Open letter to Minister of Education Rodolphe Samuel

Honourable Minister Samuel,

  Despite the unfortunate circumstance of COVID-19, many lives have been forced to change, some significantly, some slightly. While we adjust to this new change, we still have to maintain a certain level of humanity with and among each other and take the interest and health of others into deep consideration.

  As teachers of the Catholic School Board, we don’t believe our lives and the lives of the children are being taking into any consideration whatsoever. While education must continue, there are ways to ensure those involved are considered. Amongst the staff there are persons with underlying considerations, as well as families with underlying conditions that they have to go home to. Beside all that, the fear that teachers have hanging over their heads of keeping 20-plus children safe as well as themselves is already a task on its own. Still, our wellbeing doesn’t count.

  While other schools are taking their teachers’ and students’ lives at heart, this is not happening with the said school board. Teachers are confused, scared, overwhelmed and the list goes on because of the uncertainties of our reality.

  The board has decided to take all students back in full, classes of over 20 students; even though we are told to social distance and stay away from large gatherings. We have children from over 300 different homes with different backgrounds.

  How do we do this in a small room with this much persons?

  How do we properly ensure that all students’ temperatures are being taken upon entry of the school, when over 300 children are coming through the gates?

How do we ensure all students are properly sanitized before heading to class?

  How do we ensure safety in playgrounds?

  There has been a significant rise in COVID-19 cases since the schools have re-opened. There are many other options that we see fit as many other schools are using these methods as a way to maintain the safety of teachers and students. We are, however, concerned why this is not happening with our Catholic schools? Some members of our staff are in fear for their lives.

Name withheld at author’s request.