Friday August 28 2020

We all have known for six months that this day would come. Many CUPW members and their families have already made the difficult decision to send their children back to school in the coming weeks. For months, we have also known what would be required to keep everyone safe within the public education ecosystem. We applaud the heroic efforts of teachers and education workers, custodians, staff, bus drivers, progressive trustees and boards of education, boards of health and health care workers who are all doing their best – under extremely difficult circumstances – to get things ready for our children. Despite these efforts, many governments have simply not done enough to help ensure the best possible #SafeSeptember.

Important safety measures have been introduced in many school jurisdictions. In some cases, class sizes have been reduced, modified schedules have been created and classroom flow will be restricted. Many children, educators and staff will also have to wear a mask or other personal protective equipment while in school and observe strict cleaning regimens.

Even with these measures, a severe lack of public funding is hampering efforts toward a safe return to school for all. Many classrooms will be too full to be able to provide two meters of physical space between children. Physical activity and extra-curriculars may be cut to a minimum, which will be a challenge for active children. It may be difficult to help children with special needs get the support they need given physical distancing measures. Families with children who require extended day care may face a shortage of quality child care spaces. There are also concerns about insufficient physical distancing on buses, increasing the risks for drivers and children.

Read More