The Elementary Teachers of Toronto (ETT) is deeply concerned by the COVID-19 outbreak at Glamorgan Junior Public School and the risk posed to the health and safety to our educators, students, and communities.
Our thoughts are with our members and the students in their care that have tested positive. We wish them a quick recovery and hope that the TDSB and Ministry of Education take immediate action so they can return to a healthy and safe school environment.
This outbreak was preventable.
The cases of COVID-19 at Glamorgan are the direct result of the Ontario government’s inadequate and underfunded return to school plan.
Our schools need stronger guidelines and appropriate funding to ensure:
- smaller class sizes, with the requisite additional staff, so students and educators can adhere to physical distancing requirements of 2-metres;
- that cohorts are maintained and not collapsed into other classes when staffing issues arise;
- consistent masking guidelines in schools and N95 masks for teachers in classes where students cannot wear masks for health reasons; and
- that the ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers) international standard for the re-opening of schools be adopted as the minimum to improve ventilation in our schools.
These are not new issues. They were recognized months ago by teachers and were brought to the attention of the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) by Ontario’s four major education unions, where they were dismissed without hearing the evidence.
Going forward, we are hopeful that:
- Ministry of Labour’s investigation at Glamorgan will ensure that TDSB and the Ministry take every reasonable precaution to protect teachers, students, and other education workers from COVID-19; and
- Provincial government will provide the necessary funding and implement the minimum standards necessary to protect staff and students in schools from future outbreaks.