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Back to school taking a toll on Ontario teachers: ‘They are absolutely at their wit’s end’

Click to play video: 'Back to school is taking a toll on Ontario teachers' Back to school is taking a toll on Ontario teachers
WATCH: Teachers are "at their wit's end" with being back to school during the pandemic, along with online learning – Jan 24, 2022

Data from the Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School board indicates the vast majority of their students have returned to in class learning.

At the Catholic school board, 0.03 per cent of elementary students and 0.01 per cent of of secondary school students have opted for remote learning.

Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation president Karen Littlewood says flipping back and forth from remote learning to in class learning and teaching a combination of both since the pandemic was declared almost two years ago is taking a toll on teachers.

“What I’m hearing from people is that they are absolutely at their wit’s end. March 2020 was challenging, June 2020 was still challenging too,” said Littlewood.

Read more: Ontario data on school absences now accessible on provincial website

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Littlewood says teacher absenteeism and retirements are on the rise.

“There are people who are retiring early, who are leaving the system, who are saying, ‘I just can’t keep up with this anymore, it’s taking such a toll on my mental health that I need to be off,’ or many of them are really legitimately sick,” Littlewood said.

Littlewood attributes recent changes by the provincial government on how it reports COVID-19 cases in schools is one of the reasons she’s been hearing from families as to why they’ve opted for remote learning.

“It makes it really challenging when you know that there are people with COVID in a school and it isn’t being reported. That leaves people with the inability to make an informed decision,” said Littlewood.

Virus-related absences are logged on the Ontario COVID-19 website.

It shows that many schools in the region are seeing absence rates approaching 30 per cent, which is the threshold to notify families of outbreaks at their school.

Click to play video: 'Global News speaks with Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce as schools prepare to reopen' Global News speaks with Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce as schools prepare to reopen
Global News speaks with Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce as schools prepare to reopen – Jan 13, 2022

 

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