Teachers' union 'quite concerned' over reopening plan for Windsor-Essex schools
Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario logo as shown in this file photo in Windsor, Ont., Jan. 11, 2013. (Melanie Borrelli / CTV Windsor)
WINDSOR, ONT. -- Elementary and high school teachers’ unions in Windsor-Essex are weighing in on Ontario’s back-to school plan.
Greater Essex ETFO president Mario Spagnuolo says he’s worried about elementary students return to class.
“I am quite concerned about what our schools are going to look like in September under this plan,” says Spagnolo.
The province says elementary students in Kindergarten through Grade 8 will attend school five days per week.
“Four, five and six year olds potentially in a class of 29,” says Spagnolo. “The same classroom size it was in March and we have a pandemic.”
Students in Grade 4 to 12 will be required to wear non-medical or cloth masks while in school. Students in Kindergarten to Grade 3 will be encouraged but not required to wear masks in common spaces.
Medical masks will be provided for teachers and all other school staff.
Windsor-Essex high school students will have a combination of online and in-person classes, with class cohorts of approximately 15 students, attending on alternate days, or alternate schedules.
Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation District 9 president Erin Roy says Windsor-Essex appears to be treated the same as other jurisdictions, despite a higher number of COVID-19 cases in the region.
“This governments announcement made no indication of Windsor-Essex being treated differently then let’s say a northern school board where they might be seeing one or two cases of COVID a day,” says Roy.
Provincial officials say there will be enhanced cleaning and safety protocols in place.
“Unfortunately, I think this plan is more of convenience than it is a plan of safety,” adds Roy.
With files from CTV Windsor’s Angelo Aversa.