New Brunswick teachers up for coronavirus challenges, says union

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WATCH: The union representing teachers in New Brunswick says the coming school year will undoubtedly be different, but teachers are up for it. Travis Fortnum reports.

The coronavirus pandemic presents a host of challenges for New Brunswick’s fast-approaching school year.

Challenges, the province’s teachers union says, educators are up for.

“I’m confident our professionals will meet the needs of students,” says Rick Cumings, New Brunswick Teacher’s Association president.

“Teachers have been making the most inclusive educational system in this country work for years and they’ve been doing that enormous task and doing it well.

“I have the utmost confidence in the professionals in providing the highest quality public education.”

Thursday saw the province host the first in a planned series of updates to detail what class is going to look like in September amid COVID-19.

Read more: New Brunswick releases updated plan for upcoming school year amid coronavirus

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Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Dominic Cardy says those details have been in the works since early this year.

“From the moment we shut schools down we started talking about how we can get them open safely,” he says.

One of the new procedures, Cardy says: teachers will need to monitor students for potential symptoms of the virus.

“We’re expecting teachers to have the same supervisor role they’ve always had,” he says.

“It’s what teachers always do. They care for their students.”

Cumings says there have been many questions from school staff through the summer, but that the Department of Education and Public Health have answered many already.

He says he expects any that haven’t yet been resolved to be covered in coming updates.

“To date,” says Cumings, “the return to school plan for New Brunswick appears to be better than that of our neighbours or other provinces.”