Critics of Premier Doug Ford’s government are hoping it’s not too late to make changes to the province’s back-to-school plans. Many people in the Kingston-area are apprehensive about the up-coming school year and how things are rolling-out. Jane Roberts is the President of the Limestone Local of the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario.
“The clock’s ticking, we have three weeks. We go back August 31st here, children come back September 3rd.”
And no one’s more aware of that fact then the Dzierniejko family. Robin and Kelly are both teachers.
“We’re so desperate to get back in the classroom and do what we love says Kelly Dzierniejko — but I think above that right now it’s just concern, fear and worry about our health and our family’s health.”
Kelly teaches at St. Martha Catholic School while husband Robin is at Holy Cross Secondary School and both feel some changes need to be made.
“I’d say it’s the class sizes is probably number one for me in a lot of respects because I think the distancing follows from that — where he talks about full day kindergarten having 30 students in the room — but really it’s 15 with 2 educators but there’s still 30 plus 2 in a room says Robin Dzierniejko. You’ve got elementary classes that have well over 25 students, you’ve got some high school classes that have well over 30 students in them — you have some high school classes that have less but that cohort of 15 is just not going to get met.”
Despite some criticism the government of Ontario is standing by it’s back to school policies. Minister of Education Stephen Lecce spoke to the media at the premiers daily news conference on Thursday.
“This plan informed by those experts called for — the con census was a multitude of actions — layers of prevention looking at every single way we can de-risk the circumstance.”
At least one local union official Jane Roberts says the province hasn’t offered up the funding to back up all the changes they’ve called for leaving some teachers nervous for the fall.
We have to work with regular class sizes, masks only in grades 4 to 8, some more cleaning supplies but not enough funding. We are going back in a situation that is a little bizarre compared to what is the norm in the general public.”