Teachers fear bringing COVID home

·2 min read

A survey by the Richmond Teachers’ Association suggests the majority of teachers are worried about bringing COVID-19 home to their family or immediate household.

The results, presented at last night’s school board meeting by Richmond Teachers’ Association president Liz Baverstock, indicates 75 per cent of teachers are worried.

“Members had a lot to say,” says Baverstock. “This year, on top of everything that we have to do in regards to health and safety, we’re dealing with new structures.”

There were 694 respondents of about 1,600 members in total. Elementary teachers who responded said they had workload concerns around transitional learning, and supported assigning designated teachers to support at-home learners. Secondary teachers wanted reduced class sizes for Grade 8 and 9 students, and noted that the pace of the quarter system adds significant workload. Elementary and secondary teachers shared a desire to reduce reporting demands.

Along with concerns around workload, Baverstock said 54 per cent of respondents said they were not confident the provincial protocols help to reduce transmission of COVID-19, and 63 per cent said they are often worried about their own health in their school due to COVID-19.

But despite the concerns shared by teachers, Baverstock was optimistic.

“I know that we can learn, we can learn together, and we can do more, because we’re only halfway through the school year. We’re going to keep working towards it.”

CUPE president Ian Hillman said he was “fully in support” of Baverstock’s comments, and noted that educational assistants are often unable to maintain a two-metre distance because of the nature of their work. Along with the lack of access to personal protective equipment early on in the pandemic, these staff members face additional challenges.

Hannah Scott, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Richmond Sentinel