'We’ve been forgotten:' Substitute teacher says Sask. back-to-school plan failed to consider subs
Kayla Rourke. (Facebook)
SASKATOON -- A Saskatchewan substitute teacher says she doesn’t feel safe in the province’s back-to-school plan.
Kayla Rourke, a substitute high school teacher in Saskatoon, said subs face an increase risk of COVID-19, as they could fill in at multiple schools in a week.
“I believe we’re an important part of the plan because we’re the ones who go in when people are having to quarantine and when people are having to take time off,” Rourke told CTV News.
“As a substitute teacher, I feel like we’ve been forgotten ... totally not addressed.”
The province’s Safe Schools Plan, released Tuesday, did not make mention of substitute teachers.
Part of the plan includes increased cleaning protocols, staggered recesses and dedicated quarantine areas in schools.
Masks are not mandatory, class sizes will stay the same and extra-curricular activities will continue.
As a result of the province’s plan, Rourke said she will be making a shift to tutoring.
“Because then at least I’d only be seeing a couple kids a week, or potentially doing online tutoring. It would reduce the risk,” she said.
Since announcing her plans, Rourke said she’s received about 10 requests from parents.
The province said it could reduce class sizes or mandate masks if Saskatchewan’s COVID-19 situation worsens.
'What is the plan?'
During his remarks delivered Tuesday afternoon shortly after the province announced its guidelines, Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation (STF) president Patrick Maze said planning around substitute teachers was a noticeable omission.
"What is the plan if students pass it on to their teachers, will there be enough substitute teachers?" Maze asked during a news conference held over Zoom.
The STF head pointed to challenges he said existed in Saskatchewan prior to the pandemic.
"One school division had such a chronic shortage of substitute teachers they ran short of substitute teachers every day for three straight months last year."
Maze also said because many substitute teachers are retired or elderly, they face greater risks.
--With CTV News Saskatoon staff files