Why some parents and teachers refuse to send kids back to school

Social distancing to be a challenge in schools lacking enough classroom space

awaiting back to school
St. Catherine Catholic School at 30 Roanoke Rd. in North York awaits the return of students. Luca Tatulli/Toronto Observer

Students across Toronto are returning to school. However, some parents and teachers have chosen not to send their kids back to school, due to concerns about class sizes and social distancing.

Catia Cicco, as both a teacher and a parent, is concerned about the high student population in each school.

“There’s a cap on social gatherings of 50 but there are 300-plus children in a school at the same time,” she says.

Due to the lack of classroom space, social distancing among students and staff is a challenge teachers face going into the school year.

According to the Reopening Ontario Act, public gatherings are limited to 50 people while outdoor gatherings are limited to 100.

Toronto schools have also implemented strict sanitation and social distancing rules to prevent a COVID-19 outbreak.

Among the plans is staggering return to class for students and early dismissal times for young students. Parents of students also must fill out a questionnaire. Parents are also barred from entering schools.

Teachers and education staff are required to wear full personal protective equipment during school hours.

“I had to weigh the pros and cons and decided to send them back,” Cicco said of her decision about her own kids.

Cicco discussing the reason she sent her kids back to school and how the quarantine affected her children

Cicco works as a physical education teacher for the Toronto Catholic District School Board.

Children to be scanned

While some parents are concerned about a potential COVID-19 outbreak in schools’ daycares in the city have operated over the summer with heavy protocols in place.

“Upon arrival, our supervisor at the front door will scan the child to see if the child has a fever,” says Raven Reid, a daycare worker at the Child’s Nest Infant Daycare in East York for 10 years.

The process is the first line of protection against a potential outbreak. Daycare rooms are also separated into cohorts or small groups of kids. The size of each group varies by daycare.

Parents are also not allowed to enter daycares. Any issue with parents is communicated and address over the phone.

“There’s a questionnaire they have to answer,” Reid says. “If they answer anything with yes, we can’t accept the child.”

Each daycare restroom is thoroughly sanitized after each use. Toys and other highly touched surfaces are also sanitized after each use.

Online classes for the Toronto District School Board are to start on Sept. 22 due to high enrolment. About 72,000 students will be attending online classes this coming school year.

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Posted: Sep 17 2020 10:35 am
Filed under: Community COVID-19 Education News Science & Health