a plan of action in continuing to work on improving the restart plan.
One thing they would like to see is a remote learning option for families.
“(One) that allows their child to engage in remote learning, but keeps their child connected to their home school, that saves their spot in their school and is available across the entire province and has teachers dedicated to doing that work,” Mooring said.
The BCTF would like to see the $242 million in federal funding dedicated mainly to reducing classroom sizes, Mooring said.
She said there is both time and money for the province to implement the other requests from the BCTF, including a more robust mask policy and improvements to school ventilation systems.
“These are all things that are absolutely doable,” Mooring said. “Obviously the ventilation system will take some time, but there are some measures that can be put in place in the meantime, and all that is absolutely possible. So what we need to see from the government is the will to do that.”
In response Ministry of Education said, “the purpose of the ad with (provincial health officer), Dr. (Bonnie) Henry is to give parents and students information about the return to school by directing them to a website (backtoschool.gov.bc.ca) with resources and more information.
“Each school will operate under strict health and safety measures with well-stocked supplies to support regular hand washing and hand hygiene and frequent cleaning of classrooms and high touch surfaces, along with daily monitoring of personal health before the school day begins and providing non-medical masks for students and staff,” the Ministry added.