“Keep working from Home” was the headline for the CBC story about yesterday’s question and answer session with Dr.Brent Roussin. Roussin cautioned employers not to rush to bring their employees back to their communal workspaces. Seems strange then that the province has decided teachers will be returning to their communal workspaces next week.
I am wondering what will happen to their own children when teachers return to school. Phase 2 guidelines for Manitoba schools indicate that not all children will be at school every day in June. This means teachers with school-age children will have to arrange child care for their own children. Who will provide that care? Grandparents? Not the best idea with most of them in the age group that is considered at risk. Perhaps their children’s other non-teaching parent can provide care. But what if that other parent is a front line or essential worker? What if the teacher is a single parent?
Will daycares that have filled their spaces with the children of other front line workers now have to find room for teacher’s children as well for just four weeks? Will teachers now be considered front line workers?
I haven’t heard about any provisions being made for older teachers, teachers who may have compromised immune systems or those who are living with illnesses like diabetes or a heart condition or arthritis. Will they have to go back to school as well?
Will teachers be expected to continue providing daily online learning for their students who remain at home at the same time as they are at the school building meeting with small groups of other students?
Will teachers receive training about how to operate a classroom in which you maintain physical distancing? I can only imagine what a huge learning curve that is going to be. For their own health and safety and that of their students’ teachers will need to have some kind of professional development in this area.
Will children and teachers be required to wear a mask? Will the province be supplying personal protective equipment for students and teachers?
As someone who is involved with training new educators, it seems to me there are lots of questions to be answered before teachers should be asked to return to their classrooms. I went to see my Dad again yesterday. Dad is in an assisted living facility and I had to make an appointment to meet him outside on the patio. The staff at the facility where he lives have set up benches placed a safe distance apart where we can talk. Dad couldn’t get over the beauty of the blossoming apple trees around us. He thought the blossoms falling to the ground looked like the petals sometimes scattered in the church aisle for a couple getting married. This made Dad think about his seven great-grandchildren. “I don’t think I will be around to attend any of their weddings,” Dad said. The new life on the trees made him consider the approaching end of his own life.
Last summer I had the privilege of meeting a fellow blogger Donna Janke. Donna writes a travel blog called Destinations, Detours and Dreams. Since we can’t really travel outside of our own province right now Donna is encouraging people to look for things to see and do right in their home towns and cities. In her latest blog post, she gives ideas for how to discover what you can see and do in your own area. I was privileged to have my blog What Next referenced in Donna’s post.