(Halifax, NS) Families and teachers are currently scrambling for information following the government’s sudden decision to restore in-person learning for the final weeks of June.
“The government made a political decision to turn the education system on its head with just a few weeks to go in the year and it has resulted in a lot of confusion and disorder in the lives of students, teachers and their families,” says NSTU President Paul Wozney.
He says the NSTU has been trying to get information from the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development about various aspects of the return to in-person learning, but it appears the appropriate preparations and planning were not completed in advance of this decision.
“The past two weeks many teachers were told to clear out their classrooms for maintenance, schools donated the rest of their food supplies to families in need, school gymnasiums were reserved for COVID testing and vaccination clinics, parents booked non-refundable childcare, and teachers prepared three weeks of lessons for on-line learning. With a wave of a hand all that preparation has been wiped out, and people are now left with only 48 hours to reorganize” said Wozney. “This decision has created a lot of extra anxiety for many families at the end of an already challenging year.”
Wozney says that while the NSTU remains deeply concerned about the physical and emotional impact of the return, the union is always willing to collaborate with government. Unfortunately, in this case, the announcement was kept secret right up to the time of the media briefing.
“Premier Rankin and his government demonstrated a complete lack of respect for teachers by not consulting with them prior to this announcement,” says Wozney. “We may not have agreed on the approach, but at least we would have been given the opportunity to work through certain problems in the best interests of students.”
He adds, “What’s clear is that the Premier was more interested in planning his press conferences than taking the appropriate steps to safely reopen schools for in-person learning.”