Sask. teachers not confident return to school will be safe under COVID-19 plan: union
SASKATOON -- The union representing Saskatchewan's teachers says the results from a national survey show a lack of confidence in the province's plan to allow students to return to school this fall.
"It is difficult to understand why precautions are necessary everywhere else – such as physical distancing and personal protective equipment – but not in our schools," Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation president Patrick Maze said in a news release.
According to the survey conducted by the Canadian Teachers' Federation (CTF), teachers are concerned about the mental health and wellbeing of students, equity supports for teaching and access to technology, the STF said.
While survey results were not broken down by province, the CTF said 1,538 STF members took part in the national study.
A total of 17,443 teachers participated in the survey.
Of the teachers surveyed, 74 per cent answered "yes" to a question asking if they have any concerns or questions about the mental health and well-being of their students in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nearly 73 per cent said they have concerns or questions about getting students what they need to be successful with online instruction.
Also, 83 per cent of teachers said they are concerned about returning to school after the first phases of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In June, the provincial government released guidelines for the return to in-person classes.
The school year ended in March following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, although students were given the option to continue learning remotely.
“School divisions used the guidelines put forward by the response planning team to develop proactive and preventative approaches to help reduce the risk of transmission in their schools. School divisions will look at the schools in their jurisdictions and develop plans in accordance with the guidelines that take into account social distancing recommendations," the province said in a statement.
The province adds the response planning team is reviewing plans to ensure they obey guidelines from the chief medical health officer.
The team is to offer feedback to school divisions before the end of the month to ensure they have enough time to put their plan into place.